Stanley

The capital of the Falkland Islands, Stanley is a small town of only about 2500 pop (2016 census). I wondered how isolated and deprived the local people might feel, or if they missed much the ‘advantages’ of the big cities of the rest of the world. I wonder if they get sick of all the tourists tromping through their town when the cruise ships come in?

I think I wouldn’t mind living somewhere like Stanley. It has all I need- boats to work with, friendly people to talk to, museum, shops, restaurants, hospital, pubs, and beautiful scenery to walk around in.

they even have a distillery...
and a brewery

Sadly, I didn’t get much of a chance to hang out and BS with the locals or sample the local delicacies. We were only there for the day and there was so much I wanted to do.

After stopping in to check out the local Seaman’s Center, I followed the paved footpath along the harbor front from the ship into town. There were informational signs along the way to describe the sights and the different birds to see along the way.

I detoured across the road to take a look at the cemetery. A large monument- the Cross of Sacrifice- tops the central stairway flanked with poppy- painted stones in remembrance of those killed in war.

The gates were closed, so I just peeked over the fence and continued walking along the harbor front, appreciating the history lessons I was getting from the signs along the way.

I noticed a couple of sailboats at the boat yard as I approached downtown. I was expecting more traffic, this being pretty much the only port for thousands of miles. But I guess maybe that’s why there wasn’t more?

There used to be a lot more. I really wanted to see the old sailing ships. Stanley Harbor is littered with the wrecks of about 20 ships- 100 more scattered around the Falklands. I had already passed by the wreck of the Afterglow- a 1920’s patrol boat- next to an old chimney used to burn the bones in ‘Hutchies’ slaughterhouse. All that’s left of the Afterglow is the boiler.

wreck of the Afterglow
remains of Hutchies slaughterhouse

Downtown Stanley looked like a what I imagine a small British town from the 1950’s would look like. A two-lane main street with shops, cafes, and government offices clustered in the center. The famous whalebone arch and cathedral are right across the street from the Post Office with the red phone booths outside. The streets are lined with neat little houses and well tended gardens. A couple blocks from the Post Office brings you to the Falkland Islands Museum.

looking past the whalebone arch to the names of ships that have protected the islands
interior of the ‘Southernmost church in the world’

Continue past the museum to find ‘Victory Green’ with a few old cannons and the mizzen mast of the SS Great Britain. The famous six master of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. She was launched in Bristol (UK) in 1843. She was the longest (322′) and most advanced passenger ship in the world from 1845-1854. She was the first iron steamer to cross the Atlantic in 1845 (in 14 days). She had a troubled lifetime, including being sold for salvage once and being sunk for 33 years in Stanley. Eventually, she was raised, restored and is now a museum ship back in Bristol.

For such a small and out of the way town, they do have a lot of war memorials, and they’re all well tended to. The 1982 Liberation Memorial is just past the museum, and after another couple of war memorials (Royal Marines, Battle of the Falklands, and 1914 Sea Battle of the Falklands), you’ll finally find the wreck of the Jhelum.

1982 Liberation Memorial

She was an East Indiaman, built in 1849 in Liverpool. Abandoned in 1870 after suffering much damage in a storm and just barely able to limp into Stanley. I was a little disappointed. There really wasn’t much left of the Jhelum. The weather had turned nasty again, with high winds and cold, so I decided to head back to explore the museum.

wreck of the Jhelum

It was full of all sorts of interesting items explaining Stanley and the Falkland Islands. History, battles, biology, botany, Antarctica, and stories of day to day living were on display. I was especially fascinated by the artifacts of nautical history upstairs (of course). They had photos, paintings and pieces of the ships that called on their port during the heyday of the great sailing ships.

They had ships wheels, and ships bells, figureheads and furniture, chart tables, samples of salvaged cargos (ink), silverware, and so many more interesting items.

ink bottles salvaged from the John R Kelly

I would’ve loved to stay longer, but signed up for the tour over to see the king penguins on the other side of the island, so had to get going. Maybe one day I can return to spend more time.

Maritime Monday for September 12th 2016

Another Monday and it’s time for more cool stuff coming from Monkey Fist by way of gCaptain. As always, it’s an interesting mix of maritime art, history, science and more. It brought back some memories for me this week while reading of the Peking’s planned departure for Hamburg.

