Falkland Islands

Arriving by tender in Stanley, The Falkland Islands.
Arriving by tender in Stanley, The Falkland Islands.
Homes in Stanley
Homes in Stanley
Christ Church Cathedral Anglican Church in downtown Stanley with its whalebone arch to the right.
Christ Church Cathedral Anglican Church in downtown Stanley with its whalebone arch to the right.
Whalebone Monument beside the Anglican Church.
Whalebone Monument beside the Anglican Church.
Post Office in Stanley with British telephone booths that still work
Post Office in Stanley with British telephone booths that still work
This is me trying out their telephones.
This is me trying out their telephones.
A typical scene in Stanley with colourful houses and the barren landscape beyond.
A typical scene in Stanley with colourful houses and the barren landscape beyond.
This bus takes you part way to the penguins, on the paved and gravel roads.
This bus takes you part way to the penguins, on the paved and gravel roads.
You leave the bus and board 4 x 4's  to travel across the bogs to the penguin colonies... and it is rough!
You leave the bus and board 4 x 4's to travel across the bogs to the penguin colonies... and it is rough!
Gentoo Penguins in molting stage at Bluff Cove Penguin Colony
Gentoo Penguins in molting stage at Bluff Cove Penguin Colony
A Gentoo Penguin
A Gentoo Penguin
A Gentoo Penguin going for a swim
A Gentoo Penguin going for a swim
A King Penguin checking on the egg between its feet
A King Penguin checking on the egg between its feet
Sea Cabbage Cafe at the Bluff Cove Penguin Colony
Sea Cabbage Cafe at the Bluff Cove Penguin Colony
Men locating and clearing land mines that were set by Argentina during the 1982 war.
Men locating and clearing land mines that were set by Argentina during the 1982 war.
An old ship left rotting in the harbour.
An old ship left rotting in the harbour.
The Celebrity Infinity in Stanley Harbour with a tender carrying passengers between the ship and Stanley.
The Celebrity Infinity in Stanley Harbour with a tender carrying passengers between the ship and Stanley.

More British Than Britain?

The remote Falkland Islands are located about 300 miles off the tip of South America and is considered a self-governing British Territory even though Argentina does not agree with this. The Falkland Islands has been under British rule since 1833.

To visit the Falklands, the two major ways to do this is either by air from London England twice a week or by a cruise ship. Our visit was by the cruise ship Celebrity Infinity, thus this article will be about that experience.

Most of the major cruise ship companies do include The Falkland Islands at some time, however the port in Stanley is too small to handle the large ships, thus the ship must drop anchor in the harbour and visitors travel by tenders (life boats) to shore.

The population of Stanley, the capital, is only 2,200 and the entire country is only 3,000. Thus when a large cruise ship comes in, the population nearly doubles!

The weather is interesting, as it normally is windy but not too cold or hot. The temperature ranges from about -5C (20's F) to about 20 C (high 60's to low 70's). When we were there in February (their summer) the temperature was about 10 C (50 F) so you need a jacket.

Your first impression when you visit The Falkland Islands is that it appears so British, in fact it almost appears more British than England itself! Every one has a British accent, they drive on the left side of the road, they use either the British pound or the Falkland Island pound currency (interchangeable) and at the only post office in Stanley there are two British telephone booths in front which still work!

In Stanley the Christ Church Cathedral is the most southern Anglican Church in the world. It is quite noticeable with its whalebone arch beside the church. Whaling used to be a large industry in the area a century ago but now it is mostly banned.

There are no traffic lights and no fast food restaurants in Stanley or the Falklands. Everyone is so polite and friendly. At the local pubs you can get British pub food and drinks, just like in England!

Sheep farming and fishing are big, however tourism is growing and any visit to The Falkland Islands must include a trip to one of the many penguin colonies located on the islands.

An interesting fact about the Falkland Islands is that there were no trees on the islands when explorers first reached them centuries ago due to the strong prevailing winds. Trees were introduced by settlers and in Stanley now there are many trees especially around the homes and buildings. However if you look in the countryside, you will not see any trees!

We visited the Bluff Cove Penguin Colony and to reach it, as with most of the penguin colonies, you have to travel in 4 x 4's across the peat bogs. We were fortunate as we took the morning shore excursion and by the afternoon, the bogs were too boggy and some trips had to be cancelled. The 4 x 4's always travel in conveys of 2 to 4 vehilces as getting stuck in the mud is common, thus one of the others will have to pull them out.

At the Bluff Cove Penguin Colony, we were treated to thousands of Gentoo Penguins in their molting stage and it almost looked like snow with so many feathers on the ground! With so many penguins around, you do have to watch out for penguin droppings as they get stuck in your shoes.

We also saw a few King Penguins hatching their eggs whereas the Gentoo Penguin eggs had already hatched and the young Gentoos were already growing rapidly.

At Bluff Cove, the owners have constructed a small musuem and a cafe called the Sea Cabbage Cafe, after the many sea cabbages in the area. You are offered tea (or coffee) and sweats which was a delight as there is nothing else around. Congratulations to Bluff Cove as they won the Seatrade Insider Cruise Award in 2009 for the best shore excursion as per this link: http://www.falklandpenguins.com/award_seatrade2009.asp

On the way back we could see men behind barbed wire locating and deactivating the land mines that had been planted by Argentina during the 1982 war. At the end of each day, the land mines that have been found are gathered togther and blown up and you can hear it and see the black cloud from the explosion. After seeing this, I agree that land mines should be banned completely as we were told that it would be many decades, if ever, before the tens of thousands land mines can be cleaned up!

The only negative thing that we could say about our visit is that it was too short! We wished that we had more time to explore the entire city, but our ship was leaving after a full day in the harbour. Its next destination was Antarctica and we did not want to miss that!

If you would like to see more photos which I took in the Falkland Islands, here is a link to my photos on Panoramio: http://www.panoramio.com/user/5399338/tags/Falkland%20Islands

Enjoy!

show route and directions
A markerStanley, Falkland Islands -
Stanley, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
[get directions]

B markerBluff Cove, Falkland Islands -
Bluff Cove, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
[get directions]

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Comments 9 comments

Diane 5 years ago

Very helpful info and loved the photos! Looking forward to this same trip in 3 weeks time!


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 5 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks Diane.

I just added a few more photos to this Hub.

Have a great trip!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

How interesting it was to read about and see the photos of your visit to the Falkland Islands. I had no idea that they are still clearing land mines! Those penguins are surely cute. Must be something to see so many of them in person and in a natural setting.


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 5 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks Peggy.

Yes it was an amazing sight to see the penguins in their natural setting! We took lots of pictures!


rafken profile image

rafken 5 years ago from The worlds my oyster

Good hud, useful and interesting, thanks.


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 5 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks for the comments! Glad that you enjoyed the hub!


dadibobs profile image

dadibobs 4 years ago from Manchester, England

Wonderful hub!, I think it is of paramount importance to raise the profile of our distant citizens, your hub achieves this perfectly :)

voted up and awesome!


Joseph Hollick profile image

Joseph Hollick 4 years ago from Hamilton, ON Canada Author

Thanks for the comments!

With Prince William arriving in the Falkland Islands yesterday, I wonder what the chances are for cruise ship visitors to see him during the next six weeks?

February is a busy month for cruise ships there. When we were there in February 2010, we did see some British servicemen in town!


dadibobs profile image

dadibobs 4 years ago from Manchester, England

I have a friend who has just completed a 6 month tour their, he arrived in the UK, then left for Iraq 2 days later lol. He said it is a place many people initially think of as boring, but when you get there it's truly beautiful.

Thank you for the wonderful hub!

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