Now accessible by road, from Port Howard via Fox Bay Village, the far western settlement of Port Stephens lies on the edge of one of the Falkland Islands’ most scenic and wildlife-rich areas. Unfortunately, it lacks formal tourist facilities, but for visitors with time and flexibility it’s worth exploring the options—perhaps by renting a vehicle at Port Howard, about three hours away.
Just southwest of the settlement, the wildlife sites include Wood Cove and Stephens Peak, home to enormous mixed colonies of cormorants and rockhopper penguins, and Magellanic and gentoo penguins. Calm Head, about two hours from the settlement, provides some of the Islands’ most spectacular coastal panoramas. Peter and Anne Robertson, who own this area, do not permit vehicles to enter it; visitors must hike from the settlement.
Formerly part of Port Stephens, Port Albemarle was the site of an industrial sealing station, a Colonial Development Corporation fiasco that—fortunately—failed to commercialize sea lion oil after World War II. Most of its ruins have been dismantled, but the factory was a suitable metaphor for the misjudgments and neglect that so long characterized London’s attitude toward the Islands.
Beyond the former sealing station, a large gentoo colony faces the stunning Arch Islands, where the South Atlantic seas have eroded a passageway in the largest of the group.
Prospective visitors need permission from landowners Peter and Anne Robertson (tel. 42307, par [at] horizon [dot] co [dot] fk) at the settlement, and Gonzalo Hobman and Helen Wallace (tel.42250) at Albemarle Station. When it’s not needed for shearers, the Robertsons rent the Cadet’s Quarters on a self-catering basis (£25 pp. half that for kids under 16).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition