Fly Fishing on the Falkland Islands
  • © by Mauritia 2020 Contact Me 0

Falkland Islands Fly.Fishing

Stacks Image 197
How does one kill time when traveling to the end of the world? By thinking about the actual end of the world. No, seriously: On the 18-hour flight from Oxfordshire in England to the Falkland Islands, I read a "day after tomorrow" thriller the storyline of which is set on the archipelago:
"Nach uns die Pinguine" (After us the penguins).
A very humorous and entertaining murder story in which a small remnant of people survived after a series of nuclear wars on the Falkland Islands as a last enclave.
Actually not that absurd.
Sadly though the story gained a horrible up-to-dateness, because when I travelled to the Falkland Islands the corona pandemic had just grabbed the world.

The Falkland Islands have always been quite isolated from the rest of the world, yet not without strategic significance – not because of mineral resources, exotic spices or scantily clad girls with flowers in their hair, but because of its location as a stopover for passing ships.

It is somewhat ironic, that it is this particular "lack of appeal“ that allowed these wonderful Isles retain their character like a rough diamond to this day.
Stacks Image 337
Ancient fishing tools from the Yaghan – indigenous peoples of Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn.
The Falkland Islands were uninhabited for 400 million years and it is believed that before the seafaring days and times of grand discoveries, only Canoe Indians from Tierra del Fuego discovered them. Scientists see the evidence of their presence in finding of the Warrah (a fox-, dog-, wolf-like animal), the only land mammal on the islands, which is now extinct.

The islands were first mentioned in 1592 by the Englishman John Davis, who passed them on his ship "Desire".
In 1690 Captain John Strong named the channel between the West and East Isles "Falkland“ as a tribute to Viscount Falkland.
As of 1833 the islands became – and remained – British territory under the name "Falkland Islands".

From then on their history was complex and eventful with many skirmishes, changing ownership claims, land expropriations and more or less emphatic diplomatic negotiations (also with armed force) between Spaniards, Englishmen, Dutch, French and even US Americans.
A great challenge for such an outpost somewhere in the South Atlantic with its rather modest fortifications.

But ultimately, the skill and sovereignty of British colonialism were able to prevail.
By the way: As an avowed fan of the movie masterpiece “Master and Commander” I bow to the traditional seafaring nation with due recognition and respect.
Stacks Image 203
Stacks Image 205
Stacks Image 207
Let’s skip ahead in time for a short moment: Today the oilfields near the Falkland Islands have become a highly interesting option for the world, and they could sky-rocket the few inhabitants into the Olympus of the richest nation in no time.

Between the 16th and 19th centuries however, the location of the islands was seen from a different perspective.
During the competition of the great seafaring nations for the acquisition of overseas territories they were an important stopover before circumnavigating Cape Horn on the way to the west coast of the American continent.
The large sailing ships of the "Old World“ anchored in the bays around the Falkland Islands, whether for repair or for taking up fresh water and provisions.
Today the names of Falkland Island places in different languages such as San Carlos, Port Louis or King George Bay still bore witness to visitors from many different cultures.

Did you know that the visit to the Falkland Islands in 1833 and 1834 (and later to the Galapagos Islands) inspired young Charles Darwin to his famous theory "On the origin of Species“? Although, quite frankly, he was more impressed by the geological history of the islands.

In the 19th century, the Falkland Islands were a stopover for gold diggers and emigrants to the country where "milk and honey flows“: California.

As one of the last ports before Antarctica, the Falkland Islands also served as an anchorage for countless whaling fleets.
The "rough“ mixture of gauchos and the crews of the whalers surely must have been a bit daunting for locals and civilians.
This changed a lot when sheep breeder families from England and Scotland settled on the islands from the mid-19th century.

In May 1916, Ernest Shackleton tried to get help in Stanley on the Falkland Islands to rescue his men, who after the destruction of their expedition ship were trapped on Elephant Island. After several failed attempts and a navigational masterstroke unheard of he was finally successful in Chile. So this Antarctic expedition had a happy ending.

Today there are no large sailing ships or warships in the bays of the Falkland Islands. They were replaced by the many cruise ships and their passengers who, as "day trippers", visit the islands on their way to Antarctica as a short stopover to buy stamps and visit the penguin colonies.

Still the Falkland Islands serve as a "short break“ before entering the perennial ice, but today no one has to live in fear as to what happens when the journey continues…
Stacks Image 213
Stacks Image 215
Stacks Image 217
Most of these photos were taken at the Falkland Islands Museum. A visit there is a must for anyone interested in history and especially nautical artifacts.

With the kind support of:

Stacks Image 254

Copyright © 2020 by Mauritia Kirchner. All rights reserved.

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. More details can be found on our privacy statement site.