Reading: Longtitude (Dava Sobel)
Weather: Windy – the predominant weather in the Falklands …..
Thought for the day: Watching an England match in a pub in the Falklands – the furthest outpost of England support?
Evening meal: Chick pea burgers with beans, potatoes and salad
Wildlife headcount: Commerson’s dolphin, petrels, vultures (!) ….
Waking at anchor to find the wind was about 20 knots was not really a surprise. The first sentence in the Falklands guidebook identifies the predominant weather characteristic of the Falklands as wind and today it delivered. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful anchorage. Apparently, the beach in front of us was one of the last to have mines cleared from it after the Falklands conflict, so it is now safe to walk on without spontaneously exploding, though there is still quicksand so walking on it is still taking your life into your own hands – just a slower way to go. Around 10am Jet headed off for a very wet dinghy ride to check us all into the Falklands. Despite having a British passport, I was still stamped in as the islands are effectively just a British protectorate so are independently governed. We are now legitimate for a fortnight!
Once checked in Jet returned with Gijs (her brother) who will skipper the next stage of the trip and we headed over to moor up alongside one of the jetties for a few days. Passing two cruise ships we also saw a Commerson’s dolphin and various birds on the way. Ahead of us on the jetty were a group of seal lions who had just hauled themselves out on the jetty precisely where all the cruise ships land people. The seals were being hassled by a local vulture who seemed to take their inactivity as them being dead – they quickly disabused him of that notion!
In the afternoon I headed to the supermarket and bought an internet card. I managed to phone home with this and the connection was fairly good, though internet on the islands is still apparently a fairly nascent technology. From there I headed to the Rose Tavern to watch the England vs Senegal match from the World Cup. My fellow supporters in the pub were clearly the cream of HM Forces on the islands, though in this instance cream may have other connotations …. Still England won 3-0, so onto the next round. We (sadly!) won’t be around for that.
While wandering around I also headed to Victory Green as it is known and on the green is what remains of the mizzen mast of the Great Britain. Perhaps one of Brunel’s most famous works, she was the largest ship in the world when she was launched at Bristol in 1843. She arrived storm damaged in the Falklands in 1886 and remained here for over 80 years – moored as a hulk in Sparrow Cove. She finally returned to Bristol for restoration in July 1970 and there she remains – apart from her mizzen mast!