Monday, 24 September 2012

"The Sun has got his hat on.....

....Hip, hip, hip Hooray
...The Sun has got his hat on,
And is coming out to play!"

Hello &  Greetings from Stanley, on the Falkland Islands, somewhere in the South Atlantic.  The Equinox has passed and we are now entering Spring. (Unless you are reading this in the northern hemisphere, in which case, you'll be having Autumn!)
Penguins with Stanley in distance.
Although the above photo was taken in March 2011, it was on this beach that I saw 2 Magellanic penguins last weekend, the first there since April.  They've been out at sea feeding, and now are starting to return for breeding.
Lone gentoo penguin
On the same weekend, but at a different beach, we were watching a pod of dolphins just a few yards off-shore, when we nearly tripped over a lone Gentoo penguin, and a sleeping seal, in amongst the kelp thrown up by the storms.
Sunrise is at a decent hour, now
But, it's good to see the sun is up before us now, and the days are getting longer.  I'm able to introduce people to Nordic Walking on the beach in the evening, which is a pleasant change.
Practising rescues.
I must say that our first winter here has not been as bad I had thought it might be.  There were several days of snow, but really wild days were rare.  Also, many days were still and calm, which is not that common here.  I'm told "summer" tends to be when most rain falls, and the wind blows.  We shall see.
Quiet anchorage, and final resting place for some.
I've even started cycling, and am managing not to get blown into the deep ditches at the side of the roads.  The key to getting out and about, is some decent windproof clothes.  Rain tends to be in brief showers, and, even though I lead walks several days a week, I have yet to be drenched in 4 months.
Smoke in the hills - grass burning.
But, when the wind blows, it can reduce your temperature pretty quickly.  Last Sunday, I walked about a mile to a Craft Fair, and left the house without a hat, for only the second time since I arrived here in January. After about 5 minutes, my head was cold, and I could sense my body heat disappearing into the breeze.   Luckily, there was great choice of hand-knitted woollen hats to choose from at the Fair.  You can't have too many beanies.
Christchurch Cathedral
But now it is getting slightly warmer, and the grass is beginning to grow.  People are buying seeds from the garden centre - we were in there last Sunday when we found a long queue for recently-arrived fresh fruit from Chile.  The weekly flight usually, but not always, brings bananas, apples, avocados, pineapples, kiwi fruit and other exotic delights to help keep scurvy at bay!
Waterfront in central Stanley
We also had the fun last Friday of attending the annual Falklands Conservation Ball, where a charity raffle and auction raises funds for this local charity.  The top prize was a Antarctic cruise for two people, worth about £18,000.

We were hoping to pick up a bargain holiday, but many others had the same idea, and we were outbid as soon as the auctioneer started with, "..and do I hear £5,000?".  Last year, someone grabbed the cruise for £4,000.  This year the opening bid was £5,000, and it eventually went for over £10,000.  A lot of money, but if you were in the region and had always wanted to experience Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia, then it was a bargain for a trip of a lifetime!

As an aside, we left around midnight, but the bash carried on till 2am.  The next day, I met one of the organisers who told me that 7 cameras had been left behind by revellers.  She expected all of them to be returned to their owners.  Luckily, I had left my camera at home!

More soon,



  1. Hi Peter, Still enjoying hearing about your
    adventures down there. Glad you will be
    enjoying Spring Nordic walking - Carolyn and I
    are preparing our thermals to keep up the walks
    this end! How many participants do you have and
    are the poles easily available? We are hoping to bump into Mo one day in the park!!! Best Wishes to you both. Sue

    1. Thanks, Sue. Last night, there were 4 of us. Sometimes 6 or 7. Sometimes 2. Several walkers are away on holiday at the moment, on St Helena! Very hilly there.
      I brought my own 8 pairs of poles (they don't weigh much!), and people can get them shipped, but a local shop is looking at importing them, which should encourage more people to take it up. I still keep a Nordic Walking blog with photos - simplynordicwalking - if you want to see details and photos. I'm not making it up! :-)

      Sorry to hear about the rain in the UK. The weather here is much-maligned! Hope you see Mo - one of our small regrets about being here over the summer, was missing him and the cycling round Teddington.

      By the way - I gave a talk on our tour of Bolivia on Monday to the Falklands WI (equivalent). But you read about it on here first!

  2. Hi Peter. Still enjoying your blog, it's certainly whetting my appetite - getting very excited now, 4 months & 14 days, and counting. I was so inspired by your trip to Bolivia (unfortunately I can't make it that far) but I have arranged a trip to the Atacama area.
    See you soon. Bx

    1. Hi Bx. Glad you like the blog. I think Annie is printing it out and binding it for you! :-).

      The Atacama is amazing. Do say if you want tips, eg, 'Drink lots of water, unless you want to wake up wrinkled!' Dehydration is rife.

  3. Surely you mean more wrinkled! Bx

  4. Interesting article you have here.I.myself,am a traveler.Currently on an antarctica expedition,you inspire me to take more pictures and enjoy luxurious life.

    1. Hi and Thanks. Glad you find it interesting. It's hotting up around here, now: 23C for the last couple of days. A bit hot for penguins, but it won't last. Where are you going in Antarctica? Will you be calling in at the Falklands? Enjoy.