Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sun, Solstice, and the Red Carpet

Here in the southern hemisphere, today was the summer solstice. The sun makes its southern-most track and as a result today has the longer period of sunlight, longer than any other day in the year. And today was exceptional for several reasons. First today was clear and sunny throughout our visit to Stanley, this is not always the case as often the local weather is cloudy and rainy. We even observed folks soaking up the sun, in the Church yard. Secondly all our excursions: bird watching, nature walks, historical tours, scenic over-flights and lastly the penguin and cookies trip were fully enjoyed by our sometimes sun and wind burned fellow travelers. While we enjoyed the bright sun we did have to lean a bit into the gale force winds that swept the waterfront.

On a third more reflective note, many of us gathered at the Cathedral for a short service to mark the start of the centenary celebration of the Whalers Church in Grytviken on South Georgia Island. The forth exceptional event today was a red carpet reception with the Honorable Nigel Haywood the Governor of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the South Sandwich Islands. Kjell Tokstad representing the Norwegian organization Øyas Venner the “Friends of the Island- South Georgia” presented honorary memberships to the Governor, and his Chief Executive Martin Collins and Richard Hines the Vicar in Stanley. There followed a lovely reception with mulled claret, tasty treats, and excellent company.

At 5pm or 1700 we left the dock and motored to out of the harbor into the open sea. Behind us as a backdrop we had crystal clear views of Stanley and the surrounding ridges. On this longest day of the year, the sunlight faded as the orange disc of the sun dropped below the horizon. We are headed onward and forward to South Georgia Island and Christmas.