Day 4 |
Jan 28, 2011

 Stanley, South Georgia 

By Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist


Co-ordinates: 51˚48’ S, 57˚29’ W
Weather: overcast, calm
Air Temperature: 10ºC

We arrived early in the morning, at about 6am, which allowed us to anchor very close to the visitor’s jetty in Stanley, so that when we started disembarkation for the morning’s tour, the Zodiac ride across was short and calm. From this vantage point I could clearly see the lovely colourful homes and shops in Stanley from the windows in the Restaurant.

The morning’s activity was a tour to Bluff Cove. We started off in mini-buses for a short drive to a meeting point where we transferred into Land Rovers. We scrambled into these trucks (4 per vehicle) but did not know exactly what to expect, and were excited when the trucks headed off-road across the peat. There were places that the trucks looked like they might get bogged, but the drivers managed to make it all the way without incident!

Our initial stop was at the Gentoo penguin rookery. Interestingly, the penguins had actually abandoned their usually nesting rookery site because it was too wet and boggy – instead, they had all relocated to the grassy area where it was drier. The Gentoo chicks were nearly fully grown and many were in the initial stages of getting their adult plumage. Seeing nearly full-sized chicks chasing very hassled-looking parents around was very funny! Ken Knowles, our birder, spotted a couple of King Penguins amongst the gentoos. They were very stationary, barely moving, because at least two were carrying eggs on their feet.

We then walked up over the hill and the landscape below us was breathtaking – a beautiful white sand beach with the blue sea beyond. By this time we were glad to head to the Sea Cabbage Café for morning tea – and what a spread it was!!! At least twenty different types of cookies and cakes – a feast!! Some of us wandered over to the Bluff Cove museum for a look. This is a sweet little museum set up to give visitors an idea of what life was like living here in years past.

Once back in Stanley we had free time to explore this wonderful little place. Although Stanley (formerly known as "Port Stanley") is the capital and only ‘city’ in the Falkland Islands, it is still has a very small village feel. It is nestled along the edge of the harbour and has well attended gardens throughout. There are only just over 2,000 residents.

For several hours I was driving the large MK-6 Zodiac for shuttling guests back and forth from the jetty to the ship and was happy that the rain we had early in the morning had disappeared, leaving us with a nice overcast day. All afternoon long people came and went from the ship – often carrying large bags full of souvenirs and presents that they had bought in the stores.

By 4pm we were all back inboard the Prince Albert II and the Captain was sailing us onwards towards South Georgia – our next stop after 2 days at sea. As we came out of the protection of the Falklands, the swell increased to about 3m, but it didn’t seem to bother too many people since the attendance at Recap & Briefing was good. Let’s hope, though, that this swell calms down a bit for the next couple days!