Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What You Have Been Waiting For-------Penguins!

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - population 2000
2 main islands - East Falkland (the largest) and West Falkland (slightly smaller)

The Falklands are actually a total of 776 islands.  Most are just rocky windswept outcroppings with nothing on them.  There are more sheep than people in the entire country.  When ships didn't make it through the Strait of Magellan, they generally retreated to the Falklands, so the people became adept at repairs and resupply.

One of the most interesting facts about the Falklands is that there are about 20,000 unexploded land mines on the islands.  Do you remember the Falklands War of 1982?  If you are under 40 you probably won't!  LOL

 On Friday, April 2, 1982 Argentina invaded and occupied the Falklands.  That ticked the British off, who replied by dispatching a naval task force to retake the islands.  The conflict lasted 74 days
until the Argentinians surrendered, returning the Islands to British Sovereignty.  The Argentinians sunk a British war ship, killing about 250 sailors.  In all, about 650 Argentinians and 3 Islanders died.  The funny thing was that for about 100 years no one wanted the islands.  They were sort of left out there to themselves, sheep farming and peat cutting.  England ended up caring for the islanders, which was costing them a lot of money so they tried giving them back to Argentina.  Then the English damaged an Argentine sub, and the Argentines retaliated by sinking British ship, and back and forth.  The British sent 43 Harriers, 2 submarines, 144 ships of various sorts and numerous escort vehicles and jet refuelers.  It was not easy taking the Islands back. 

Now the Islanders are British Subjects who are given free health care, free education and free college in the British Isles in return for their taxes and service in the British military.  They are hardy but happy people.

Frank asked our citizen driver, Andy, what did the citizens do during the war?  Did they leave?  He guffawed loudly, and returned, Bless your little cotton socks!  Why would we leave?  This is OUR home! 

As we drove over the bumpy peat bog out toward the penguin colony, we passed the mine fields.  Argentina laid thousands of mines in the areas outside of Port Stanley.  There were multiple teams of 4 Kenyan soldiers in bright yellow protective gear sweeping a grid area to find unexploded mines.  After an area is cleared, they fence it off and turn sheep and horses to graze.  After an amount of time, if they haven't exploded themselves, they consider the area clear.  They tell you that if you are hiking in the Falklands and you come across the back of a metal sign, consider that your lucky day!


In order to have enough buses to handle the tourists from the cruise lines, the cruise lines get together and bring buses to the island every season.  These buses bring tourists to a staging area where Falklands citizens come with their Land Cruisers and 4 x 4s and pick them up.  The tourists are thusly transported over bumpy peat bogs and mug pits to view penguins!  

Andy picked us up in his 23 year old Land Rover named Margie.  We drove over the rough terrain and he talked about his life in the Falklands.  After we visited the penguins and the Sea Cabbage Cafe for the lemon cakes called Diddly Dee Cakes and hot tea we headed back to Port Stanley in a pouring rain.

We attempted the Maritime Museum, but ended up on tenders heading back to the ship in a heavy sea.  

Those are whale rib bones in an arch in front of the Church of England in Port Stanley.

I leave you with Penguin Pictures

The ones with yellow necks are King Penguins. The rest are Magellanic Penguins.  There is an egg and a new born baby penguin.  See if you can find them.


  1. what a trip! So special so many memories. LeeAnna

  2. Great pictures! Yes, the history of the Falklands is pretty crazy. The guys from Top Gear went to South America and ended up in Argentina. Well, they entire BBC crew was attacked and they had to get out of Dodge and head back to Chili. Apparently the Argentinians were upset with a license plate on one of the presenter's car that they thought was a reference to the Falklands war. The Argentinians are sensitive about that war even after all these years. I just glad to hear the people are happy. It is awful about all those mines.

  3. What a memorable trip you had. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. What a memorable trip you had. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. How interesting! I have learned slit from your trip. Thank you for the history of this unusual and beautiful land- and of course for finally showing us the Penguins! You are such a tease but worth the wait

  6. So interesting - love the penguins!!


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