Day 4 - March 6, 2011 - Stanley, Falkland Islands

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 51˚48’ S, 57˚29’ W
Weather: Overcast and windy
Air Temperature: 10ºC
Pressure: 1001 hPa
Wind: 30 knots

The Prince Albert II sailed into Stanley this morning at about 7:30 am. The anchor was dropped very close to the visitor’s jetty so that when we started disembarkation for the morning’s tour, the Zodiac ride across was short and calm. From The Restaurant I could clearly see the lovely colourful homes and shops in Stanley. Although the temperature was quite mild, the wind was blowing pretty hard.

The morning’s activity for today was the award-winning tour to Bluff Cove Lagoon. 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 - 2 or 3 guests per vehicle - and off we went off road. The fog was thick and the terrain uneven. The rather bumpy drive took us over peat bogs and boulders from the stone runs. These are a very special geological formation quite characteristic of the Falklands. The skilled drivers got us there without incident as they also explained interesting facts about the islands. A fun and informative ride indeed!

Our initial stop was at the Gentoo penguin rookery. There were a few hundred birds, most of them were moulting and the majority was hunkered down trying to get protection from the wind. Contrary to the situation in Stanley, the sun was out, which made Bluff Cove look all the more beautiful. There were also a couple of King Penguins amongst the Gentoos but the wind was blowing so hard that most people moved on swiftly past them and walked up over the hill towards the beautiful sandy beach to see the top of the waves get blown off by the steady wind.

By this time we were glad to head to the Sea Cabbage Café for morning tea – and what a spread it was!!! In honour of the Prince Albert II’s last visit to the Falklands this season, the owners decided to prepare a BBQ for us. They had prepared lamb, Upland goose, Kingclip pâté, sea trout, mushroom pâté (from local mushrooms picked up just down the road), plus at least twenty different types of cookies and cakes – a feast!!

People were sitting down in the lee of the building, enjoying the sun, the food and the accordion music performed by a local artist. Everybody had a great time. On top of that 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 town. 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 4 pm we were all back onboard the Prince Albert II and the Captain was sailing us onwards towards South Georgia – our next stop after 2 days at sea. The seas are calm and the forecast good. At 6:30 pm the Expedition Team hosted a Recap & Briefing, which was followed by dinner.