Penguins, Battlefields, and Friendly Folk.

Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
Trip End Feb 19, 2007

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Golden Princess

Flag of Falkland Islands  , East Falkland,
Monday, January 29, 2007

Today we reached the Falkland Islands. We arrived at Port Stanley this morning and doubled the population for the day. It has been cloudy and windy all day, although the sun has peeked through a few times. For the Falklands we have enjoyed a pretty day.

We tendered in to the dock and went to a bus which took us several miles out of town. Then we loaded into Land Rovers. There were four to a vehicle which was nice as we had our own Rover with driver. It was actually his personal vehicle. Our driver, Julien, is a Brit. His wife is Dutch and is a doctor. They met in Africa and now live here. We drove off across the bogs on a 20-30 minute ride to a penguin colony. It is a gentoo penguin colony, but there were a half dozen or so king penguins there as well so we had a bonus. One of them, "Herbert" or "Hubert", had just hatched and we were also able to see him, although from a short distance.

Some of the gentoos were very close. Three of them had come over to check a small group of us humans and were within a few feet of us. Unfortunately, some old codger (me) had squatted down to take pictures. I tried to stay down as they approached, but finally my knees had enough and I started to lose my balance. When I shifted to catch myself they scooted away. Normally I could probably have eased down on my rump, but where the penguins have been is not a good place to sit as one of the pictures shows. Anyway, we should have some good pictures of them, I hope.

Our driver had gone back to the road to get another group of tourists so we had about an hour to view and photograph the penguins. Toward the end of our time we made our way to a cafe along the beach where they served complimentary tea and snacks such as cookies, brownies, etc., which appeared homemade. They looked mouth watering good, but I can not tell you if they were as good as they looked, unfortunately.

Julien drove us back to the road where we reboarded our bus and went back to town. The girls checked the shops and Jim and I walked around and took some pictures. We decided to
catch a tender back to the ship around 2 PM. The wind was blowing harder and the water was a little choppy even though we were in a small bay. The ship was in a larger bay and when we came through the opening I was trying to get a picture of the ship when we got hit with some fairly heavy spray. The camera immediately went under my sweat shirt and stayed there the rest of the trip. I don't think there was enough to hurt it, but as soon as we reached the ship I went to the room and wiped it down with a damp cloth to get the salt off and then dried it.

The four of us went to the Horizon for lunch. It was good. I think we all had the carved prime and there was plenty of other food to go with that. As soon as we finished eating I headed for the internet cafe, which had a line so a lot of people must have been back on board. I did find that one of the three machines in the library was open so I was able to make this update.

We continue to have a great time. As a side note it is around 50 degrees and very windy here. I noticed as I logged on that it is 30 in Omaha. I am sure our temperatures will continue to go down some as we head on south. One of the briefers yesterday said we should start to see our first ice bergs later tomorrow. The day after that we will officially enter Antarctic waters. We are on the largest ship to date to visit Stanley or to go to Antarctica.


From the Log of the Cruise:

"Stanley Monday 29th January 2007

Once we made landfall off of MacBride Head, we altered our course to starboard to head down the east side of East Falkland Island towards Stanley. We altered course to starboard again off of Mengeary Point to set our westerly approach track through the Port William Sound towards the anchor position. We were in position off of Port Stanley and dropped the starboard anchor at 0728. By 0756 the vessel was brought up with 7 shackles on deck and we were ready to commence the tender operations. All passengers were back onboard at 1753; however a delay in our fuel bunkering operations meant we could not pick up our anchor and start securing our starboard side tenders until 2000. Once all the tenders were secured and the anchor home, we set an easterly course out of the Port William Sound until abeam Mengeary Point when we altered our course to the south to set tracks for the South Shetland Islands."
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