Our ship cruised overnight from Saunders Island to Stanley, the Falklands capital.



Christ Church Cathedral, Stanley

Christ Church Cathedral in Port Stanley is the southernmost Anglican cathedral.

The whalebone arch commemorates the commercial whaling activities administered from here in the first half of the 20th century.

While at Stanley there was time for shopping plus two planned excursions: one a tour of the town and the other a hike across the harbor from the town. Jim chose the town tour and I chose the hike. We both enjoyed our choices.

Whaling Museum Jim's Stanley tour included Mike Butcher's Outdoor Whaling Museum, which features skeletons and skulls of these mighty marine mammals, as well as the harpoon guns used to hunt them to near extinction.
Sperm whale skull This is the skull of a sperm whale. It's hard to imagine the relationship of the bones to the "finished product."
Stanley harbor My hike started across the harbor from the town.

On our previous visit to Stanley, our ship was too large to enter the inner harbor and dock there. It waited in the outer harbor while we shuttled to town on tenders. The Corinthian II, which is the center ship in this picture, is able to dock here for a "dry landing." The larger ship on the left is the National Geographic Explorer.

The geese in the foreground are a pair of Upland Geese.

The whitecaps show that it was a very windy walk. In fact one of our number turned back to the bus when she was literally blown over!

Steamer ducks These are Flightless Steamer Ducks. Their stubby wings can be seen here.

Our guide for the hike told us that due to the strong wind we would be unlikely to see a great variety of birds. She was right -- we didn't see any smaller birds.

Balsam bog There were very many unusual plants to be seen on our hike. Most of them were quite low-growing on account of the harsh weather and winds, but the strangest was balsam bog, the brighter green plants shown here. Each plant looked and felt like a moss-covered rock. Apparently Charles Darwin called it "living rock." It can grow to be quite large.

The other plant is called diddle-dee. It is very common throughout the Falklands.

Gypsy Cove As we rounded the headland we came to beautiful Gypsy Cove. If you wonder why this gorgeous sheltered beach is deserted, the answer is: land mines. During the Falklands war in 1982 much of the territory was mined by the Argentineans. Beginning in 2008 a controversial demining project was begun so maybe some day in the future this lovely cove can be used by people again.

Although as our guide said, she didn't expect to take the risk that the project missed a mine.

The mines do not pose a risk to penguins, which are too small to trigger them. Unlike their cousins on Saunders Island, these penguins have tussock grass to shade and protect their burrows.
Polar Bound After our various tours, Jim and I took some time to walk around Stanley and do some shopping. (I got a nice wool scarf as an island souvenir.) We then walked back to the dock from downtown.

As we neared the dock we struck up a conversation with a fellow walker, who was travelling solo in this boat: the Polar Bound. It turns out that we were talking to David Cowper, the "world's premier solo navigator," who was making his 6th solo circumnavigation. He had just been to Antarctica and was planning to leave shortly for South Georgia.

I'm sorry that we weren't a bit more pushy -- we could probably have wrangled an invitation aboard as he was justly proud of his little boat, which was constructed especially for him.

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