Wednesday, January 13, 2016

(No) Time For Travel

Gentoo penguins

Rockhopper penguin
Commerson's dolphins
So, we had this magical month in which we did nothing much more than sail around the Falkland Islands.

Before we set out on this endless-seeming trip of ours, when I'd talk to friends who had dipped into the world of long-term travel, this is what sounded so alluring to me: the idea of time to spend in this way.  Big chunks of it, applied to the pursuit of quixotic goals.

Tussac grass is a natural setting for childhood delight

The anchorages are kelpy!
Now that we're back in Stanley, that idyllic month seems very far away indeed.  The carefree month just gone, and the carefree month that we hope is coming up, are broken up by a period of mad boat prep and science work for me.

Alisa and I finished replacing a particularly difficult window at midnight last night, and then fell asleep at the saloon table, leaning on each other's shoulders.  We've replaced six shrouds on the boat, and gone out to tune the new rigging Falklands-style - beating up Stanley harbor with two reefs in the main and a scrap of jib.  I'm making new deadlights for windows that we aren't going to replace, and there's still the staysail forestay to replace if we get to it.  And the wind vane needs some attention.   And, no matter how much of these jobs I've gotten finished by the end of this week, I'm getting on a plane on Saturday to fly up to Alaska for a stint of in-person science work.

In the midst of all this, there is little time for travel.  We're tending our own various gardens for now, and not putting ourselves forward so much in Stanley.

Westpoint Island
Rockhopper penguin

Black-browed albatross
Preening rockhoppers
Like a turkey through the corn
Meanwhile, as you can see from these images, one of the delights of our time here has been the wildlife.  The albatross and various penguins are about as unconcerned with people as you could wish.  It's easy to find settings where it's just our family sitting next to a seabird colony, watching the show.  The boys have been in heaven.

And a magellanic penguin for variety.  They're burrow nesters. 
All of the land-based shots here were taken at Westpoint and Carcass Islands, where we were very warmly received by either the caretakers or owner.  We were free to just wander around and entertain ourselves on both islands - very much a travel experience, as opposed to the regimented experiences of tourism.

And Carcass offered us another chance to get up close with some elephant seals.  Wonderfully argumentative creatures, those.

OK.  I gotta go cut some more deadlights.


  1. Amazing pictures, as usual. You are on my bucket list. Well, not you. But your lifestyle :) Love, Linda

  2. Mike,
    You will not believe this. My husband and I saw you getting off a plane in the Punta Arenas airport today (recognized you from photos on here). The real kicker is, I kid you not, my husband was reading your book at the exact time I saw you walking by. Hope you have a great trip to Alaska!

    1. Ha, that's great! Wish I had seen your husband in the act of reading! ML

  3. Mike you are lucky the Falklands are so remote or you might have had a line of men all trying to woo Alisa away from you while you are in Alaska!! I know my wife goes all weak kneed when she sees a big catamaran.

    1. we are so safe from catamarans in the Falklands. Just other variously scabby metal yachts like us!

    2. We've been away from your blog for too long and it's a blast to come back to you and find "but wait, there's more...." Your boys are spoilt rotten, you realise, don't you? Totally ruined for life as usual. Lucky kids. Great bird shots, as ever.