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Day 4 - February 23, 2010 - Stanley, Falkland Islands; At Sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: S51º41.34, Longitude: W57º51.36
Weather: sunny partly rainy, strong winds

Around 7.15 am the Prince Albert II reached the anchor position in the bay of Port Stanley on the Falkland Islands. Weather and sea conditions were good so that soon after, we started our Zodiac shuttle to the floating pontoon in the harbor of Stanley. As the distance between ship and the landing site was fairly short, disembarkation went very quickly. Three buses were waiting for our guests to take them on a two-hour tour through Stanley and surroundings. We left Port Stanley in the east direction, driving through the more modern part of the town. Houses built after the Falkland War and industrial areas are principal structures in this part of the town. Just before we reached the airport of Stanley we stopped at a bridge for a short photo opportunity with a beautiful view over the bay. The weather was changing every half hour from rain to clear sunny sky. Our guide, a marine biologist, had an excellent knowledge about the nature, history and daily life on the Falklands. At the airport our guide told us that the only way to get out of the islands is via Punta Arenas in Chile and twice a week with the Great Britain Air Force via the island of Asuncion in the Atlantic Ocean.

The next stop on the way back to Port Stanley was a peat cutting area just beside the road. In former days, peat was the only material for heating the houses in winter. Today, three windmills and a power station fueled with gasoil are producing the electricity for the islands. Two further stops on our tour completed the excursion program in Port Stanley. The first was at the local museum, a nice well-organized exhibition about life and history on the Falklands, and the second stop at the memorial of the Falkland war in 1982.

Back at the landing site our guests had still enough time to do some shopping or to visit other interesting sites in the town.

An interesting lecture program filled out this afternoon on board. After a delicious lunch in The Restaurant I went to the lecture of my colleague Stefan Kredel “Plate tectonics – A Nearly All-Explaining Theory”. He gave an excellent presentation on the geological formation of our earth in general and of South America with emphasis on the tectonical history of the planet. In the second presentation, my colleague Kara Weller talked about the whales of the southern oceans, giving an interesting overview of their biology, ecology and population status. Also at the end of her lecture she spoke about whale hunting in former days and today.

In the evening Expedition Leader Robin West gave a short briefing to our guests about tomorrow and Will Wagstaff, Stefan and myself hold a short recap regarding birds landing on deck the ship, petrol drilling in the Falklands and botany of West Point respectively.

More or less at this time the swell and wind were getting stronger and around dinner time our guests experienced a swell of eight and 50 to 60 knots of wind, so only about two thirds of them were enjoying our excellent dinner in The Restaurant.

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