After having visited a handful of the more notable spots in East, Europa races against the strongest blows to come.
Motor sailing and making the fastest progress we can, we spent last afternoon until about 01:00 AM, when we made it to Stanley jetty, luckily before the strong Northerlies would have made for a more complicated mooring.
Yesterday’s last hours of the day were spent gradually taking sails down, furling them, and preparing decks, mooring ropes and fenders for going alongside.
So this morning we woke up moored just in front of the town centre, under grey rainy skies and strong wind gusts often just over the 30kn.
In the bay, close by holding her position against the stormy weather the relatively large passenger ship Fram, waiting for her chance to work the landing with zodiacs when the wind and seas abate, the situation forecasted for the afternoon.
Regardless of the weather, we were all eager to spend a full day wandering around the capital town.
Despite the bad weather welcoming us to town, eye-catching is the colorful settlement with its houses painted in different colors, the lack of high large buildings, and the large amount of four-wheel drive cars that everybody seems to drive here.
Not surprising if we think of the kind of dirt roads that stretch out of the settlement to all other surrounding areas and the common here framing lifestyle.
Ashore many gathered first at the Visitor’s Centre, right at the port, where some books, stamps, and souvenirs could be found, together with internet access, not available again until the end of the trip in Ushuaia.
Under the easing winds and improving weather, we walked around visiting local shops and pubs. A few others preferred a walk along the shores of the bay, even all the way to the magnificent old iron barque Lady Elizabeth, Stanley's most dramatic shipwreck. Her full 68m hull lays in the shallows close to the beach. Launched in 1879 she is a good example of the old sea-going going bulk-carriers, that got into trouble while rounding the Horn in 1913, finding her final place of rest here.
Close by the informative town’s museum, well assorted on the history of the town and the nature of the islands. In the middle of the town stands out the Christ Church Cathedral, surrounded by gardens where we can find the characteristic Whalebone Arch, built in 1933 from the jawbones of two Blue whales, 41 years after the church opened its doors.
While we had our time ashore in the afternoon, the local authorities came aboard with their rodent-searching smart dog to be sure no rats or mice had found shelter in any corner below decks or on our decks. Important matter together with the biosecurity procedures for our next visit to South Georgia.
And by 18:00h it was time to come back to the ship for a good dinner, welcomed at the nearby floating pontoons by a small group of Sea lions snoozing in the evening good weather. And afterward, Europa undid her moorings and spent the night at anchor at the bay, avoiding the forecasted increasing winds and to be ready to set sail straight away in the morning.