Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday (2/15/11) – Almost To the Falklands

Last evening they did one of their big shows in the main theater.  It was called iBroadway and basically was a whole bunch of broadway hit songs.  The show was absolutely amazing with excellent singing and dancing.
In the morning we woke to sunny skies and warm temperatures – about 70 degrees, which actually was a surprise.  According to the ship’s staff it was supposed to turn cold today.  We will eventually sail about 1000 miles from Buenos Aires to the Falklands.
It was a lazy day.  The lecturers have been excellent.  Today there were lectures on Falkland Islands, Puerto Madryn and on navigation. 
We arrive in the Falklands in the morning.  It sounds like quite the place with about 2400 people and two ships bringing in 4000+ passengers.  Virtually every vehicle in the Falklands will be in use taking the tourists around the island.  The Falklands is a set of 39 islands.  The two biggest are West Falkland and East Falkland.  Port Stanley is where we anchor, a booming metropolis of about 85% of the total “islands” population. Other towns in the Falklands boast a population of 16 people or less.  They are an English colony. 
In the talk on the Falklands, we learned that Great Britain had occupied it since the 1800’s.  In 1982 when the Argentines attempted to take it over, Britain was actually thinking of getting rid of the colony because it was so far away.  But as we all know, you don’t mess with Margaret Thatcher, so Britain responded and it was over in 45 days.  They fought for and won the territory that they really wanted to get rid of.  Now they have around 1000 soldiers stationed n the island (then it was just a handful).
One interesting thing is that this could very well be the last Antarctic cruise that is ever done on big cruise ships.  Antarctica is operated under a treaty.  There is no ownership of the continent or any area on the continent.  As a part of the treaty they are now banning the burning of heavy fuel, which is what these ships burn.  You can go down there in ships that burn light fuel, however it is much more costly.  For example, in the 2012 schedule on Celebrity, there are no trips to Antarctica.  It is possible to get there on small explorer ships, but they are very costly.

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