Original red hats…

You were left hanging on Elephant Island. Not a place you really want to hang out!

We had been told to expect Macaroni penguins, but they were constant no-shows, so when this little chap made an appearance, Tim joked that he was he was the cruise director’s “token” Macaroni.

Baby elephant seals are cute

Elephant seals do a lot of lying around, but they can move amazingly fast and you don’t want to get one mad at you. We stayed a respectful distance from them although you may see photographers quite cozy with them. If it’s their idea, apparently, it’s OK. For them, not me!

More sightings on Elephant Island:

After a little more time at sea, we arrived at:

The Falkland Islands:

Where once again, we had the bizarre idea that we should fly the flag. Well 5 of us were BA staff. We even wore our hats.

The arches, adjacent to the church are whale bones.

Tim and I had visited the Falklands the first time, just prior to the 10-weeks war of 1982, in which 3 civilians and 255 British servicemen lost their lives. When we came back 3 years later, apart from the new war memorial and the warning about remaining land mines, not much had changed.

Later on, however, things began to change rapidly as a result of tourism and in particular the discovery of oil and the release to the islanders of fishing rights.

An article by Larissa MacFarquhar from the New Yorker of Jul 6th and 13th describes these changes which “propelled the Falkland Islands through two centuries of history in twenty years”.

Needless to say, the Falklands we saw, no longer exists. For us it seems sad but I daresay the islanders did not care to continue living in the last century.

Hopefully, the wildlife still thrives, though this is hard to imagine, if oil is being drilled.

The albatrosses nested among the rock-hopper penguins in their rookery. You had to walk carefully so as not to step on any of them as they were not phased by us in the least.

West Point Settlement, West Falkland, Dec 4th 1984

On our previous visit, we had been welcomed with tea and scones. It was a bit of old England. That was already gone.

On New Island, the “token Macaroni” turned up once more, still by himself.

Tourists having a fabulous time at the beach barbecue in howling gale. Pull up a piece of turf, and that’s where you sit. Oh, and watch out for sheep shit! We had warm spiced wine, and we really had a great time!

Before long, we were back in Punta Arenas, waving goodbye to another little red ship. We had come to love the Explorer as much as we did the Discoverer on the previous Antarctic cruise.

What is personally very sad to me is that both of these little red ships now lie under the waves.

The World Discoverer (that had in fact become a little blue ship) struck a reef in the Solomon Islands on 30th April 2000 and the Society Explorer struck an iceberg and sank on 23rd November 2007.

In both cases all passengers and crew were rescued.

Gorgeous flowers in the Governor’s Mansion, Port Stanley

3 thoughts on “Original red hats…

  1. I like the sound of an Elephant Seals life. I could get use to that. I remember the Falklands war too. Sounds like you had quite the adventure. 🙂

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