Monday, December 07, 2009

At sea, Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, Friday, December 4

After the morning at sea, we tie up to the industrial dock at Port Stanley at 1:30. We take the “two hour tour” option. Kind of looks like a retired Crockidle Dundee with a very dry British humor. “We don’t have a lot to show you in Stanley, so we have to show you everything.” Some interesting things about Port Stanley:

  • The capital and largest city in the Falklands--about 2500 population (total of about 3000 in all of the Falklands).
  • Much of the peat on the island is in common ownership--families have specific plots and can harvest peat for heating.
  • Peat is kind of soggy pre-coal. You have to let it dry before burning it.
  • No indigenous trees. But imported trees in Stanley and at the settlements ("settlements" appear to be the Falkland term for central buildings on a ranch.)
  • One garden had numerous gnomes. Gnomes show up at the post office with notes saying, please put me in the garden with my fellow gnomes. Our guide referred to it as the Port Stanley botanical garden.
  • The Falklands earn enough from fishing licenses to be self supporting except for defense.
  • As a self governing “overseas territory of the UK", they control most everything except foreign affairs and defense--both controlled by the UK government in London.
  • Most people in the Falklands work for the government.
  • A fair number of new houses--financed by the fisheries income.
  • Many houses and buildings brightly colored with brightly colored metal roofs. This really looks great against the landscape of the Falklands.

The weather changes by the minute here. Sleet followed by sunny skies, followed by stiff winds followed by calm, followed by a driving downpour, followed by sunny skies (in a period of four hours.

After the tour, we do some gift shopping in downtown Stanley with some on foot sight seeing. We end by going into the Global Tavern Pub. It appears half the ship also decided to stop at this pub.

As soon as we get onboard, we head off to tomorrow’s landing--in the far northwest of the Falkland Islands.

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