I remember clambering around her decks at the South Street Seaport museum when I returned to New York from my time with the Oceanics. I still have some great pictures around here somewhere. I still think man has never made anything as beautiful as a square rigger under full sail.

Inspired by Mariners on 9/11, One Photographer Found a Passion Sunday marks 15 years …

Source: Maritime Monday for September 12th, 2016 – gCaptain

Ed’s Sunday Stills: Circles

Here’s an entry I made for Cee’s Sunday Stills: Circles. I just found out I should have made it for Ed’s Sunday Stills. I took these photos at the Maritime Museum in Houston. A couple of old time navigational instruments. Thank goodness we don’t have to fiddle around with this kind of stuff anymore. 😉

 

Sunday Stills: Circles

Here’s an entry for Cee’s Sunday Stills: Circles. I took these photos at the Maritime Museum in Houston. A couple of old time navigational instruments. Thank goodness we don’t have to fiddle around with this kind of stuff anymore. 😉

 

Around Aberdeen: Day 1

I made it to the rig on Monday. I’m settling in here at my new job. So far everything is going as well as can be expected. I’m learning the ropes here. Nothings really much different on the ship itself or it’s operations.

The big differences are just in the way they do the paperwork. They DO have free fall lifeboats on this vessel. I didn’t notice that from looking it up online. So, I guess there really was a good reason for them to send me to the class last week. 🙂

I did have a good time after all. The course was better than expected. I got a chance to look around Aberdeen after the end of class each day.

The first day was spent just wandering around town. I walked down the main road til I saw something interesting. The first thing I saw was the seamans center (it was closed) and the Fishermans Mission.

Yes, of course it was interesting to me, I’m a seafarer! 😉

I stopped in to chat with the man who was running the Fishermans Mission. We compared notes on the situation in the UK and the US regarding fishermen and fish stocks. Seems things are pretty much the same. Not enough fish, getting harder to catch, much harder to make a living, more and more regulations, less and less people joining the industry.

I found out the seamans center didn’t open til 1800 and planned to stop by on my way back that night.

Further down the road, I found the Maritime Museum. Yes, it looked interesting, but it was closed on Monday. 😦

I hoped to stop by again but would have to hope to get out of school early since they closed at 1700.

I wandered around the downtown area for a while. The city was involved in an art project called “Wild Dolphins“. Different artists were given ‘dolphins’ to decorate as they saw fit. You could pick up a map to follow the trail to find them all. There were quite a few scattered around town.

I found lots of interesting old buildings, pubs, restaurants, shops, the tourist information center, and Castlegate with its Mercat Cross (and Spiderdolphin). 🙂

As I was gathering information at the tourist center, the ‘Queens Baton’ and its entourage came running by. Scotland was hosting the Commonwealth Games for the first time in many years so they were running around this ‘Baton’. Kind of like the Olympic torch.

There was a buzz about it at our school, they were looking forward to the attention of the press. Our instructor even got to launch the free fall lifeboat to carry the torch down the River Dee while the BBC filmed the whole thing.

It seemed to be a major event all over the city, everyone I spoke to mentioned it. They seemed very happy and excited about it.

I walked by Marischal College and a statue of Robert the Bruce (King of the Scots). I turned the corner and discovered the St Nicholas Kirkyard. That was a pretty cool place, a quiet old church surrounded by big old trees and gravestones green with moss. I saw plenty from 1600, 1700, 1800 and even earlier. I always thought people back then died much younger, but many of them lived 60+ years (according to their epitaphs).

I found myself on Belmont Street, an area of cobblestone streets and old buildings, re-purposed to bars and restaurants. It was a pretty lively area to hang out, relax and enjoy the day. I wish had more time to spend out and about town. I would have liked to relax over dinner and drinks in a few of these places. 😉

I was getting tired and my feet were getting sore. Walking for hours in flip flops is not really the most comfortable way to do it, but I wasn’t ready to buy a new wardrobe yet and was told my luggage would arrive by the time I got back to my hotel, soooo… no shopping (yet).

I just made my way back to the hotel, to be ready for another day of exploration in the morning. 🙂