The Falkland Islands: An out of the box adventure - Morgan Hill Times: Camille Bounds

The Falkland Islands: An out of the box adventure

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Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 3:13 pm | Updated: 3:56 pm, Tue Jan 28, 2014.

Discover an unspoiled environment with glorious clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and pristine white sand beaches. Whether you are looking for adventure or a relaxing quiet time, the Falkland Islands are a great place to relax and unwind.

The Falkland archipelago is teaming with the wonders of nature. Here you can experience personal encounters with penguins, pinnipeds and the beauty of delicate flowers, along with bird and whale watching, fishing and hiking.

Geography

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The archipelago consists of 4,700 square miles and is made up of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the island is internally self-governed with the United Kingdom responsible for its defense and foreign affairs.

Location

The islands' capital is Stanley, located on East Falkland and has a population of about 3,000. The majority of islanders are of British descent, with a smattering of French, Gibraltarian and Scandinavian immigration.

The islands sit on the boundary of the subarctic and temperate maritime climate zones. Mountain ranges on the major islands reach 2,300 feet.

The official language is English and under the British Nationality Act in 1983, Falkland Islanders are legally British citizens.

An ethnic mix

Controversy exists over the Falklands' original discovery and colonization by Europeans. At various times the islands have had French, British, Spanish and Argentine settlements. The British re-established its rule in 1833, though Argentina maintained its claim to the islands. In 1982, following Argentina's invasion, the two-month long, undeclared Falklands War resulted in the surrender of Argentine forces and the return of the islands to British administration.

Economics

Fishing, tourism and sheep farming - with attention to high quality wool exports - make up the economics of the Falklands. Oil exploration, licensed by the Falkland Islands Government, is a controversial subject due to the maritime challenges with Argentina.

The wonder of the Falklands

The Falkland Islands are the ultimate place for avid bird watchers. There are large, easily accessible colonies of the world's rarest and most enchanting birds: Penguins are friendly charmers, stately king rockhoppers, inquisitive gentoo and coy Magellanic penguins are just a few that are easy to locate and enjoy. More than 70 percent of the world's black-bowed albatross breed around the islands. Whale watching, with dolphins at times accompanying the boats that carry the tourist on his/her adventure, make tours enchanting. Gypsy Cove, Bertha's Beach, Bleaker Island, Bull Point and Cape Dolphin are just a few of the areas available to view these wonders.

Food

There are at least 15 restaurants offering menus with locally produced foods, including home grown vegetables, lamb, beef raised on local farms and locally caught mussels, scallops, local sea trout, Atlantic Rock Cod and squid. Goose pate is also a specialty and the unique flavor of the diddle-dee berry or the teaberry are treats to be tasted. Good wines and vegetarian options are available.

Getting There

Fly from South America or opt for the MOD (Ministry of Defense) air service from the U.K. You can also choose the Falkland Islands in an itinerary on a South American or Antarctic cruise, which allows shore excursions that are unavailable to land based tourists. An international travel agent or a Falkland-based agent can make all arrangements.

Camille Bounds is the travel editor for Sunrise Publications and Inland Empire Business Journal.

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1 comment:

  • rufus_t posted at 3:34 am on Wed, Jan 29, 2014.

    rufus_t Posts: 1

    Might be worth pointing out that it is technically illegal on the Falkland Islands to enter some of the more prominant penguin rookeries and nesting grounds. It's largely a moot point however, because people tend to notice the fences and the landmine warning signs first (after they invaded the Argentines left behind many unmapped and unmarked minefields).
    These have all now been marked, and are being slowly cleared (the technology to find the mines in the soft (when not frozen) ground of the Falkland Islands didn't really exist at the time, and the Falkland Islanders requested that as all of "their" minefields were surrounded by enough fences and warning signs that only an absolute idiot would go into them, that the funds that had been set aside to clear them be used to clear minefields in other countries where people were actually being maimed by landmines.

     
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