Tuesday 21 December 2010

Port Stanley

We spent the whole day exploring Port Stanley and environs. That means visiting a quaint little town with signs of Britishness everywhere.  There were lots of shipwrecks, victims of the perilous days of rounding Cape Horn, when ships were left mastless and had to slowly make their way to safe havens.  On many occasions that meant arriving at Port Stanley - for posterity; and the reminders of the bygone days of whaling.

Exploring the area of Port Stanley was interesting: venturing outside town, one quickly reaches beautiful, white sandy beaches where Magellanic penguins congregate before of after foraging trips; scenic coves enclosed within stratified quartzite cliffs with rock cormorants nesting in them; gently rolling hills overlooking the bay across the pier; or, for the most adventurous people, a bumpy but exciting ride on four-wheel vans to cross the island and reach Volunteer Point, where gentoo and king penguins sun themselves in Caribbean-like beaches, before plunging into turqoise waters. 

For ship lovers, our visit to Port Stanley was rather exciting today, because of 2 famous vessels: SS Great Britain, which for a long while was stranded here, before returning to its birthplace in Bristol; and the Antarctic supply vessel James Clark Ross, with which we shared our mooring.