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Day 15 - March 23, 2010 - Port Stanley

By Kara Weller, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 51° 41 ’S – 57° 51’W
Weather:  sunny and calm
Air temperature: 10° C

Sunshine and land lay outside our windows this morning! We approached Port Stanley in the early morning hours and some who were up watched as the Captain brought the Prince Albert II through “The Narrows”, a very small gap leading into the inner harbour just in front of the town of Port Stanley. A small town of houses with colorful roofs nestled comfortably along the hills and shoreline in front of us, Stanley looked very inviting.

Conditions were excellent for launching Zodiacs, and shortly after the customs officials came onboard to clear the ship we began disembarkation. I drove Zodiac shuttles in the morning and after the surf and wind we had dealt with earlier in the cruise, this landing was almost too easy for everyone. The sunshine and still conditions were appreciated by all.

Guests had free time in the morning to explore and could come and go from the ship at a leisurely pace. As the ship was anchored very close to the public jetty – a small floating pontoon – it made accessing town quite easy. And for once rubber boots were not necessary as it was a dry landing, which many people appreciated.

In this town of approximately 2,000 inhabitants, the main road is “Ross Road” and leads along the waterfront with some old houses with Victorian terraces and lovely gardens on the other side. Christchurch Cathedral (built in 1892) dominates the waterfront with its lovely whale jaw bone arch outside. Further down along the waterfront, two war memorials reminded everyone of the islands’ still controversial history. One is for the 1982 conflict, and the other is for the 1914 Battle of the Falklands.

The only downside to the day was the fact that a huge cruise ship was visiting Stanley at the same time as us. The Norwegian Sun was anchored behind a hill in the outer harbour, but tenders brought hundreds and then thousands of their guests to shore where they slowly but surely filled the streets and souvenir shops and pubs and the quiet atmosphere of the place became a bit lost.

Some guests chose to return to the ship for lunch, others found a local pub to dish up some fish and chips (something I did) or burgers, and in the afternoon around 3:30 many gathered near the jetty to join the bus tour that took people to the lovely and fascinating museum, a nice viewpoint, a peat cutting area, and to the 1982 war memorial.

As more windy weather was expected for the next two evenings, this evening was chosen for our Captain’s farewell cocktail party and everyone dressed up beautifully to gather for drinks in The Theater and to listen to the Captain’s final words of farewell. The light outside was slowly fading, but the water was still glassy calm as we slowly moved in an eastwardly direction and headed towards our goal of Saunders Island for the following morning.

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