Falkland Sun / by Jerry

12th December

I'm on the Falkland Islands now, we arrived here three days ago following a four day crossing from South Georgia. There were some rough seas – being woken up as I was thrown across the bed, walking down the corridor feeling like that fight scene in Inception – but I survived and even managed to make it to most of the meals.

We fly tomorrow morning so have had a few days to relax and manage a bit of exploring. There's about half a dozen of us here, some with office work to do while others, like me, content to wander around enjoying the sun, birdsong and vegetation that I've not seen in a year. Stanley isn't the most obviously spectacular place for plant life but just seeing and smelling the gorse in full bloom has been most welcome.

One of the ever-present Turkey Vultures soaring over Stanley.
A vulture making a meal of a goose, probably.
I took a wander up to the museum which has an interesting diversity of displays, at one point you can turn right to see specimens of the native fauna or left to see a range of guns used in the conflict. After that I browsed a few shops, picking up a few treats I've missed (milkshake).

The lighthouse at Cape Pembroke.
We managed to borrow a land rover (there's no other type of vehicle here) and headed out to Surf Bay then walked along to Cape Pembroke lighthouse. Although there were no dolphins or sea lions around it was a very nice walk with some smaller birds of interest to me, singing and flitting between low bushes.

Rufous-chested Dotterel. 
A Grass Wren that was singing in (and maybe about) the long grass.
It was a lovely, clear day with the sun out, although it was only when we climbed the lighthouse we realised how windy it was. By the time we got back to Surf Bay there were a lot more white-topped waves crashing onto the white sand.

Surf Bay looking amazing.
I couldn't resist the chance to get my shoes off and walk bare-foot through it, remembering the joys of getting freezing numb feet by the time the water gets above your ankles. That and being able to go for a walk in shorts for only the second time this year have been the highlights of my stay. That was when I really started to feel like I was on holiday.

It felt a little early in my real worl rehabilitation to visit a fancy restaurant but, along with others from the BAS and government offices and we had an excellent meal at the Malvinas Hotel. I usually feel a bit out of place in such venues but here I was able to reduce the impact of my awful hairstyle by sitting beside Ernie, whose long beard was plaited the previous night by a Pharos crew member.