I’m using the peace of a lazy Australia Day National Holiday as an opportunity to find ways to ‘package’ some of the great memories of the recent South America Cruise. And, it’s too hot to go outside. Earlier this morning, fog rolled in to the harbour from the sea and I couldn’t even see Rushcutter’s Bay below me.
Today is also the first anniversary of my moving from Windows to an Apple Mac environment. Now, using the ‘Slideshow’ software in Apple’s Aperture 3, I have cobbled together photos and short video footage of our visit ashore to see the penguins at Bluff Cove in the Falkland Islands.
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Grey skies, chilly winds and whitecaps greet our arrival off Port Stanley in the early morning. “Dress like an onion” we’ve been told and I have to go search for my base layer, thermals, fleeces, waterproof and scarf. And I can’t find them (at first).
First time on the ship’s tender and it’s not as bad as I feared. Then a short bus ride to meet Charlie, a fourth generation Falkland Islander with his sturdy 4WD. God, he surely needs it with the off-road driving over soft, rutted and furrowed peat bog to get to the Bluff Cove Farm at the sea to see the penguins.
The whole experience reminds me a little of when I went in a motorboat to Handa island off the west coast of Scotland in 1998 with David Brentin. After a beach landing and walking for six kms in drizzle we lay quietly on the wet ground to see little Disneyesque, orange beaked and orange footed puffins nesting.
After having our ‘fill’ of the cute little penguins here, we take up the invitation of the locals to walk across the grassy hill towards the sea and the Sea Cabbage Café. An amazing array of home-made cakes and eats with cups of tea or hot chocolate are laid out on plates and served by old ladies with serious faces in aprons.
Charlie’s waiting to take us back to the wharf. He’s a lovely piece of work, “not very good with the readin’ and writin’, or computer stuff, but I know my animals’, he says pointing out the ‘Belted Galloway’, cattle from the Hebrides in Scotland chewing on the grass. It’s Christmas Day tomorrow. He tells us he’s killed the 3 month-old lamb and they’ll bake it and serve up with mint sauce, and the first of the new potato crop and carrots.
The wind has dropped. I hope Charlie’s wife was wrong when she told us that they’re expecting a Force 9 gale tonight and she’s glad she’s not on our boat!