Tags: Falkland Islands, Stanley

Date: December 1, 2022

On the last day of our stay in the Falkland Islands we went to the capital, Stanley. We started the stay with a nature walk with a local guide.

A couple of Blackish oystercatchers:

This is the wreck of Lady Elizabeth:

In 1912, she got damaged rounding Cape Horn on the way from Vancouver to Mozambique with lumber. She then went to Stanley for repairs, but hit some rocks just before getting there. She still managed to get into the harbor, but was deemed too damaged to save. The government of the Falkland Islands bought the ship and the cargo. Since there aren't really any trees in the Falkland Islands, the cargo of lumber was quite useful.

The hull was used as a storage facility for coal while moored in the harbor. In 1936, the mooring lines broke in a storm and she ended up in Whalebone Cove where she rests to this day. Several decommissioned ships were apparently used for storage in Stanley harbor over the years.

This is the wreck of a steam driven tug boat with the city of Stanley in the background:

It was a very windy day as you can see from the water here:

A flock of humans all looking in the same direction towards a bird called a crested caracara, that we did not take a photo of:

Balsam bog, called "living rock" by Charles Darwin:

Here is a gun from the first world war:

When people around here talk about "the war", they are not referring to the first or second World War, but the Falklands War. The Falkland Islands have been British since 1833, but ever since then Argentina has also claimed the islands. The military dictatorship of Argentina decided to invade the islands on April 2, 1982. The British put together a fleet of military and civilian ships that sailed for the islands. The brief but intense war ended when Stanley was captured by the British on June 14, 1982 and the Argentine military surrendered. All told, 649 Argentinians and 258 Brits died.

After the war, the Argentine military dictatorship fell and democracy was restored but to this day, Argentina still claims the Falkland Islands as theirs. In 2013 a referendum was held among the population of the Falkland Islands regarding their political status. The turnout was 92 % and of those, 99.8 % voted to remain British. A grand total of three people voted that they preferred the islands to become Argentinian, so the Islands continue to be a British Overseas Territory.

Back to the nature walk. Magellanic penguin resting on the tussock grass:

The penguins have the beach to themselves:

After the nature walk, we spent a bit of time in the city of Stanley. Here is a rare Victorian brick house with bricks shipped in from the UK:

The Cathedral:

In 1895 and 1896 the Royal Navy ship HMS Barracouta was in the Falkland Islands. The crew started a tradition by spelling out the ship's name in white rocks on the hill across the water from Stanley:

The name of HMS Beagle was added later even though it was in Stanley in 1891, so before HMS Barracouta. There has been at least eight ships named HMS Beagle and the most famous one carrying Charles Darwin was launched in 1820, so somewhat earlier than the one represented by the rocks here.

The tradition was followed up by HMS Protector, HMS Endurance, HMS Dumbarton Castle and latest HMS Clyde:

Crew from HMS Clyde wrote the name in 2013. The letters are about ten meters high and it took three days to get the 20 tons of rocks in place and another day to paint them white. Imagine the amount of work needed by the crew of HMS Dumbarton Castle.