March 12, 2020 – Port Stanley, East Falkland, Falkland Islands
We arrive at our anchorage outside Port Stanley on time this morning around 7am, and after anchoring, the tendering ashore starts promptly. I’m up at 6:45am, have breakfast in the stateroom, and take the first tender ashore to meet our excursion operator. We are driven most of the way to Bluff Cove Lagoon in a large minibus, and then transfer to 4x4s for the last 5-10 minutes to get to the penguin rookery.
We see both Gentoo penguins and King penguins with their young. Most of the Gentoos are moulting, so they are pretty miserable, just sitting there trying to survive the unseasonably cold, wet weather (see banner image above). This is Autumn going into winter in the southern hemisphere, and it is only 8°C today. Mind you, we are at 52° South latitude right now, so the weather can’t be expected to be that warm.
Mission accomplished: I saw penguins on the Falkland Islands!
Bluff Cove Lagoon is a small part of a 35,000 acre sheep and cattle farm, where the owners offer access to the penguins and other wildlife. They also operate a small museum, gift shop, and most importantly the Sea Cabbage Cafe, where complimentary sweet treats and hot beverages are served to their guests!
Once we return from the penguin rookery, I walk along Port Stanley’s waterfront road, stopping here and there to see some of the quaint buildings and historic sights. The Maritime Museum is well worth seeing. Passengers from the Roald Amundsen (Hurtigruten, 500 passengers) are also in town, wearing their distinctive coats. I do no shopping, and return to the ship by 12:30pm, and have a very nice Vietnamese rice stir fry lunch in the Lido.
I download all the photos and videos I shot today into my computer and start the task of entering titles and locations. Thankfully, the GPS unit I have on my Canon EOS R is working perfectly. Having all the photos geocoded combined with having access to the Internet makes annotating the photos with place names much easier and faster.
The cruise has been wonderful so far. Tomorrow we sail the Magellan Strait to Punta Arenas, then explore Beagle & Cockburn Channels before we round Cape Horn and sail through the Chilean Fjords. The upcoming week is looking spectacular!