One Way to do The Falklands

My wife and I visited the Falklands Islands in February 2013 while cruising on board Celebrity Infinity.

https://solentrichardscruiseblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/celebrity-infinity-to-antarctic-and-return/

We each had differing ideas on what we wanted to see and eventually came to a happy agreement on an itinerary that we then negotiated with the Falklands Islander whom we had booked for a private tour.
On our arrival off Port Stanley there was considerable relief that the weather had held for us. It was a reasonably bright early morning as we approached our eventual anchor point – Port Stanley requires ship’s tenders to transfer passengers ashore. From our anchor point a number of the battlefield sites from the 1982 liberation war were clearly visible in the centre of the picture.

Luckily, as suite guests, we had a priority tender allocation and were soon approaching the jetty at Port Stanley…

…while taking particular note of one of the fleet of Korean Squid fishing boats at anchor in Port Stanley Harbour…

…before eventually arriving at the Port Stanley Jetty…

We were greeted by our guide, Charlene, a born and bred Falkland Islander with her sturdy 4×4, and  were very soon heading  off across the island in a South West direction towards  Mount Pleasant and Fitzroy. Our first intended destination was Bertha’s Beach…

Bertha’s Beach, so named after the 1952 shipwreck of a cargo vessel by the same name, which shed its cargo of  cedar wood, some baulks of which still litter the landscape…


http://www.falklandislands.com/product.php/118/32/berthas_beach

Bertha’s Beach is equally famous for its Gentoo Penguins who are present year-round and for dolphins are a regular feature at the beach, often coming close to shore as they hunt in the shallows. The pure joy of Bertha’s Beach is in its remoteness and we spent an amazing hour and a half there in total isolation from any other visitor…

Indeed, we had been the only visitors to Bertha’s Beach that day, which kind of made it somewhat special. Ship’s tours cannot access the route unless in 4WD vehicles. Coach excursions normally head for a separate penguin colony at Volunteer Point which does have the largest King Penguin colony in the Falkland Islands.
Our next stop was Fitzroy, scene of the worst single incident involving the task force during the Falklands War when the bombing of ‘RFA Sir Galahad and ‘RFA Sir Tristram’  left 54 men dead and 46 injured.

At Fitzroy Cove two monuments have been erected, one to those who perished on the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram…

…and the other, on the opposite side of the cove, to the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards who died during The Falklands war of 1982

Transiting back across the island towards Port Stanley and Cape Pembroke we passed not only many reminders of the legacy of the 1982 conflict…

…but examples of the sheer beauty of the island and its geological make-up. Glacier rock formations like scars on the landscape…

We eventually arrived at Cape Pembroke, having switched vehicles to Charley’s considerably more sturdy Land rover. Cape Pembroke was of special interest to me, there being  two memorials there which were of personal interest. This next photograph shows the Cape Pembroke lighthouse and the memorial to those that died on The Atlantic Conveyor

Before leaving Cape Pembroke we also paid a visit to the HMS Glamorgan Memorial. Poignant because I had served in the Royal Navy with one of the Senior ratings named on the memorial, Michael Adcock, …

 

Between Cape Pembroke and Port Stanley we stopped to enjoy this iconic view of Port Stanley from Whalebone Cove, with its fascinating wreck of ‘The Lady Elizabeth’…

 

Port Stanley is just so typically British, right down to its Post Office and telephone boxes…

 

 

and of course, its public house…

 

There is indeed enough to occupy your average tourist for at least  half a day  in and around Port Stanley alone.  Alas, our tight schedule limited us to around two hours. That still gave plenty of time to see the important sites including  Government House…

The Mizen Mast from the SS Great Britain

 

The Memorial to the 1914 Battle of the Falklands

and the more recent Memorial to those who lost their lives in the 1982 Liberation of the Falkland islands…

 

Not to mention this friendly chap who appears not to understand why so many visitors are queuing for the return tender boats…

 

Indeed, the sight of that queue also gave ‘yours truly’ and his wife an excuse for a last minute visit to The Globe Tavern where we enjoyed a few bottles of  Falkland Islands ale…

 

loaned a hand a pouring a few pints…

 

and eventually left feeling a little akin to the wreck of the Jhelum, which we had spotted earlier…

 

In summary our day out in the Falkland Islands was outstanding and despite the intermittent rain that plagued us for the second half of the day. Charlene not only met our visit requests but went that extra mile to add the icing on the cake with her background knowledge. Nothing was too much trouble and she even provided a complete pack of brochures for us as a souvenir  of our visit…

….which of course is an excellent supplement to the one stamped in our Passports…

 

Thank you Charlene for an excellent day out. You did us proud.

2 responses to “One Way to do The Falklands

  1. Bertha’s Beech is called after the Danish barque “Bertha” which was wrecked on East Falklands between Fox Point and Direction Island on 11th October 1892. My grandfather was Ship’s Carpenter and did not go back to Norway He got work immediately building the stables at Government House and also fencing the race course. He married a local girl Elizabeth Jane Holiday.

  2. My ancestor John Betts from Norfolk, UK was shipwrecked on The Falklands in the 1860s. He stayed there, married a missionary’s daughter and had 19 children, making Betts the most numerous surname on the islands today. We visited last year on a cruise and it is a very beautiful and interesting place which is more British than Britain. It was our favourite place on a trip from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso and seeing King Penguins at Volunteer Point – walking so close to you that you could have stroked them was an experience of a lifetime!

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