Life on Mars....
Tue 4 Jan 2011 20:46
Life on Mars.......
I have sat down and started this blog several times and cried off each time, “I’ll leave it till later”. Because strangely it’s not an easy one. I can’t just give you the ‘we all had a great time and look at the fabulous beaches’ speech, because it not like that. I can’t pretend it’s been easy, because it hasn’t. But on the other hand I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. This place, the way of life, the people and the experiences we’ve had are truly ‘out of this world’, as we know it. And I can tell you that the Falkland Islands, the way of life, and it’s people were absolutely worth defending back in 1982. Maggie, whatever her motivations, was one hundred percent right.
We took the opportunity of driving around the island and visiting some of the war graves, British and Argentinean, and also some of the famous spots, landing beaches etc,. It was very moving, and caused more than a moments reflection. It was a strange sensation for someone from a very fortunate generation that has never had conscription and been forced to fight a war, how personal it all felt when I looked at the graves and the landing sites. I guess it’s the power of news television that I felt I knew every location intimately, and the people involved both military and civil.
Argentinean war graves just outside Goose Green. The shock was that upwards of forty percent of the graves were marked “Solo Conocido Por Dios”, which I believe translates to “Known only to God”. It would appear that despite the co-operation of the Argentineans a large proportion of the Argentinean dead have still not been identified.
The highlight of the British Cemetery in a beautiful setting in San Carlos bay was, of course, the grave of Colonel H. Jones, VC, OBE of the Paras.
The landscape on the Falklands is not only dramatic in the extreme, but still littered with relics from the war 28 years ago, plus large areas around Stanley that are still un-cleared minefields.
It wasn’t all about the war however, the Islands are very beautiful and and we enjoyed just driving around looking at the dramatic views and Penguins...........
Boxing Day was a difficult day for us, everything had been going so well. But tragically Tamsin’s Father was taken ill and died quite suddenly, and Chris heard that his younger sister had been taken into intensive care with suspected swine flu. Suddenly all did not look so good, naturally Tamsin and David decided that they would have to fly back to the UK to be with family for the funeral, and I was worried about whether Chris was OK. This left us a little short on crew .
Fortunately, after a couple of tense days, Chris’s sister improved. And he felt a lot happier, and a quick word with Buzz, Al Keck, my sailing partner in E’Tu and after kind permission was granted by Kirsty, his wife, and Jasper, their 5 month old baby, Buzz leapt on a military flighty and has joined us. So were back on stream.
Brother Mike has joined us now, and our Ice Guide Richard Haworth has arrived.
We now plan to leave tomorrow morning and when we leave will not be in able to re-supply or spend any money at all for at least a month. So the last few days have been frantic, trying to make sure we have everything we might need to survive a month in Antarctica. The shopping list was endless, 100 litres of milk, 36 tins of Baked Beans, 12 dozen eggs, ...... The lists ran on, and on, and on...... Mike and I have been cooking , cooking, cooking. We have prepared 17 meals for 5, in the freezer, which I hope doesn't go down.
I would love to give you a full list but unfortunately I am running out of time, I have a load of stuff to do before bed tonight, not the least call Beans. So I am going to have to cut the blog short, which may actually be a relief to you. :-)
I will try and keep you advised as we go along, but comms will be difficult as I am sure you appreciate.
Luv to all
Steve and the crew
Stanley harbour, 4th Jan 2011