Antarctica Adventure - 2002

F ALKLANDS W AR OF 1982 On this walk, we got to see some of the first good things which resulted from the horrible Falklands War of 1982. The Argentines planted plastic-coated landmines all over the islands, both the main ones and many of the out islands, such as Sea Lion. The good citizens have been able to map the areas where mines are suspected and these have been cordoned off with high fences and BIG warning signs with fines issued for trespass if the miscreant isn’t killed or badly injured. This has inadvertently created “islands” of conservation areas where the tussock grasses and all their normal denizens have been able to return. The sheep, horses, and cattle rarely stray into these areas and no one goes to get them if they do. Meantime, the little oases are thriving and returning part of the Falklands back to their pre- sheep grazing condition. The tussock grasses grow high enough that a short person could become lost to view in waving tops. They also grow very thickly so that the creatures who need them for habitat find shelter and safety there. What a strange example of the law of unintended consequences. B LEAKER I SLAND We returned to the Hanseatic for lunch after which we were supposed to get another landing at Bleaker Island where we were to see the Rockhopper penguins. We had really been looking forward to seeing these wonderfully zany looking birds. They have orange, yellow, and black long feather alongside their eyes and also making wild eyebrows, creating a wonderfully comic appearance. These penguins are the only ones currently endangered and the ones Klemens will be studying this year. Bleaker Island would be our only chance to see them. However, the ocean played one last dirty trick on us and we were unable to make a landing on the island due to big rollers and high winds. That was a big disappointment indeed. Also, the fact that we really didn’t get much time on the Falklands anywhere was also rather sad. Oh well, maybe another time. There was a final recap and briefing where everybody thanked everybody and expressed our pleasure at the trip together. Then we watched on deck as our ship entered the Narrows at Port Stanley and dock at the pier. Geoff organized some buses to take interested folks into

96

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker