Thursday, March 7, 2019

Desire the Right

In 1596 a British Sailor named John Davis aboard the Desire spotted for the first time the Falkland Islands.  It was nearly 80 years later when another Brit, a man named John Strong actually landed on the island, and curiously the first settlement on the island was by a French Explorer, a man named Bougainville in 1765.  British troops in 1832 and 1833 removed an Argentine occupation and began a 185 year protest by the Argentines as to the rightful ownership of the islands, which remain British, despite a 1982 war.
       The British Overseas territory now has the motto "Desire the Right" in honor of that first ship firmly stated on their flag which also has the Union Jack and a sheep on it.  The are 3400 residents and many tens of thousands of sheep that make the island home.
       With this in mind, three days ago, our expedition mad four stops on the islands, on the islands of New Island, West Falkland, and Saunders island, all remote places.  We met the owner of Dunbar Farm, a French woman named Mary Paul who came to the southern ocean to live on a sail boat and ended up buying a 12,000 acre sheep farm, that features 4500 sheep, 6 dogs, and thousands of penguins.  The owner is a relative of a crew member on the ship.
She described her ordeal of living here and the local people.  I also had a nice chat with David, the owner of Saunders island, on the beach.  We talked about the island and their experiences during the war, which never really came to their side of the islands, although there was a plan by the Argentines to round up and kill all of them, they were ready to at least try to give themselves a sporting chance with the firearms they had at that farms, but suspected they'd end up being bombed.  Luckily that never happened.  They feel the dispute is far from over.

My wife was looking at the "gift shop' the back of a Defender FWD vehicle and this is the last picture picture of her carbon fiber walking stick, she left it leaning against the back of the Land Rover 

 We did buy a nice hat.  We were more worried about the wet landing to get back to the ship, in which the waves went over our boots, oh well, at least we got some use out of it
 They even rent out this little shack.  It is currently rented to four Germans for the week, Oddly, it is booked until 2023.  I guess this is a destination.  It looks a bit bleak for a destination vacation.  Maybe the inside is nicer.

The weather was true Falklands, rain, sun, and wind up to 40 mph, it changed every hour on the hour.   It was a place that before this, was only on the map.  This wasn't a bucket list item, but seeing penguins were.  We saw five species of Penguins.
gentoo penguin

king penguin

macaroni penguin

Magellanic penguin

Southern rockhopper penguin

They were all cool birds and we saw their breeding areas, the gentoo chicks were the most active walking up to you and giving you a weird look or they were heading off into the sea

There were some other cool birds around
Black chinned siskin, this was the only one seen

blackish cinclodes (tussuckbird)

Blackish oystercatcher

brown skua

Dark faced ground tyrant which I also saw on the ship, as 3 flew out and cruised around for a couple of days

falkland steamer duck, it was cool to see them "steam", as they are flightless and kick up water like steam when they are chasing each other

Magellanic oystercatcher

Striated caracara

sadly, we did not go to anyplace that had the endemic Cobb's wren, which is either a species or a subspecies of House wren, but as I said, one cannot get them all and we did pretty good, I'm now at 141 lifer additions, but the question is, how can I drink that much beer?  This is a French  boat and they mostly have wine but all in all.  It was a good visit, save for the walking stick.  Some different views with us in them

Now it is off to South Georgia, cruising into the high seas of the Roaring 40s,  
I'll be on point watching for cool seabirds and trying to stay warm exposed on the deck to the cold winds of the south Atlantic.  I'll be desiring my own right----identifying the right Giant petrel, are they northern or southern, and the right and correct albatross, Royals or wandering, or the right prion, only God can identify prions and as I said, below 50 there is no God, so I guess even He doesn't know



  1. Looks and sounds awesome. French wine ain't all that bad!!, but it would be nice to have a good old Hefewizen, Helles,, or Pilsner. Have fun

  2. The real dispute between Argentina and Great Britain is about oil. The region between the Falklands (Las Malvinas) and the Magellan Straits is one of the richest, untapped known oil reserves in the world. It is untapped because there is no agreement as to who owns it and no oil company will spend a dollar to drill until that is settled.

    1. a fight over oil....who'd have thunk about it?


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