Subject: Day 21, March 11 – Stanley, Falkland Islands
This will be our last e-mail until we get home on Sunday, 15 March. Tonight they are shutting down the ship’s e-mail accounts. After we send this e-mail, we will no longer be able to send or receive e-mails, so please do not respond to this e-mail. Friday we are at sea all day docking in Ushuaia around 8:00 am, Saturday morning. We then have a three hour flight to Buenos Aires where we change planes for a 10 hour direct flight to Atlanta arriving in Atlanta at 5:30 am Sunday morning. We then have a short flight to Orlando and should arrive back in Satellite Beach around noon on Sunday. By the time we arrive home, we will have traveled close to 20,000 miles on this trip.
Today we are docking in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands, and after two days of extremely rough seas, everyone is anxious to get off the ship and stand on terra firma. They took a head count last night to see how many would be having lunch in town instead of the ship and almost everyone raised their hand. There are some people who have not been out of their cabins for two days. After two weeks of wet landings in Antarctica, interacting only with animals, snow and barren ground, we are looking forward to seeing people, shops, cars and pubs.
This morning we learned simple ways to save the albatross from line fishing. The ways are truly quite simple, but illegal fishing vessels refuse to use these “easy to use” methods. Of course, it seems rather obvious, for every hook you find a bird attached that is one less Patagonia Tooth Fish, which is worth around $100 a fish. You would think they would rather catch fish than birds. For your trivia, Patagonia Tooth Fish are sold under many different names; one of the most common to us is Chilean Sea Bass or as one passenger mentioned, Butter Fish. Education is the answer all the way around because as with everything else Patagonia Tooth Fish have now been fished almost to extinction.
We got off the ship and ate at an English Pub in Stanley. Being able to have some English Beer and Fish and Chips without rocking was a real treat. There are only 2800 residents on the Falkland Islands plus about 1500 military that have been stationed here since the Argentina British conflict in 1982 when Argentina invaded the Falklands and were repelled by the British. We heard the Argentina point of view in Buenos Aires and the British point of view here and it is obvious that hard feelings still exist on both sides. This conflict certainly wasn’t about the spoils of war because there isn’t anything here, except the wildlife. It was definitely about British pride and Argentina rallying the troops. Pretty stupid when you think about it, especially considering the Falklands are so close to Argentina and 8,000 miles from England.
This has truly been an amazing trip and has exceeded our expectations. We have some incredible close up and personnel photos and video of penguins, seals, albatross, shags, rock formations and icebergs; however the trick is going to be narrowing down the over 5,000 photos and hours of video to a manageable number.
Tom & Holly