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11/26/2007

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Early this morning Explorer II sailed into Port Williams with the historic Cape Pembroke lighthouse, just off her port beam. Unfortunately, due to gale force winds blowing up to 40 knots, the inner harbour was closed. Captain John Moulds decided to commence with the bunkering operation, while we waited for the weather to abate. The predictions were favorable and we hoped to go ashore later in the day. We got really lucky as a large group of Peale’s Dolphins joined us around the ship. These dolphins are enthusiastic in their interactions with ships. After spending some time out on deck, we came inside for a hearty breakfast.

In the meantime Expedition Leader, Larry Hobbs and Cruise Director, Jannie Cloete rescheduled the day’s plans, and we carried on with the lecture program for the morning. First up was our on board Photo Coach, Richard Harker, who presented an informative talk entitled ‘Photography in Antarctica’ sharing tips on how to prepare our equipment and what to expect!

Our German guests enjoyed a presentation by Michael Schmid on Whales of the Southern Ocean, and later in the morning Stephanie Martin told tales about her whale research.

Finally after lunch, Captain John Moulds carefully maneuvered the ship to come alongside at FIPASS, a large floating dock. The shore excursions had all been reorganized and thankfully the Falkland Islands excursion team were extremely flexible and accommodating.

Many of us opted for the Bluff Cove penguin adventure where the emphasis was more on natural history, and we were rewarded with outstanding sightings of our first penguins, as well as a large number of the shorebirds which occur in these parts. Others joined the Port Stanley Highlights tour, and drove through town with one of the local guides giving delightful insights into the daily life here. Some of us simply collected a map and an audio wand from our Cruise Director, Jannie Cloete, and off we went, to discover and explore on our own.

After the tours, we had ample time for some shopping and a visit to the Museum, before boarding the last shuttle bus back to the ship. At dinner everyone chatted excitedly about the different things they did ashore. Explorer II finally set sail – heading south eastwards towards South Georgia.


   

We sailed into Stanley harbor and discovered a quaint and colorful town.

The Explorer II docked next to a scientific research vessel for the British Antarctic Survey.

We discovered the Falklands war memorial along Ross road.

One of the famous sights is the blue whale jaw bone arch in front of Christchurch cathedral.

A young lamb feats on the fresh grass in one of the yards along the main street.


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