Our next adventure was very different from the first day, we were to spend half a day in Stanley, the capital of The Falklands. Stanley is a bustling metropolis with an astonishing 2,115 people at last census. I haven't talked much about the history of the Falklands, I encourage a review of their wikipedia page if you don't know anything about them.
However, a quick, subjective discussion of their history is as follows: The Falklands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, they are self-governing. The people of The Falklands are fiercely British in their mannerisms and customs. On April 2nd, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falklands. It was a move by the Argentinian government to move the attention of the Argentine people away from their crappy economy and onto something else. This was condemned by the UN and most countries in Europe, it received support from many countries in South America (excluding Chile and Colombia).
The British responded with an expeditionary force of their own, retaking Stanley and eventually leading to an Argentinian surrender on the 14th of June. As you can imagine, this has left a very negative, and enduring mark on the memories of this small community. I can hardly imagine the fear the inhabitants felt, 255 British died in the encounter (including 3 civilian Falklanders). Issues continue to this day with Argentina continuing to provoke when it serves the government.
All that said, Stanley is a wonderful place that I'd love to return to. Since the war, they've been less neglected by the British government and are home to over 1,000 RAF troops. Their brightly colored homes and warm hospitality make it a place that I'd love to have more than 3-4 hours to explore and learn about. We spent our time there walking around the shoreline to the museum, acquiring a number of souvenirs, visiting their supermarket (they had Twizzlers), and taking the chance to check the election results and our email for the last time (only 20 minutes, I promise!).
Upon returning to the ship, we had lunch and then began our long journey to the South Georgia islands. Days 4 and 5 of our trip were entirely at seas. We learned that we both get seasick and that laying in bed helps the situation a bit. It wasn't so bad, we were able to make it to all meals and several of the lectures offered in these days. Also included was another mandatory meeting about bio-security, including vacuuming all of our gear to ensure that we weren't transferring seeds and other things between various landing sites.
Our time in the Falklands was fantastic and I'd love the opportunity to go back and spend 2-3 weeks there, living with the people and experiencing all the wonderful things that the islands have to offer.
Nuts and Bolts
- Remember that if you're collecting currency that the official currency on the The Falklands is the Falkland Island Pound which is tied in value to the British Pound. The currency features a number of wonderful pictures of the local wildlife.
- DO NOT attempt to pay for things with the Argentine peso in the Falklands. This would be very insulting, it is not funny, and they are NOT accepted. Euros, British Pounds, and US dollars are all generally accepted without a problem.