Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Fond Farewell to the Falklands (Nov. 11)

National Geographic Explorer, at sea:
As I write, we are en route from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia. We've spent the entire day at sea without a speck of land anywhere in sight.  
Yesterday we visited Stanley, the capital of the Falklands.  The town sits on a bay on the far eastern end of the islands looking smart as any English town should, but its bright roofs seem a little out of place. We toured the main attractions in town in the morning. (I think there are only three.) In the afternoon, I went birding on foot near the ship. The prize of the day was the Rufous-chested Dotterel, a plover rather like a killdeer. This basically meant a clean sweep of the important birds of the Falklands for me, which is exciting. 

The Falklands Whaling Museum.

The Falklands War Memorial, for those who died in the 1982 conflict.

Stanley Harbor.
Next we said goodbye and set sail for South Georgia. This was honestly bittersweet for me. To me, the Falklands were just a bit magical. They're so remote and windswept that they should be a wasteland, but there are so many incredible creatures that choose to call them home. From the tiny Cobb's wren that only lives in the Falklands to the great colonies of penguins and albatrosses, I was simply amazed. I'll have to find a way to express to you what it was like for me to be in such close proximity to so many gorgeous albatross, but I'm afraid I'm not up to the task tonight. 
Goodnight and know there's more to come,

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