sunshine in Port Stanley
So, here I find myself with a mild sunburn. Sitting, out of the sun now, life is good. Cold, iced water and the promise of more to come in a few days, quite literally when I jump aboard the Sil, a Spanish fishing boat to sail to South Georgia. The boat is carrying out a sample survey for the Falklands' Government, so I will be working on the fish survey - factory setting, lots of tooth fish, smelly, cold, wobbly - should be quite an adventure. We sail first out to Shag rocks, which takes a couple of days probably, then will have a couple of days fishing before heading onto Grytviken where the South Georgia government has its fishing research station operated by BAS. I'll be there for a few weeks before coming back to Stanley at the end of February.
Stanley's gardens are brimming with fruit and veg - it has been a dry and warm summer here. Growing fruit and veg here has seen a resurgence since the prices of imported and local market garden food became more or less unaffordable for the island's population. Polytunnels have cropped up everywhere - a new thing to me, but common here now and, out of the wind even apricots are possible. The winter here is not as cold as you might think - the issue is wind. Desiccating and battering - it causes lots of damage. Still, much is possible and it heartwarming to see people taking up horticulture here once again. The Argentinean blockade of Falkland flagged vessels has also acted as a stimulus to cause local people here to grow 'import substitutions' - in the hope that they can be more self sufficient in the future. The government seems to be doing what it can to stimulate the uptake of new growing methods, so things are looking up to some extent.
The news is full of UK/Argentina strife at the moment, so there is something of a bunker mentality, added to by the local radio station which seems to report every last word that comes from the continent down here. It's understandable in a way that there is concern here after what happened thirty years ago. I doubt that, even in a thousand years, Argentina would ever get the islanders to change their minds about sovereignty, but being hostile will mean that it will take even longer. Why not just be nice - that would help!
Anyway, off to interview a chef about local produce - and then flying to Bleaker island tomorrow morning to see a man about a sheep...more later! Love to all at home, Gerard