Tuesday, 30 October 2012

October highlights....

[An occasional look at life in the South Atlantic.  My wife and I are on the Falklands for at least two years, enjoying the islands, the community, the wildlife and the scenery.....]

OCTOBER, despite its name, is the tenth month, and is our tenth month in the Falkland Islands.  I'm also on my tenth cheque book from the local bank, which is ten more than I'd used in 20 years in the UK!
We've had some wonderful sunsets in October, and possibly sunrises, but they are now well before I wake, so I haven't seen one for a while.  Sunset is about 7.30, and getting later every day.
Apologies if I've posted some of these photos before, but I like them!  Please  feel free to let me know which you like or dislike or if you have any requests!  Although I don't do sparrows.
Lady Liz, Sampson, and kite-surfers
There's also been some very high and low tides, which have exposed some of the many wrecks in Stanley harbour.
Stanley Cottage, home British Antarctica Survey
The sun has been out, but there's also been a lot of hazy cloud, which has hidden the stars at night.  But the long dryish spell has continued, with only a couple of short snow showers to remind us we are only 600 miles from the Antarctic peninsula.
Victory Green.  Cottages were formerly the Upland Goose Hotel
The street furniture is being repainted for the imminent arrival of cruise ships - a sure sign of Spring.  And lambs and foals are starting to appear.
I'm hoping Snow Ghost (above) and Mum will appear soon to keep our grass down....
Stanley Growers show of nationality. Harbour and Mt Low in distance.
With all plant growth, I've been down the local garden centre - Stanley Growers - looking for tools to restrict it in our garden, and also to buy seeds for salad vegetables, hoping they know they are in the southern hemisphere, and don't wait till next June before making an appearance!
Community School on hill, and side entrance to Government House.
Bulbs, like the daffodils above, must have been brought from the northern hemisphere, and somehow changed their flowering period in line with the austral seasons.  I know there are herds of reindeer on South Georgia (although not for much longer, as they are to be culled next year), which were brought south by whalers in the early twentieth century and which give birth, as usual, in March only to find their young dying in the freezing winter.  Within a few years, though, their breeding seasons adjusted to produce young in the south's Spring (September), and the animals have flourished to such an extent they now must be removed as they threaten the survival of native species.  More on this topic later, but isn't Nature's adaptability amazing?
Rudolf, the lone reindeer.  Stanley.
Funnily enough, I spotted this reindeer being used as a lawn mower last week.  I hadn't seen it before or since....
Heading down the Stanley Road.
Last week was interesting as I met up with a friend of a Nordic Walking friend from our old stomping ground of Teddington, south-west London.  Richard was a keen and fit walker and cyclist, and had climbed several of the hills surrounding Stanley, so I offered to take him to the lighthouse - about 7 miles from Stanley.
Cape Pembroke lighthouse, and memorial to those killed on the Atlantic Conveyor.
We had a very pleasant walk through the dunes, during a gap in the snow squalls.  Worried about the changeable weather, I had had the foresight to borrow (from the Museum) the key to the disused lighthouse in case we needed to take shelter.   What I hadn't realised was that it weighed about 5 kilos.
From the lighthouse.  Chile the next landfall, 12,715 miles to the east.
Cape Pembroke is the most easterly point of the Falklands, and looking east, the next bit of land is over 12,000 miles away in Chile!  The views were great in all directions, and the snow stayed away until we got back to the car!  That night we had a delicious meal in the Malvina House Hotel while the snow flurries blew past the windows...Thanks, Richard!  Good to meet you.
Rescued penguins, enjoying the view above Stanley.
Other visitors last week were a group of 9 Rockhopper penguins, being treated to remove oil.  They are currently staying in a pen across the road from me while they regain their waterproofness.
New car park at the Tax Office (yellow).  Same old parking.
Meanwhile, some of you might be interested to know that the new car park for the Tax Office has been completed, and is now open and ready for visitors....
Spring garden display, Stanley.  Not my garden!
Some people obviously put a lot of effort into gardening here, and since the Falklands has a bit of a reputation (OK, its justified) for being bleak, I thought it would be good to show what can be done with poor soils and fairly tough weather.   "There's sleet, rain, snow, and ice....and then winter arrives!"
New, rather out of keeping, frontage.
I had a bit of work done on the car last week, but felt the garage at the historic town centre had maybe forgotten its roots with its new snazzy showroom (above).  There's something about the traditional architecture (below)  that reassures one that the staff will take car of the cars....(or have I been watching too much Downton Abbey?).
Traditional garage.
Open-top taxi.   Popemobile?
Spotted the open-top taxi recently.  It's difficult to get rid of old vehicles here - where can they go?
Nordic Walking on the dunes. Great all-over workout.
We're heading off to an island for a few days, so there may be a delay till the next instalment.  But I promise to provide another update on our life on the Falklands soon.  EG Stanley Triathlon on Sunday...Eeek!




  1. Loved the post and excellent pics as usual. I am in NZ on holiday where they have three types of penquins. Two are pretty rare and only right down south, but the third, the tiny Korora, can be viewed around the coast of The Malborough Sounds. They are the world's tiniest penquins and locally known as the Blue Penquins. They are cute and can be seen when sailing along the coast (they only come ashore to the mainland at night).

  2. Enjoy your trip. At the weekend we visited Pebble Island. Saw Rockhopper, Magellanic, Macaroni and Gentoo penguins. Expect a trip report soon!

  3. Have you tried to tickle the local penguins?

    COngrats on the triathalon!!! Hope no banned substances were used :-)

  4. Wow, how difficult is it to read (or hear) the verification words!!

    1. I wasn't aware they were that difficult. Not much I can do about it, sorry. I'll never buy Google shares!

  5. Strange - I was told (by email alert) that you, Mags, had left a short video of someone tickling a penguin, but I don't see it now. Anyway - it sounds cruel....