Monday Travel Update – Falkland Island Edition

Posted: January 17, 2012    Categories: Antarctica

As I am writing this, I am somewhere in the South Atlantic between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island on the M/S Expedition.

We set sail late on Thursday through the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia. The ride thought the channel was deceptively smooth as I found out on Friday.

Friday was spent at sea as we heading towards the Falklands. The seas were very choppy and many people on board, including myself, were sick the entire day. I have an app on my iPhone that measures angles and I set it up to see just how much the ship was rocking. I measures a peak of 10 degrees and I’m quite sure there were times when it hit 11 or 12 when I wasn’t measuring.

They have plenty of Dramamine and other medication on board for people who suffer from sea sickness. We had two more sea days after the Falklands and those were probably just as bad in terms of the ship being tossed about, but fewer people were ill.

Saturday we did our first landing in the Falklands. In the morning we landed on New Island and in the afternoon we landed on West Point Island. We had two beautiful days in the Falklands. Usually very windy and overcast, we had calm winds and sunshine both days.

On both islands we saw colonies of rockhopper penguins and albatrosses. Both species of birds have intermingled colonies and they live together. On the second landing I took the 500mm lens I got from and had a great time taking photos of penguin and albatros chicks.

Sunday we arrived at Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. In reality, it is also the only city in the Falkland Islands. There are scattered settlements around the Falklands, but most have just one or two families. Stanley was a surprisingly normal British town. In fact, in many respects it was more British than Britain. We had a chance to do a bit of shopping and I went out of my way to find a 5 pound Falklands Island note. There aren’t many of them floating around so I wanted to get my hands on one. I also found out that the island of Ascension has their own pound notes. I have made a mental note for future reference….

Our next stop is South Georgia Island. This seems to be the place that the crew is most excited to visit. It seldom gets visitors and this will be the only time this year that the M/S Expedition stops there. The bio-security procedures you have to go through to land on South Georgia are pretty intense. You have to comb through everything you are bringing on the island looking for seeds as well as making very sure you don’t bring any rats or mice to the island. They are currently undergoing a multi-million pound project to rid the island of rats which prey on nesting birds.

Unfortunately, I am unable to upload any photos, so those will have to wait. Considering I’m in the middle of the ocean, I should consider myself lucky I can even post this.

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