Han and I ummed and aahed about what to do with our Christmas/summer down here. With both of us having time off from work and a bit of money in the bank we contemplated Chile but there is only one flight a week and it isn’t cheap; one of the downsides to living in one of the most remote communities in the world. Eventually we settled on staying here in Stanley and trying to get out to camp and perhaps to some of the other Islands as and when we could. So far, we’re very glad we did!
It’s the nature of the migrant-based society here that there are large numbers of people here without their families so we hosted our own ‘Orphans’ Christmas’, an open-invite drinks party, followed by a walk to Cape Pembroke Lighthouse with Aniket’s drone (pictures to follow) and then dinner for 7. It turns out a traditional roast does work in summer. Good times had all round.
Christmas here is followed by the Boxing Day races; two days of straight horse racing at Stanley racecourse though weather only allowed for one day this year. This was a real community event, everyone turns out, has some drinks, gambles (including the children, all legally) and watches the chaos unfold. Falls were plentiful, injuries were thankfully not and we had a great day out even if we didn’t win all that much.
The next day brought the real highlight of the year so far. What was poor weather for racing was seen as acceptable weather for a trip to Volunteer Point. This is one of the most known sites here and many, many cruise ship passengers end up being taken there as it hosts the largest colony of King Penguins here. It is, however, not so easy to access. We’d been told ‘don’t go alone, don’t go without a local’ many times and boy were we glad we didn’t! Navigating the ‘track’ across an utterly featureless yet beautiful landscape whilst concentrating on the nature of the off-roading for over 90 minutes left us, as a group, taking bets on which way North could possibly be. As you can see from the photos: this was truly off road, the pictures show a snapshot – it was truly 90 minutes of just that. I’ve NEVER driven any car like this before, yet alone for hours on end. We had a couple of sketchy moments, even getting to the point of our friend and guide gleefully beginning to uncoil his tow-rope before we managed to get ourselves out and carry on the journey. Eventually, we arrived at Volunteer Point and weren’t disappointed.
When it comes to the beauty of the King penguins, their colony on land and the stunning beach at Volunteers, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:
We’ve since had another trip to Bertha’s Beach, startling a sea lion there and finding out first fur seal sleeping on the sand, but we won’t overload you with that today. The next 3 weeks should hold more adventures so do subscribe in the box on the right and stay up-to-date. We hope all of your Chistmases were as fantastic and enjoyable and wish all our friends and family a Happy New Year.