The Falkland Islands, an archipelago consisting of nearly 800 islands in total, are about 250 NM from the coast of Argentina. The islands as a political entity, disputed bitterly by nearby Argentina, is a self-governing overseas territory of the UK. This status was enforced as such by the 1982 war Britain fought in defense of an Argentine invasion, which the islands are unfortunately now known for.
This military history is still fresh in the area, and much of the sights presented to the outside visitor are inevitably connected to the war.
The Falkland Islands
The Falklands’ main town is Stanley, on the east coast of East Falkland. The famously flat and barren terrain of the islands is an immediate contrast to eyes familiar with the mountainous fjords and channels of Patagonia. This is the shore opposite Stanley proper.
Stanley is built along the south side of a very well enclosed inlet. The terrain however offers little protection from the South Atlantic weather; the below hills are about all you get.
The weather is very variable and unforgiving. The wind rushes uninterrupted across the treeless and flat land and arrives at full strength even at sea level. Ships have had to endure this sort of business ever since the French, British, and Spanish established colonies in the 18th century.
These photos illustrate the need for a high performance and reliable anchor. Note how the chain (12 mm G40) is almost straight, pointing nearly directly at the Rocna anchor somewhere below. In this flat water, a snubber is unnecessary for Kiwi Roa; were there any significant surge, the chain would be snatching bar taut and some shock absorption would be required.
Welcome to the Falklands. The dock is only safe to use during relatively moderate weather.
Stanley is a quaint English town that would not be out of place 50 years ago in the motherland. Christ Church Cathedral is one of the more dominant buildings.
The weather frequently makes getting ashore to explore the place an exciting prospect.
Ashore, some curious artefacts. This is the “whalebone arch”, a tribute to the old whaling days that drove a lot of Stanley’s development.
This little hut is well out of place here. The distinctive black styling may look familiar to those who have looked over the Antarctica Photo Story. This was the British refuge hut at Portal Point on the Antarctic Peninsula, now gone and moved to its home here at the Stanley museum. The foundations can still be viewed at Portal Point, which was Kiwi Roa’s first visit to the Antarctic continent proper.
The Britannia House Museum maintains an old shop, full of old produce and equipment from days gone by.
Outside, from more recent and darker days, is an Argentine mobile gun captured by British forces.
Other assorted paraphernalia is maintained from antiquity. This anchor is an interesting design, articulated in a manner that is not standard on symmetrical fluke designs like this. It seems likely it could drag in the attitude it is resting in now without the downward fluke finding a bite.
On the topic of anchors, here’s a more effective type: a real Bruce anchor, an implement of the regional oil industry. The genuine Bruce small boat anchor is no longer produced – these ones weigh 6,350 kg. The design doesn’t work very well at small scales, but does the job at this size.