I’ve been making a conscious effort to take more pictures lately as I feel they do a better job of communicating the experience we have here (which, I guess, is the purpose of this blog though perhaps I should have defined that several years ago). By now, regular followers will be getting more familiar with some of the spots we frequent so it may come as no surprise that we’ve been visiting a number of them recently. Still, thanks to an ongoing agreement between Falkland Island Government and a Canadian medical school, Canadian doctors undergoing GP training and wanting to experience remote medicine are cycled down to us here in the Falklands. This is a mutually beneficial set-up that has the added bonus of giving us Canadian doctors every few months who seem to be, without exception, lovely and outgoing people to hang out with. Inevitably, Han and I end up showing the doctors to some of our favourite spots and we build up great relationships with many of them.
Socially, the Falklands populations is already very transient and the small community (and distances) in town often mean that things run in fast-forward. We’ve had friends on 3 month contracts (and sometimes less) who we met here years ago that we are still in touch with and consider ourselves to be very close. So it is with the Canadians; they’re only here for a a couple of months but we get to know them very well in that time and we miss them a lot when they’re gone and the process starts again with the next one. On the plus side, we have many stops that we can make on any Canadian touring we do in the future. The reason I mention all of this is two-fold; partly because it gives others an insight into how such close relationships can develop so quickly in small communities and partly because we’ve recently been entertaining our latest batch of lovely Canadians with trips in the local area:
We’ve encouraged all of the visiting doctors to get out and see the Islands (not that they need much encouragement) and we try to help them wherever possible with this as it’s great for us to show off our home and, as I’ve mentioned before, it helps us to be reminded about how lucky we are to live here. As it’s summer and the wildlife is blooming, we took a day trip to take the GPs (and a visiting medical student – another bunch of lovely people we sometimes get here) out to one of my favourite places in the whole of the Falkland Islands: Whale Point. After negotiating some early access to the spot (off-road tracks sometimes don’t open until well into Summer to prevent damage to the land or disturbing the lambing ewes) we were able to take two cars on a day-trip from Stanley, driving about 45 minutes to the turn-off for the 80 minute off-roading trip to get there. We pass an old farmhouse on the way, which has a slight Wild West look to the surroundings:
When we reach Whale Point, our usual trip is divided into three parts. Firstly, we drive down to the beach to admire the whale bones that give the area its name and spend time with the gentoo penguin colony (which is particularly cute this time of year):
Next up, we drive down the long, grassy coastline to see East Falklands’ most accessible elephant seal colony. These animals are always good to see, being largely very docile around people and sharing memorable looks with their giant eyes. It was great to see the colony thriving with so many young pups and adults present this year. Many of them are huge, noisy creatures but there’s also the occasional cutey:
Finally, we round our tour off with a trip to what remains of the St Mary. She’s a shipwreck with an interesting history, summarised well on the website of the Historic Dockyard and Museum in Stanley here so I particularly like to be able to visit the wreck and give some context to it. Luckily, most people by this point are already well aware of how much I like to ramble on about history so this comes as no surprise to them on arrival.
Whale Point is a trip that has so much of the Falklands about it: wide open landscapes, historic farming apparatus, interesting off-road driving, ample wildlife, whale bones and a shipwreck with a unique history. It’s a great summary of so many trips we’ve taken here and we look forward to more Whale Point days out before the summer ends. Sadly we’ve said goodbye to our latest Canadians and we’ll miss them a great deal, they’ve left big boots for their successor to fill. We’re heading into the Christmas season and things get manic around here with a jam-packed social calendar including many meals, the Boxing Day races and other events going on but we’ve just returned from another extended stay on New Island so I’ll devote a significant post to that as soon as the many photos have been sorted and laboriously uploaded. To all of our friends, family and any other random blog followers across the World, Han and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year. We’re not sure what our next year will bring, but we’re excited by the options that the Falkland Islands seem to so often offer us.