Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cape Pembroke Adventure

On Sunday we headed back into Stanley to get a bite to eat and pick up a few groceries. We decided we would pop into Stanley museum and hire out the key for the lighthouse at Cape Pembroke. I mentioned before the rock runs which come down from the hills on the road to Stanley. I tried to take some photos of them but they just don't come across well in photos. The one above is a small run of rocks and yet each of those are nearly as big as Maddie.
Cape Pembroke is the most easterly point of the Falklands and lies just over seven miles due east of Stanley. The road runs out just as you get to Stanley Airport and Surf Bay. From here you have to off road. The are a plethora of tracks heading towards the lighthouse criss crossing everywhere. They go over sand dunes through rock runs and down big ditches. John had great fun splashing through the puddles with the children squealing in the back faster, faster every time he managed to spray water up the windows. As duty navigator I got the task of taking the action shots of his new baby.
The water is brown due to the high peat content of the soil around here and it makes it very hard to judge what depth the water is. Shortly after this last photo was taken we came across an area where we had to choose from three water courses. John picked the middle one and I have to say I was panicking slightly as it really did look deep. In true bloke fashion John said "it will be fine woman stop your whinging". Well famous last words no sooner had he driven into it and we were stuck. Not only were we stuck but we had water surrounding us, up to a depth of just a few inches under the wing mirrors. Total panick was written over both J and my face. I think I might have said okay this is not funny now can you just drive on, when all I could hear was the wheels spinning and the engine revving. John was muttering that he would never live it down with his work mates if he had to call someone out to help us in his brand new car. The kids where hyping up in the back which only added to the tension levels. I couldn't help but think of the cost and damage that it might cause the new car if we couldn't get out of the water and how long the seals around the doors would hold. Thankfully John popped it into sand mode and cranked the steering wheel round as he pressed the accelerator to the floor. Thank the stars we started to move forward, everything moved in slow motion and what must have only been a few minutes felt like an hour. We rushed out the other side of the puddle with a nervous laugh escaping from John and I. See he said I told you it would be okay, heaven help my grey hairs I tell you!

As we reached the other side I told John to park up as my nerves wouldn't take anymore. We walked the last mile out to the lighthouse on foot although my legs were like jelly for the first ten minutes while I got over the shock.

The light house was last lit just as the Argentine Troops invaded. It was ordered to be extinquished so as to not aid the landings. Inside it is still in fairly good condition although rather fly infested. The steps up to the top are really steep and almost vertical. Miss Ellie no fear was straight up them with no problem, but poor Euan has a real strong fear of heights and took some persuading to head to the top. With Ellie being the first up she climbed straight into where the light would have once sat. Quite some time ago the lighthouse was vandalised and has sinced been partially restored.

The views from the top are stunning and we were lucky to get a fabulously clear but blustery day. Maddie was the first to follow me out onto the balcony at the top but stayed fairly close to the main building. Ellie at this point wasn't so sure, she didn't like the fact that the railings were open. Euan took further persuading to come out but he eventually did which we all thought was really brave of him. I am not sure if I had such a fear I would have made it up there.

After we headed back down to the bottom and locked up the lighthouse with the giants key (see the kids blog) we had to navigate our way back to the car which was hidden in the middle of the dunes. We took a very cautious route back through the rest of the off road section and stayed out of the water as much as we could!!

We took a quick tour around to Gypsey cove where the Argentinians landed to look at the beautiful beach. One of the reasons it is so beautiful is that it is a completely no go area. During the war it was heavely mined and has yet to be cleared. There were some Gentoo penguins wandering around the beach unaware of the possible danger they were in.

You can just see the lighthouse in the very distance out on the peninsula. All in all we had a very enjoyable if not slightly stressful day out. Lesson one learned for off road driving, never go out without your mobile, sleeping back, tow rope and a snack!!

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