Friday, 8 February 2013

"The Clyde, the Clyde, the wonderful Clyde......"

London buses, eh?  You don't see one for ages then 3 turn up at once.  Same with blog entries, and Unusual ships in Stanley Harbour.....[I'm living in the Falklands for a couple of years.  This is just some observations on living here.]
Penguins in Gypsy Cove

As well as cruise ships like Veendam and Seabourn Sojourn (not forgetting the unfortunate Star Princess, which found the gales too strong to allow passengers ashore), there's been a couple of Royal Navy warships visiting and allowing the public on board.
The bridge, bristling with modern equipment
I mentioned the destroyer, HMS Edinburgh, recently, but today saw HMS Clyde invite locals onboard, to see who and what is behind the naval patrols around the Falklands.
 The ship is 25 years younger than Edinburgh, and it shows in the sophisticated controls on the bridge.  I'm not a military expert, but I'm fairly sure that Edinburgh would win in a fight between the two, but Clyde is probably a bit more economical to have on permanent patrol in the South Atlantic.  Certainly, it is reassuring for Falklanders to have this level of protection around their islands, (especially in light of recent Argentine announcements).
And, like Edinburgh, it reminded me of where I was born - in sight of the famous Firth of Clyde, immortalised in McGonagall poetry - (or it may have been Spike Milligan....)

"The Clyde, the Clyde, the wonderful Clyde,
It's filled with water from side to side!"

Not to be confused with McGonagall's famous ode, "The Tay Bridge Disaster".  He is often thought to be the worst poet in the world, but I'm not sure if he wrote the following description of the biggest river in Scotland -

"The Tay, the Tay, the silvery Tay,
It flows the same way every day!"

For more information on Scotland's other famous bard -
State cabins, Erica.
After those two mighty  fighting ships, we also welcomed the giant and sleek sloop "Erica XII".  It is registered in Hamilton, and I presume it's the one in Bermuda, and not the town in central Scotland!
Erica moored near the public jetty
 Its 150-foot (52m.) length has room for 10 passengers in comfort and 7 crew.  The top of its mast seems as high as the hill on which Stanley sits!

For more details on her and how to charter it, please go here >
Gypsy Cove - good place for penguins and dolphins

 Meanwhile, for those cruise ship passengers who did make it ashore this week, there were a few penguins hanging around to welcome them.  Most of the chicks in Gypsy Cove (where I occasionally work) are now out of their nests and gathering on the beach, waiting not only for their daily feed, but for their full adult plumage to grow.
Storms early in the week prevented 2,500 passenger getting ashore.
Seabourn Sojourn and Princendam in calm waters
 It was interesting chatting to some of the visitors, many of who were Canadian.  Sheila, originally from Rutherglen in Scotland, now lives near Vancouver, but spotted my Scottish accent, and wanted to know if I could buy Ayrshire bacon in Stanley.  (It's a Scottish delicacy, for those who haven't tried it).  I reassured her that I could also lay my hands on square sausages and black pudding, should I long for the tastes of my homeland (and if I was worried my cholesterol was too low!).
Feeding time
However, most visitors tend to ask more penguin-centric questions:

"Do you feed them krill?"
"Are these King penguins?"
"Do you eat them?"

The answer is "No", to all.
Meanwhile, a small crime wave is erupting in Stanley with several speeding drivers being processed by the courts.  One driver admitted he'd overtaken a car on the bypass (speed limit 40mph) at 60 miles per hour.  But his subsequent speeding through the town at 40mph (limit 25mph), was because he thought that car was chasing him.  In a way he was right - he'd overtaken the Chief Constable!   I'm really not sure why anyone would need to speed as the town is only 2 miles from end to end.

There might be a delay until the next blog as we are hosting a dear friend who has made it all the way from the UK via Chile.  So, the Penguin Warden uniform goes in the cupboard for a while, and I'm doing private tours....


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