After a 2-day crossing from South Georgia, we arrived to the Falkland Islands. Both islands are British overseas territories. The Falklands, as the islands are called, is an archipelago comprising East Falkland, West Falkland and nearly 800 smaller islands. You may remember or have heard of the Falklands War in 1982, when Argentina unsuccessfully invaded the islands to claim them as their own territory. We observed remnants of the war and a museum in Stanley, the capital town. Though at about the same southern latitude as South Georgia, the Falklands enjoy a more moderate climate as they are outside of the Antarctic Current and only about 300 miles off the Patagonian coast. The Falklands have a population of 3,600 residents, of whom 80% live in Stanley, while the others are sheep herders on the many islands in the archipelago.
As you will see, there is a great deal of bird life here – especially albatross, smaller colonies of penguins, cormorants, etc - but not the elephant and fur seals. We explored Stanley as well as a number of bays and offshore islands during our 3 days here. A highlight was a hike across Steeple Jason Island to observe the largest albatross colony in the world, between 150,000 and 250,000 breeding pairs!
We departed the Falklands for a one day crossing to Ushuaia, the town on the very southern tip of Argentina. We visited once before, in 2009, as the departure point for our expedition to Antarctica. The town has grown substantially since our previous visit. We had a few hours to explore the town and especially to take a cruise of the beautiful bay. I hope you'll love the view of Mt Darwin from aboard the boat in the Beagle Channel as much as we did! A beautiful farewell to a truly magical journey.