In early April, the beginning of the austral autumn, we arrived in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. It's a long way from nowhere, the landscape was bleak and we wondered why on earth anyone wants to live here.
The mizzen mast of the SS Great Britain, the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, rests on its cradle on the water front. The houses look like prefabs that were not built to last. In contrast, the fierce patriotism of their inhabitants is evident by the large number of national flags, both inside and out. The Falkland's flag is adorned with a sheep - inside the conservatory of one little house was adorned by Welsh dragons.
The Union Jack was ubiquitous, perhaps especially because there was about to be a referendum on whether or not the Falklands should stay British (apparently all but three people voted in favour). An ominous looking harpoon gun guarded the entrance to the main police station.
Traditional British icons were everywhere, like the old telephone kiosks and post box outside the Post Office. The church tower lay on the ground in front of the wooden church, a rather radical approach to renovation.
We headed about a hundred miles south of the Falkland Islands (that's approximately 180 kilometres south of Las Malvinas). The autumn weather was miserably cold, windy and swelly. Don't be fooled by the blue sky in the photo below - sunshine was rare - usually it was gloomy and grey, with occasional white-outs from horizontal snow. The headphones were not just for listening for whale sounds, they kept our ears warm, too!
Our main entertainment was bird watching. Among the spectacular seabirds, wandering and black-browed albatross were almost continuously in view. It's difficult to convey an impression of the size of these birds in photos, but the wandering albatross is especially huge!
Giant petrels look rather mean - and they probably are too! The mermaids here seem to have auburn hair, but that's all we've seen of them so far…
For more photos of the marine wildlife we encountered, take a look here.