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Carnet de voyage : Antarctique

Stanley, Falkland Islands - Thursday, December 30, 2004

Long: 51° 41 S
Lat: 57° 51 W
Temp: 14 C°
Water Temp: 10 C°
Wind: 20 Knts
Wind Direction: N


Photo ci contre : Whale bone arch at Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley (by Colin Baird)

On this day in 1902, Commander Robert Scott's would-be polar party, including Doctor Edward Wilson and a young Ernest Shackleton, reached their farthest south of 82º 17'.

Chosen as the new seat of government and first settled in the early 1840's, Stanley was picked for its sheltered harbour and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel. Initially surviving as a provisioning and repair stop for ships traveling around Cape Horn, Stanley achieved a notorious reputation as a haven for vagabond seamen and grizzled whalers. After the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the switch from sail to steam, Stanley became increasingly dependant on the wool trade. The growing sheep farming industry in 'Camp' needed an infrastructure and collective port; Stanley rose to the call. Stanley remains the centre of not only the wool industry but the fisheries as well. Its notorious reputation long gone, the residents of Stanley have that hardy, cooperative friendliness often found in remote communities.

Stanley is easy enough discover in a day on foot as most people found. There is a tourist information centre at the end of the Public Jetty and Internet, telephone, banking, post-office, (and perhaps most importantly pub) access within a few blocks. There were plenty of shops with souvenirs including locally made wool items. The post-office on the main road near the pier featured first day covers and other items of interest to the philatelists among us. One didn't have to venture far to experience the wildlife of the Falklands. All manner of fauna could be found around town from Peale's dolphins in the harbour to endemic Falkland flightless steamer ducks, upland geese, kelp geese, red-backed hawk, Magellanic penguin, and Falkland pipits. Gypsy Cove was a popular Stanley side-trip. Falklands Conservation provides fencing and paths that wind through the burrows and large, rusting WWII anti-aircraft guns. The fences are also there to prevent you from entering minefields! Up the hill from the crescent beach is one of the area's better bird-watching spots; various cormorants, turkey vultures, geese, ducks, gulls, wrens, thrushes, and finches were all spotted here among the herons and penguins.

As if to wish us well, a pod of dolphins escorted us out of the harbour as we set course for Antarctica.

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Last modified : December 16, 2005 18:37


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