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Cheers and thanks for your interest. Hayley

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day in the Falklands

As our stay here in Stanley draws to a close there is a bitter sweet feeling that is lingering as we prepare for our departure. Although the event that brought us here was unpleasant, it seems we have gained in numerous ways as we continued to work out what our next step would be.

In this time of need the close net community of Stanley came together and supported us in so many ways and we are grateful for all of their help.

The Penguin News did an article in their weekly newspaper, I was on local radio with generous airtime of 20 minutes as I shared our story and sticky situation. Over the past 3 days I have been bombing about in a jeep belonging to Steve Dent. He invited me to dinner, offered the use of his kayak and handed over a few charts as I started the preparation for the possible Plan B - seakayak circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands.

During a visit at the Royal Air Force - EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) office at Hillside camp picking up maps displaying where the remaining mines are situated, I was introduced to the Senior Instructor - Nik Keast and Chief Clerk - Roy Jameson.  Having heard my story they soon started making inquiries to their superiors and shortly after I was offered the use of one of their sea kayaks.

Over the years the Falkland Islands have gained a reputation of being one of the most challenging places to kayak and sail in the world, due to consistent strong wind, big seas and surf, gigantic kelp forests that prevent you from getting to shore, passages with wickedly strong current and existing mine fields which take away numerous landing sites. Although this all sounds rather daunting, it is also the one place in the world that has the largest nesting Black Browed Albatross colony. Not to mention the colorful array of penguin populations including the Magellanic, Rockhopper, Gentoo and King Penguins. 

Beth-Anne and I took a visit to Gypsy Cove and enjoyed an afternoon in the outskirts of town, where sandy beaches offer a perfect launching pad for penguins heading to sea to feed.

Over the last five days it was important for me to work through the various feelings created by the disappointed of perhaps not going to South Georgia. I was relieved to find the local gym and swimming pool to continue with my physical fitness and it really helped when I started getting stuck in with the process of expedition planning for the Falkland Island expedition.

A few days ago, Northanger crew, myself and Beth-Anne gathered to discuss our options and approach as to how to go about salvaging the 'Save the Albatross Expedition'. We all agreed that we would only go to South Georgia if we had the appropriate person to take Gregs place otherwise the Northanger would continue their role as support vessel if I was to paddle around the Falklands.

Yesterday, Greg attended the local hospital, had his finger cleaned and dressed and was soon on a plane bound for Chile then on to New Zealand. It was sad saying goodbye to this 'bloody nice bloke', he will be extremely missed.
Amidst all of this, a gentleman by the name of Brian Cartwright and his wife Lin came down to the boat having read our search for a crew member in the local paper. Later that day they joined us for a cuppa tea and shared with us his experience in sailing, inboard engine pottering and basically his time spent 'messing about in boats'. Lin expressed her opinion on Brians suitability by saying that he's the type of guy that seems to be able to work through problems calmly and efficiently and is always the one to pitch in and help troubleshoot a problem. His calm, quiet, gentle manner would be a perfect fit into what has become a strong, odd humored, colorful collection of personalities we call 'our crew'.
By tomorrow morning, Keri who has been operating the Northanger with her husband Greg for 20 years and the one ultimately responsible for all a board Northanger, will make the difficult decision whether we take on Brian and make our way to South Georgia or not. Sailing in the Southern Ocean particularly where South Georgia is situated, where tabular icebergs and brash ice from carving glaciers, huge seas and constant wind, and simply the remoteness of the region, offers challenges every minute of every day. South Georgia should not be taken lightly and it takes the right kind of people to travel and adventure there safely. 

Stand by for the announcement Monday morning! Will we be going to South Georgia, or will I be kayaking around the Falkland Islands?



Lee said...

Go Hayley!

Kerry said...

Door number 1 or door number 2? I know you will rejoice at either choice. You are an explorer, an adventurer and brave beyond words. Disappointment can only push you further. God speed, whatever the choice. You are a survivor. Love you girl!


Narama said...

Hey Hayley, Your making EL work look like a walk in the park with these decisions....keep your eye out for MS Expedition tomorrow as there is a couple of Alert Bayites that would love to give you a hug.. either option will be bloody amazing, take care Happy Valentines Stephen

Anonymous said...

test test

steve said...

Go for it Hayley, happy valentines day. x 4 yesterday,I did'nt realise how big them birds were, huge!! and I'm scared shit of birds,I'd even run from a budgie.

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