The Great South American Journey: Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands has always be intriguing. It came into focus first in 1982 with the war between Argentina and the UK. As recently as a few years back, Top Gear brought it back into focus. Jeremy Clarkson had a number plate FLK1982 which the Argentinians took to be a mockery. The Top Gear team was thrown out of Argentina. Locally the islands are known as Islas Malvinas. When I boarded G expedition heading towards Falkland Islands, I was intrigued by the politics of the islands. What I saw and came back was the wildlife, the scenic beauty and ofcourse the politics. I am glad it was more than just politics. It was another slice of natural beauty.

My first introduction to the natural beauty was the relationship between the albatross and the rock hopper penguins. They were creating a massive colony of birds and penguins. There are multiple species of penguins here on Falkland Islands: Gentoo, Rockhopper, King etc. The albatross are beautiful. I am not very familiar with birds: Generic names such as Eagles, Albatross are the most I know. It was, therefore, an experience to meet so many bird watchers on the ship whose knowledge and passion for birds was impressive. We saw a couple of Cara Caras (hawk like birds) who were eyeing penguin eggs and babies for food. The cycle of life.

We also spent sometime with the caretakers of the islands where we were served tea and pastries (so British). Our introduction to Falkland Islands was a good start. We then went to Stanley, the capital and the most inhabited. Stanley is very British. Union flags, British pubs, Queen on the currency etc make it more British than Argentinian. I wont comment on the politics as I don’t have sufficient historical knowledge.

Falkland Islands can be skipped. There is nothing special there that is unique to the island (in the grander scheme of travel choices). You should go there only if you have time and money. However if you want to go to South Georgia (and I would highly recommend) then Falkland Islands is a must enroute. If you want to skip South Georgia and head straight to Antarctica then you can skip Falkland Islands.

Some pictures from the islands:

 

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