Where the Albatross Flies


In early April, the beginning of the austral autumn, we arrived in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. It's a long way from nowhere, the landscape was bleak and we wondered why on earth anyone wants to live here. 

MAR 7068   MM7 6147

The mizzen mast of the SS Great Britain, the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic, rests on its cradle on the water front. The houses look like prefabs that were not built to last. In contrast, the fierce patriotism of their inhabitants is evident by the large number of national flags, both inside and out. The Falkland's flag is adorned with a sheep - inside the conservatory of one little house was adorned by Welsh dragons.

MAR 7083   MAR 7091

The Union Jack was ubiquitous, perhaps especially because there was about to be a referendum on whether or not the Falklands should stay British (apparently all but three people voted in favour). An ominous looking harpoon gun guarded the entrance to the main police station.

MAR 7085   MAR 7078

Traditional British icons were everywhere, like the old telephone kiosks and post box outside the Post Office. The church tower lay on the ground in front of the wooden church, a rather radical approach to renovation.

MAR 7088   MAR 7086

We headed about a hundred miles south of the Falkland Islands (that's approximately 180 kilometres south of Las Malvinas). The autumn weather was miserably cold, windy and swelly. Don't be fooled by the blue sky in the photo below - sunshine was rare - usually it was gloomy and grey, with occasional white-outs from horizontal snow. The headphones were not just for listening for whale sounds, they kept our ears warm, too!

MM7 5197   MM7 5217

Our main entertainment was bird watching. Among the spectacular seabirds, wandering and black-browed albatross were almost continuously in view. It's difficult to convey an impression of the size of these birds in photos, but the wandering albatross is especially huge!

MM7 4791

MM7 4872-cropped   MM7 4624

Giant petrels look rather mean - and they probably are too! The mermaids here seem to have auburn hair, but that's all we've seen of them so far… 

MM7 4948   MM7 5458

For more photos of the marine wildlife we encountered, take a look here.

 All photos and content © Maren Reichelt & Mick Baines