|Vessel Name:||L'Eau Commotion|
|Vessel Make/Model:||Northshore 38|
|Hailing Port:||Brisbane Australia|
4:00pm Sunday 22nd April 2018 ( UTC-3 ) Please bear with me on my comments on Stanley and the Falklands as I am by no means an authority and what follows must be taken as the impressions of an occasional visitor. It has been my great good fortune to become well acquainted with Bob, Janet, Jason and Andrez, all Kelpers and all with a slightly different outlook on their surroundings and circumstances but all with the common thought that this is a great place to be; indeed this also applies to the many other people with whom I have had the pleasure of conversing. As I have mentioned before Barbara and I spent six months here 42 years ago and even then there was much talk about the potential for fishing and oil but hanging over all this was the stated threat of an Argentine takeover of the Islands and this was also a time when Britain, subsequent to WW2, had already divested itself of most of its Colonies and Empire. Because of this the Colony was very much dependent for income on practically its sole industry, wool, and the vagaries of that market. The turning point of course was the Argentine invasion in 1982 and the decision of Margaret Thatcher and her Government that this naked aggression should not go unanswered. With great heroism and at substantial loss of life to themselves the Brits overcame a more numerous well dug in foe to free the Islands from that malignant dictatorship and equally as important asserted to the world that The Falklands, now an Overseas Territory of the UK, was open for business. Substantial investment res ulted in the discovery and proving of economic quantities of oil which could proceed to production at any time but the mainstay of the economy is fishing along with tourism and wool. Careful scientific management of the fishery involving trawling for one type of squid, jigging for another type, longlining for Patagonian Toothfish and " Hoovering " for Krill has been of huge benefit to the Islands and its population and yet without any apparent downside that often occurs in such circumstances to either the people or the wildlife. Nearly 60 tourist ships visit the Islands each year carrying up to 3,000 passengers each so providing buses and tour guides for penguin and seal watching as well as cafes and souvenir shops ensure many employment opportunities. The large military bases at Mount Pleasant and Mare Harbour, though largely self contained, have positive flow on effects in the community. There are no natural trees on the Falklands though interestingly enough further South where I holed up for a while in Puerto Espanol on the Island of Tierra del Fuego fixing the rigging substantial forests were located in every fold in the land and the beaches were strewn with bleached driftwood. A few types of trees planted around Stanley and the one settlement I have been to, Port San Carlos, seem to thrive but there are absolutely none in " The Camp ". Again, not being a naturalist or a grazier, the vegetation is very low to the ground and a lot of it seeming wiry or clumped together but nevertheless is capable of supporting the former population of 650,000 sheep together with a much smaller number of cattle and horses. I believe at the present there are now about 500,000 sheep and fewer horses as much of the former work done on horseback is now done with bikes, quad bikes and Land Rovers. There are vast areas of peat bogs which formerly was the main cooking and heating f uel on the Islands, including Stanley, but is now supplanted by electricity for cooking and kerosene for central heating. As such the country can be boggy for travelling and not suitable for cropping so though appearing barren is however productive. In addition to the sheep there are large numbers of the Upland Goose which are very good to eat and almost in pest proportions as they compete with the sheep for available pasture. I still avidly read the comments on my blog which brings me to my former yacht Katherine Ann. Yes she has the identical hull shape to the Mottle 33 though this was an early creation of the Joe Adams design made by laying up C- Flex fibreglass battens on frames and building up the substantial hull thickness with additional glass and resin. The deck cockpit cabin and interior fit out is plywood and varnished wood giving a very attractive traditional appearance and she served me well in the 20,000 odd miles I did in her. I spent about 200 days solo at sea in Katherine Ann and in L'Eau Commotion about 270 days, the longest stretch being 218 days from Southport to Stanley via the Canaries and passing by Cape Horn four times. At various times I also enjoyed the company of Simon ( sadly missed ) Kerrie, Tom and my daughter KT and grandson Constantine between Cairns, Brisbane, Lord Howe Island, Sydney and Hobart for another three or four weeks at sea in both yachts. Yesterday, 21st April, was the actual birthday of Queen Elizabeth the Second, and was celebrated in fine style with a military parade, in front of Stanley House of the British Army,Navy and Air Force and a contingent of the Falkland Islands Defence Force, led by a stirring marching band of The Ghurkas, with the Governor presiding and taking the 21 gun salute from two venerable Hotchkiss Mountain Guns. In a recent referendum asking should they remain an Overseas Territory of the Crown 99.7% of the people who voted said yes. The three naysayers did not make their presence felt at the ceremony.