Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The Falkland Islands lie exposed in the Southern Atlantic Ocean approximately 500 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of Argentina. They remain British in territorial terms, population, and character although Argentina's long-standing claim to the islands led to a brief war between the two countries in 1982 for which the islands are probably best known.

There are two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, plus numerous smaller ones. The terrain is mostly hilly, becoming mountainous in just a few isolated places with areas of exposed rock. The highest peaks are snow-capped for large parts of the year with snow-cover descending to lower hills during the winter.

Because of the harsh climate there are no trees and the natural vegetation is mainly grassland. This supports over a million sheep, which produce the wool that was until recently the Falklands main export, now overtaken by the sale of fishing licences for territorial waters.

The islands are sparsely populated with less than 3000 inhabitants and just a few isolated but hospitable villages. However, they are home to an amazing variety of wildlife, including large penguin and seal colonies.

The climate is classified as sub-polar because in no month does the average temperature rise above 10°C (50°F). Rain falls throughout the year, becoming more frequent during the summer when cloud cover is at its maximum.

September and October sees the least amount of rain, and February and March the most sunshine. Temperatures during the winter are cold but generally only fall below freezing overnight. However in summer it never becomes particularly warm usually only rising to 15°C (59°F) in the warmest months.

Diary from South America

Our South America trip begins here -- watch this Blog for frequent posting as we begin the journey in Buenes Aires and travel around the Horn, through the Straits of Megallan, and back north to Valpariso, Chile. ... over 6,000 miles from home. Here's a map of the southern tip, the path taken by early explorers of 16th century. I invite your comments or questions, with a slight delay, as the administrator (me) needs to clear each one to avoid the spam. I will include both photos and some video along the way. Enjoy!