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 MuseumJim'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 skullThis is the skull of a sperm whale. It's hard to imagine the relationship of the bones to the "finished product."


Stanley harborMy 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 ducksThese Flightless Steamer Ducks have stubby wings useless for flying.

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 bogBut there were many unusual plants to be seen. Most are 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. Charles Darwin even called it "living rock." It can grow to be quite large.

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


Gypsy CoveAs we rounded the headland we came to 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 BoundAfter 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 travelling solo in his boat: the Polar Bound. We were talking to David Cowper, the "world's premier solo navigator," who was making his 6th solo circumnavigation. He had been to Antarctica and was leaving 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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