Can you have wildness without trees, land mammals or national parks? In the Falklands, it’s all wild. Most visitors who come independently, i.e. not on a cruise, come for the wildlife. Penguins rule!
However, look at this green ball, to the left. It’s a balsam – what?? In Western North Carolina, we know that balsams are fir and spruce trees.
When I looked up “balsam”, the dictionary said”
Aromatic substance exuded by plants
which can describe many plants around the world.
Cape Bougainville, one of the most northern points in East Falkland, also had sea lions, just sunning themselves. Like elk, they can be mean and charge. Better not get too close.
I went to Pebble Island, one of the outer islands, for two nights. “Camp”, they call it. There’s a lodge, an air strip and the rest of the island is a sheep ranch. My last day in the Falklands, I learned that the island is for sale. Not that expensive.
I flew to Pebble Island on a six-passenger plane with FIGAS, Falkland Islands Government Air Service.
Don’t bother looking for a flight schedule because there isn’t any. FIGAS comes up with a schedule the day before, based on passenger input. You also give them your destination and weight when you book the flight, but they weight you when you check in anyway.
Dan Fowler was the pilot on the way out to Pebble Island.
I was so, so lucky that I got to sit up front next to the pilot and we talked while we hopscotched from island to island.
On Pebble Island, I joined a day tour with a group of Americans who were island hopping.
I promised no more talking of the Falkland conflict. However on the day trip, we stopped at several sites which still had downed Argentinian plane pieces.
On the main island – East Falklands – local residents asked the government to remove all remnants of the conflict.
But Pebble Island is private and no one is bothered. It adds to the value of the tour.
We spent most of the tour on the coast, studying the different types of penguins, scrambling over rocks, and ogling the scenery.
The Falkland Islands are so underpopulated that they don’t need national parks to keep their island pristine and protected. No recycling either – what would they do with the recycled stuff?
If you’re coming to Falklands from the Americas, you need to fly out of Santiago, Chile. There’s a flight once a week, so you plan to spend at least a week here.
More details?? If there’s a clamor for knowing more details, comment and I may add another post on how to visit the Falklands independently.
Another dream fulfilled.