We anchored in Stanley and we were very far out, we could only see the very tops of a few roofs. It appeared that there is an inner harbor with a very small opening, but we stayed and anchored in the outer harbor. Except for the tops of several buildings from Stanley that we could see, there was nothing, no buildings, roads, trees or anything but rocks and scrub and bogs. We found out that the inner harbor is only 7 meters deep and the NCL Sun draws 8 meters. The wind was very strong and they had to use the side thrusters constantly to keep the ship from drifting. We could hear the engines and see the mud that was disturbed.
Our tour left from the lounge at 9:30. We went to the tenders and then to shore. The jetty is very small and we saw three vans marked Murrells Cove so we got in and waited for the rest of the passengers. A short ride through Stanley and then a dirt road that led to the Murrell Farm. I asked the driver and he said that the Murrell's have a small farm, they only have about 3,000 sheep. When we arrived at the farm, it was very small. I don't know if the land owner lives where we changed vehicles, but the house was very small. There were six 4 x 4 vehicles waiting so each vehicle took 4 passengers. I knew that this was to be an off-road trip, but in most places there was not even a dirt track. Only where we went through a gate were there ruts. This area is composed of rocky out croppings and the rest of the area is very boggy with some low growing shrubs, but mostly mosses and grass and lots of ferns, but no trees on the entire Island. The stark landscape remined me of Iceland. Where you could see the ground, it seemed very fertile, but it is all peat and the climate does not provide for a good growing season. There are no trees growing naturally on the island.
After about 1.5 hours, we finally arrived at the top of a large cliff that rose about 50 feet from the ocean. There on the top of the cliff was a group of about 300 penguins. Rockhopper Penguins get their name from the fact that they always nest far from the sea, at the top of a rocky cliff that they climb twice a day by hopping from rock to rock. They are not at all afraid of us. They had laid a rope down to show you how close you could go. There was one penguin standing about a foot from the rope. I got down on my knees to take photos and he could not have cared less, just stood there and posed. It was very windy and the longer we were there, the colder it got, we even got a few minutes of rain.
The Rockhoppers group their young in crèches or nurseries of 20 to 40 chicks with several adults standing guard. The other adults climb down the cliff and spend the day at sea fishing. When they return, they have to climb the cliff again and then can feed their young by regurgitating the fish into the beaks of the young. The penguins are very noisy, they squawk and poke the youngsters to get them to do what they want. I took many photos, but when the Landrovers returned, we
were ready to start back. The only structure was a small shed where they had coffee and were selling snacks and a port-a-potty. We could not see any other signs of civilization in any direction. Our driver on the trip back was a woman who was a 5th generation Falkland Islander. It was interesting to talk to her. When asked she said that she was there during the invasion and occupation. I wanted to ask her about her experiences, but hesitated and she did not volunteer anything. She took us the entire way back to town. It was a very interesting experience.
Once in town, we walked around for awhile and shopped a little. There are only a few stores and the only thing I bought was some diet coke to take on the ship. Ed went back on an earlier tender because I wanted to walk some more. I walked into an old English pub and took a look then walked up the hill for a better view. The line for the tender was quite long. While I was waiting I saw several sea lions just swimming past the dock. The ride back to the dock was much rougher that earlier. We made it fine, but the wind was really blowing. Later we found out that the seas were so high that the Captain could have cancelled the port. I was so glad he did not, I would have been extremely upset to miss this port.
Check out this short video.....