Monday, 4 March 2013

Harvest Festival!

[As the summer comes to a close, the weather in Stanley improves dramatically.  Just in time for the many visitors to take away good memories of the Falkland Islands.  I'm living and working here, and this blog is just some of my observations on the place.]

Last week, Stanley had several thousand cruise ship passengers visit the small town (population about 2,500; roughly the same as one of the larger ships.)
A pair of Turkey Vultures, waiting for the wind....

This week, we have about 60 representatives of the world's media in town to report on the imminent Referendum, being held next week.  It's getting difficult to go shopping without being filmed or interviewed!
Star Princess (and facilities on right)
The above photo shows the approach to Gypsy Cove, about 4 miles from Stanley, where many visitors take a minibus to see the penguins.   The "facilities" there are a toilet block and a bus that's been converted to a cafe.  On busy days about 700 visitors stroll round the cliff-top path and enjoy the scenery, and views of penguins.  The recent weather has been the best for months: showing off the location at its best.  It's a shame some tourists earlier in the year only saw it while trying to escape the driving rain.
Veendam and Seabourn Sojourn at anchor.
With others, I work as a Warden when ships are visiting to help ensure the wildlife is not overly disturbed and that visitors get information on the area.  People are keen to know more about the birds and dolphins, as well as the people and history of the islands.
A number of visitors are puzzled as to why the Islanders would have laid out so many minefields, which prevent access to beautiful beaches....
Falklands Thrush
There's a lot more to the place than penguins, but seeing them in the wild for the first time seems to be the main attraction for most people.
Gypsy Cove
Unfortunately, the breeding season is coming to an end, and only about 50 chicks are on the beaches at Gypsy Cove, waiting for their plumage to fully emerge before they can swim off to South America for the austral winter.
Port William, outer harbour
We also had a couple of Danish runners run by, early on Saturday morning.  They were doing one of those "777" challenges - 7 marathons, on 7 continents, in 7 days.    (If you say the Falklands is in Antarctica!).   After Stanley, they head for the airport and the weekly flight to Santiago, Chile.  After a marathon in the wee small hours there, it's on to San Francisco, Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, and finishing in Copenhagen!  Phew!
Danish runner, heading for Copenhagen, the long way.
There's also been a few luxury charter yachts in the harbour.  This one below, Hanse Explorer, has 7 cabins, and I think was chartered for a family trip to Antartica.

For more details of the boat, try here >>

Hanse Explorer

A slightly bigger yacht, Sherakhan, had, I understand, a party of about 50 on board.


There was certainly a party going on, on Saturday night, as the loud music drifted across the still harbour as Stanley enjoyed another calm day.  "Calm" as in lack of wind.  Nearby, the Globe Tavern was competing in the loud music stakes.  Stanley seems to be the "in" place to be!

Still, it didn't seem to disturb the wildlife.  A few yards away from the thumping disco music, a young seal was dozing.
Meanwhile, the locals were preparing for the prestigious Horticultural Society Annual Show.  Although the summer weather had been poor, many gardeners had nurtured their best specimens for the show.
And even if you didn't have green fingers, you could always bake something or create  some jam or pickle.  Or even a flower display (assuming you could grow flowers.)
Cakes galore
My tomatoes are still green, and my potatoes are missing, believed trampled by horses.  So I didn't enter any produce.  Although I did have second thoughts, when I saw the standard of entries in the pizza section.  "I could do better than some of those", I thought, until I noticed it was for the Infant School children!
Creative cake-makers
Prizewinning Swedes, or, as I call them, Turnips.
Some of the produce was being auctioned off, and should fetch high prices.  The remainder was transferred next door for a display at the Harvest Festival!  Doesn't time fly ??

Not sure how this got here....wrong turning in the Dartford Tunnel?

Next Week -  will the Referendum outcome be as predicted?
Will some stunt be pulled in front of the world's Press?
Will people vote?

We'll see,
A couple of weeks ago, I listed some job vacancies here.  Added to those, there are now vacancies for a Director of Health, a Head Teacher for the sceondary school, and a Rodent Control Operative!   What's going on?  Rats?  Sinking ship?   :-)

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