Saturday, February 25, 2017

Penguins of Falkland Islands

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Falkland Islands - Stanley

Day 9 we arrived at the capital of the Falklands, Stanley.  The British influence is quite evident from the moment you arrive on shore.   This was another tender port which meant we needed to add extra time to your plans.  

Because of unexpected conditions between where we dropped anchor and the pier, the captain altered the schedule such that we arrived at our destination at 6:45 AM, one hour early.   The tender ride   minutes each way in rough conditions.

Passengers on Princess shore excursions were afforded preferential treatment when filling the tender boats.  Once again, the meeting point on the ship was Wheelhouse Bar in order to show your tour ticket and be issued a sticker which would serve as tickets for the tender.

Times had been adjusted and letters put in cabins.  For whatever reason, we didn't get a letter in our cabin, but we had fortunately decided to meet early.   The revised meeting time (10:30 AM) was 45 minutes earlier than printed on our tickets.

We were fortunate once again as the weather conditions were better than anticipated, which resulted in a 15 minute tender boat ride.

Bluff Cove 
Penguin Rookery 

Once on shore, we had a chance to look at the gift shop, which was right there, and use the restrooms before boarding a mini-van for the ride to the Bluff Cove Farm.  Our driver, Roger, pointed out sites along the way included Boot Hill, where visitors leave their shoes on poles before departing the island, and mind fields, many of which are still to be cleared of mines leftover from the war between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982.

We arrived at the meeting point just as the 4-wheel-drive vehicles arrived with the previous group of passengers.  Each vehicle can take up to four passengers, so Roger divided us into groups and assigned us to drivers.  Our vehicle had the two of us plus a video photographer from the ship.

Bumpy Ride

This excursion is not for everyone.  Shortly after meeting our driver for the ride to the rookery, we went off road.  The terrain was quite rough, so the tour is not recommended for anyone with neck or back problems or pregnant.  It took about 20 minutes to arrive at the rookery.

Penguin Viewing Take Two

My quest to see penguins in their natural habitat was satisfied once again.  This day we saw King and Gentoo Penguins.  There were three areas, which were marked off with white flags, to give the penguins privacy.  There were primarily Gentoo Penguins but there were also several King Penguins.  
A couple days earlier some visitors were fortunate enough to witness the birth of a baby King Penguin.  Kyli, one of the ship's videographers, captured the baby and mother on video during our trip and plans to include it in the Reflections video.

Have Your Cake & Eat it Too

Not only do you get to stroll among the penguins at Bluff Cove, you also get complimentary cakes and hot beverages in the Sea Cabbage Cafe by the sea.There's a small museum and gift shop which is where the drivers pickup for the return off-road journey.

Overall this excursion was enjoyable.  If you are looking for quantity of penguins, this isn't the excursion to pick, as the best you can expect is around 1000 pairs of penguins. We actually suggest booking at least two penguin excursions in case one gets cancelled so you won't be disappointed.

Do you like Penguins?

We highly recommend adding a Southern South America cruise to your bucket list.  The season is short (January - March) so you'll probably need to plan it for next year at the earliest. I don't like to do much promotion in our blog, but Princess Cruises has an Anniversary Sale through the end of February which includes itineraries in South America.  You might consider booking now to take advantage of the extra on board spending money.


Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

Related Album:

Bluff Cove Rookery

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Where have you explored? 

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