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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Travel - Port Stanley, Falkland Islands March 11, 2014

Before the Falklands war, 1982, sheep-farming was the Falkland Islands' only industry. Off-shore oil development is planned for 2016. Tourism is the second-largest part of the economy. Nonetheless, the remoteness of the archipelago, and the lack of direct flights to major cities, have made the islands an expensive holiday destination, and as a result mass tourism has not really begun.

The islands are nothing like I expected. They are glacier 
scared and fairly low rolling hills. The surface is a light color granite with fields covered with large areas of peat bog. There are few, if any trees, low growing grasses with sparse plots of pampas grass along some fence lines. The remnants of the last war are still present with areas marked “Do not enter” where many land mines remain. Acres and acres of land remain unusable as it is too expensive to remove these mines. Sheep, cattle and horses are seen grazing on safe land. The inhabitants are centered in a few towns and spotted along the roads in large ranches. The sheep seem to roam with few fences, except for where there are landmines.

Our tour today is a trip to Volunteer Point via a 4 X 4 vehicle to see the Gentoo, King, Rock Hopper and Magellanic penguins. It is a five hour tour, and four of it is spent going across bog covered fields where non-existent trails exist. Each vehicle driver is on his/her own to choose the best path. Those that choose the wrong one have to call out for friends to pull them out of the bog. I now understand the term “bogged down”. Once you call for help you get teased the entire length of the trip. Glad we always came to the rescue; our driver was great!!

This trip is best described via pictures. Rough trails and the beautiful penguins at the end of the trail made it all worthwhile! Enjoy the journey….there is more to come.

Baby molting

Fair well Penguins

It was a beautiful visit!

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