We discovered from the beginning, that the Falklands islands has a magical and welcoming allure about it, and from landing into Port Stanley to checking into our lovely Malvina Hotel, I felt an odd sense of familiarity about the place. As I explained to my friends and family when describing the Falklands, it felt like the England I knew when I was growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. Locals seem to have a strong sense of community spirit among them, neighbours appeared to be real friends, and visitors are treated with a kind, hospitable, and trusting manner. For example; we arrived on a Friday night, and found the island does not have cashpoints (ATMs)!!! As we have been traveling for 8 nearly weeks, we have a varied collection of different currencies. We thought that although we had some sterling (about 100 quid) between us, we expected to be able to draw more cash out of “the hole in the wall” for meals, sightseeing, and, sundries, etc. In hearing the news about the Falklands having no ATMs, I was horrified and a bit shocked. But people reassured me that most places accepted credit cards and for those who wanted cash, we could go to the bank that accepts UK cheques! This was good, but it was Friday, and the bank did not open until Monday and much to my surprise people who preferred cash said "no worrying about paying by credit card, it’s OK pay us after you have had time to go to the bank!!!! So we had dinner, hired a car, booked a tour, brought gifts and did IOU’s, no one seemed concerned about us not paying them!

We found when talking to people they seemed to show a genuine interested in both getting to know us, and about our cause. Some people went out of their way to help us, or introduce us to someone they knew who may be able to help get our organ donor awareness drive some publicity. The kind staff at our hotel alerted the local paper the Penguin News about our journey and we were able to do an interview with a lovely man called John Fowler, and our friend Andrew contacted the local TV station who also kindly came to interview us.

After spending our first night feasting on a lovely local lamb dish (a sheep is on the Falklands coat of arms) and sleeping like logs. Andrew had organized for his friend James from FIGAS to lend us a car. We had great fun driving around and hiking across the countryside. The island was amazing, with its impressive mountains and hills and romantic windswept beaches. Parts of it looked like the Cornish countryside, and some areas reminded me of remote isles in Scotland. Chris said he also saw similarities to the Yorkshire Dales, in which I must agree.

The next few days was spent sightseeing the island, either with just myself and Chris, or in the company of the island’s most knowledgeable tour guide Tony Smith and his lovely daughter Aline. We would drive and hike up hills exploring the island and learning about the history. We also got to be driven in a super comfortable 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser banging through "camp" with Nobby Clarke. He took us to the far North end of the eastern part of the island, Volunteer Point. This is a unique place in the world where you can observe nature up close and personal. We was able to spend approximately three hours with an large colony of King Penguins, who live alongside colonies of Gentoo and Magellanic's with the total number being around 1-2000. Because this was the summer, the season when many babies have been born, the young “toddler” penguins come from their nursery areas and are playful and overly curious of our presence. If we sat still and waited, after a while they would walk up to us peck our jackets or shoes and sit next to us. It was truly an amazing experience!!

Will Blackwood
1/24/2013 12:30:42 pm

My wife and I have just got back from the Falklands. My uncle lived and died there. The reason I have landed on your site is that I just googled Nobby Clarke. He took us to volunteer point. What a gentleman. And we stayed at the Malvina House, which has had a complete refurb since you were there. You are right; there is something about the Islands which is strange, yet familiar. Both Rachel and myself are already registered organ donors so no new converts here, sorry. Rachel has MS, so we are used to that sense of keep on keeping on (we capsized her chair twice at Gypsy Cove and Nobby brought a step to help her into the land cruiser). A wee drop of inspiration every now and then is not a bad thing, and you provided my shot for the day. Thank You.


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