Penguins, The Falklands

By: Dwain Crum

From Uruguay my cruise ship, the Crown Princess, sailed to the Falklands.  The Falklands are an archipelago about 300 miles off the coast of South America.  They consist of the island of East Falkland the island of West Falklands and many smaller islands.  In today’s world there really is only one reason to visit the Falklands and that is to see the penguins that live there.  Sure there is the capital of Stanley, but the whole population of the Falklands is just 2,932 people (as of 2012).  It’s all about the penguins.
A few people on the Crown Princess wanted to visit the pubs in Stanley but over 90% wanted to see the penguins.  It’s not easy to see them.  First, I was told that only about half of the cruise ships that go to the Falklands can actually land there (because of the rough sea).  In fact my ship would not have been able to land had we arrived the day before.  Even then, you have to be tendered in as the cruise ships are too big to dock.  Then you have to travel by Land rover (or another 4 wheel drive vehicle) across terrain (road is too glorious of a word to use) to reach the areas where the penguins reside.
In my case, I was taken to a place called Kidney Cove.  At Kidney Cove I saw more penguins than I could ever have imagined and felt that that all the efforts to get there were well worth it.  The penguins in the Falklands (along with Carnival in Rio) was one of the two main highlights of this trip.  I would say that the penguins, while not really friendly, were indifferent to our presence.  They are used to having people around and you are not allowed to enter their area which is marked off by a rope on the ground.  Of all the penguins I saw, only one left that area and approached a photographer and I believe that the only reason he did that was because he saw his own reflection in the camera.
I cannot end this article without mentioning the fact that Argentina and Britain went to war over the Falklands (which are called Islas Malvinas in Spanish) in 1982.  Argentina still claims them even though they lost the war and the British have been there since 1833.  Sadly, I fear more conflict looms ahead given the stances of the governments involved and the passions of the people themselves.  I believe that the old saying that applies in this instance is that “Sometimes wanting something is better than having it.”  In the case of the Falklands/Malvinas the Argentines don’t realize this and while the Brits know it, they won’t admit it because of the 1982 war.  Maybe the world would be better if it was ruled by penguins.

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