My Travels Around the World

Category: Falklands

South Georgia and Falklands – Last Days.  Last Thoughts: Days 13-15

Nov 6-7, 2017

Leaving South Georgia – two more days at sea: Days 13&14

Our two days at sea were quiet. The ship rocked again. We were again crossing the Southern Ocean. The days were spent with a few more lectures, catching up on writing and editing this blog, and, unfortunately, packing. There was a guest slide show with all our best photos. The Captain had a farewell cocktail party. And mostly, we were just sad. This was one trip I did not want to see end. We had dinner with Gianluca Colla, a wonderful photographer and teacher who we had to say good-by to.  We went up to the deck and realized we were already back in Stanley. Instead of darkness in the horizon, we were back in civilization.

Nov 8, 2017

Our return to the Falklands: Day 15

We docked early in the morning, back at our same spot in Stanley. This time it was to say goodbye. They called us by cabin numbers this time, instead of zodiac groups. Our luggage was placed outside our cabin doors to be taken straight to our plane.

We were bused over to town, where after a quick cup of coffee and some cookies at the Malvinas Hotel, we were taken on an hour drive to the Mount Pleasant International Airport which is on the British Forces South Atlantic Islands Mount Pleasant Complex, i.e., the military base. Our private charter was given special permission to land for one hour (not a moment more) to drop off the next group of guests and take us back to Santiago. (Remember, we came from Buenos Aires, but you can’t fly from the Falklands to Argentina.  You now know why). And then we reached the base. It immediately looked different as it had a fence of trees, trees on an island that has almost none. And all the trees were bent with the wind.

We went inside the terminal, stood on line to check in, and then waited for the plane to arrive. When it finally did, we stood by the window and waved at all the people that were coming to take our place. They were excited. We were jealous.

Last thoughts

South Georgia is a truly wild, majestic, beautiful, complicated island. It is an island of extreme nature. Some days, we saw all the moods of weather within two hours. Sun. Snow. Sleet. Wind. More snow. More wind.

Often the weather gets bad about every four days. But we were lucky. We were able to land in three places where the largest colonies of King penguins live. St. Andrews. Gold Harbor. Salisbury. Luck. Plain luck.

My heart just soared as I watched. The interactions between the chicks. Between the adults. Between the chicks and the adults. The faces. The eyes. The birds soaring. The birds floating in the wind. The sounds which went right through me. And as loud as they were, they were almost soothing as they were only the sounds of nature.

Gianluca told us that magic happened at least twice on this trip. The morning we got up before the sun and watched the golden glow was magic. The moment of wonder being surrounded by penguins and chicks. It was almost overwhelming to take pictures because no picture can bring justice to the experience. And of course he was so right.

And you can’t be in South Georgia and not think about Shackleton. Sitting early in the morning in my cabin, watching the tall waves hit the window and the isolated bird flying around. I couldn’t help but think of him. On the Southern Sea, the Scotia sea.  Roughest waters in the world.  We have the comfort of warm beds, good food, GPS, radar, medicine for seasickness. They had nothing but the determination and will to keep going in order to save lives. And that is the story of South Georgia.


Port Stanley, The Falklands: Day 4

Saturday Oct 28, 2017

The Falklands

This was our second day in the Falklands, this time on East Falklands. We docked at FIPASS – Falklands Interim Port and Storage System.  Although it is called the “Interim” port, it has been there for twenty years. I opened my blinds and was staring right at the buildings on the dock. The shapes and the colors immediately struck me. And it was clear we were in a British colony as right outside my window were British telephone booths.  And a workman walking as if he were the British Imperial guard, but with a hard hat instead of a bearskin (the tall fur cap). And of course, I could see all the houses with their colorful roofs.

The Falklands: West Point and Carcass Islands: Day 3

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

Today would have been my father’s 95th birthday. Unfortunately, he never lived to see 53. He would have loved that I travel. He loved to travel too.  That is probably where I got that gene.

Flying Penguins

I woke up this morning, and as I do every morning, I immediately opened our blinds to look out. This morning I was greeted by the sight of penguins porpoising (not sure if that is really a word, but the penguins were jumping out of the water and “flying” like porpoises do).

Life on the MS Nat Geo Explorer: Day 2

Thursday Oct 26, 2017

They let us sleep until 8 this morning. And warned us that would be the first and last day we get to sleep late. This was a day at sea as we made our way to the Falkland Islands.

Breakfast and lunch are always buffet. We lined up but the lines always went quickly on two sides of the central island. For breakfast there was always fresh fruit, cucumber (while it lasted – by day 9 it was no longer to be seen), tomatoes, bell peppers in green, yellow and red, cheeses, meats, lox, chia pudding (we tried it one morning and for us that was enough), potatoes, scrambled eggs or eggs to order, oatmeal, yogurts, granola and other cereals, and the best breads ever.  Coffee, lattes, cappuccinos and teas were always available, and hot chocolate! This was one fattening trip!  These pictures are from different days on the trip, just to show some of the variety.

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