Monday, 4 February 2013

Excursion to San Carlos and Saladero (Feb. 1, Frithjof)

Today we undertook the long drive on the gravel and dirt road from Stanley to San Carlos on the west side of East Falkland. Once more, the events of 1982 accompanied our trip. On the roadside in the hills just west of Stanley – where probably the most intense fighting had occurred -, we came across the wrecks of 2 Argentine helicopters, shot down by British jets. Blue Beach was the site of the first landing of active British forces during the liberation of the islands in May 1982. A small museum and the British war cemetery bear testimony to those events.  From here, the Royal Marines set out for their epic hike or “yomp” towards Stanley, each of them carrying around 50 kg over more than 80 km through pretty rough terrain. There were no roads those days!
The land around Blue Beach / San Carlos is now owned by Hew Gierson, originally from Connel (Argyll, Scotland) – which had been my home in Scotland from 2006-2011 – but now a long-term resident in the Falklands and owner of a large farm with > 5000 sheep. I did not miss the occasion for a brief, but very interesting meeting with him.

The bay literally beneath the cemetery was today’s sampling site – Aldo and I had made some very rewarding collections here exactly 2 years earlier. I spent around an hour snorkelling, again collecting a large number of specimens, and some good underwater photography.
We then drove towards Goose Green, had a much-needed lunch of cheesy chips, burgers and coffee in the legendary Goose Green Galley Café (with lots of historical items relating to 1982 on the walls), before exploring to another potential sampling site at Saladero (we were too late in the day for a more detailed survey, but we intend to come back over the next week, possibly in connection with our trip to the West Island).

A sea lion at Stanley Harbour!

Ado Asensi and Alexandra Mystikou signing the visitors book at the "San Carlos Museum"

A historic place, The Galley Cafe at Goose Green

The Galley Cafe, Goose Green

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