Fitzroy


Tourism can be big here. Not many countries can claim that, on specific days, the population can be doubled or even tripled by a tourist influx for the day. Obviously the location and comparative rarity of flights means that the package holiday market isn’t exactly top priority, but the cruise ships have a major impact here. On ‘ship days’, one or two cruise ships can turn up and dump 3-5000 people on the seafront, having a dramatic impact on life here. These people all need catering for, toy penguins to take away and to travel to various places on the Islands. We’ve not yet experienced one of these days as the season is still nearing but we did receive a little of the tourist treatment yesterday as we were asked to help a local man (who, it turns out, lost his eye as a result of a misplaced British 1000lb bomb from a Harrier in 1982) gain his Tour Guide certification. A free tour of Fitzroy with tea and cake afterwards, you say? Happy to help!

The phone at Fitzroy, used by the local settlers and the Paras to confirm the Argentine withdrawal.

The phone at Fitzroy, used by the local settlers and the Paras to confirm the Argentine withdrawal.

Fitzroy is the fourth largest settlement in the Falklands (behind Stanley, Goose Green and Darwin; the latter, it turns out, being named after Charles as he apparently spent longer here than in the Galapagos collecting fossils, formulating his theories and waiting for the Beagle). Fitzroy itself gained notoriety as the location of the RFAs Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram who, after a series of blunders and miscommunications, were left unprotected out in the open and attacked by the Argentine air force with devastating consequences. The Welsh Guards were particularly badly hit, having been left aboard instead of unloaded as perhaps should have happened. TV crews were there to witness the event and the images of the wounded and lifeboats being brought ashore at a small bay by the site are etched into many minds here.

The Welsh Guards' memorial

The Welsh Guards’ memorial

The inlet at Fitzroy

The inlet at Fitzroy

The memorials are well taken care of and even have a webcam from Sure, who run the limited satellite internet service here:
http://www.sure.co.fk/index.php/fitzroy-memorial

The site is home to abundant wildlife, as with so many places here, and we were lucky enough to get up close to a colony of Rock Shags/Magellanic Cormorants as well as to see our first dolphins here.

Commerson's dolphins in the same bay that the wounded from the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were brought ashore

Commerson’s dolphins in the same bay that the wounded from the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were brought ashore

Rock shags nesting

Rock shags nesting

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