I was surprised to discover that people still cut turf to light their fires in the Falklands, and while I was there I was treated to a live demonstration of turf cutting. It would seem that in this part of the world the turf is still cut by hand - by this I mean that a man goes out and cuts it with a shovel, as opposed to using a turf cutting machine.
Our guide explained to us that it is the man's job to go out and cut the turf, but the turf is then left on the land to dry out and the woman of the house must go to the site every few weeks to turn over the turf so that it will dry out evenly.
I forget whose job it is to bring it home ;-)
It would seem that there are still about 30 families on the islands who use turf as their main fuel - given that there are just 2,500 people in total on the island, that's quite a high number in this day and age.
Oh, for those of you who don't know what turf is, it's basically peat fuel which is cut from bogs - it looks for all the world like big black sods.
Get this fact...
Fishing licences contribute 20 million (that is in pounds!) yearly to the economy of the Falklands! Just licences! At the height, it's 40 million!
Now, what are these people catching?
Squids! 75% of their catches are 2 distinctive type of squids.
Vessels from Asia, mainly Korea, Japan, Taiwan & China are here for Illex & Loligo, the 2 distinctive type of squids here.
The Falklands itself has a fleet of 28 fishing vessels.
Peat as defined in my dictionary is "decayed plant matter in bogs, dried for fuel".
The locals still use this form of energy.
I guess it's for cooking. I've never heard of a heater or air-conditioner that uses peat! ;-)
If you are arriving by ship you may be welcome by a friendly penguin in the port. It may cost a couple of Falkland Pounds to get the picture with it but it is a nice souvenir to bring home. Real penguins do not smell as nice as the one you can see in the picture.
It is important to remember that the people in the Falklands definitely are British! However, the history of these islands is very interesting. The first ones to sight the islands were the Dutch. The first ones to put feet on the ground were British. The first ones to establish a settlement were the French. The French only stayed 2 years until they sold their settlement to the Spanish. The British came and founded an outpost while the Spanish were already living there, so the Spanish threw them out only to be threatened with war by the British..so the British came back but only stayed 3 years, finally leaving the Spanish in peace. In 1811 the Spanish finally gave up, too, because all the South American colonies were winning their independence..so the islands themselves sat empty for 9 years. Nobody wanted them! Argentina claimed independence in 1816 and so claimed the unclaimed islands in 1820. They were there for 13 years when the British finally decided to come back, and the British never left... maybe originally the islands should have gone to the Argentine's, but 150 years of British rule has definitely left its mark, and the people there live a very good life, and if you talk to a local, they will tell you they definitely do not want to be a part of Argentina...in any case, some people in the islands 'feel' independent altogether, but then again, without their own army, they are better off staying with Britain with its mighty military. I am neither British nor Argentinien (though at the moment am living in Buenos Aires), so it does not matter so much to me...but what I do know, is that it still is a very interesting place to visit, and the people I met were really friendly!
Give your postcards plenty of time to arrive as most of them go via the United Kingdom regardless of their destination!!!
In this cute shop they sold some local handcraft, tea and souvenirs. It was the only shop I found. (But there are definitely some others ...)
If you live in the Falkland Islands you will know that this is Peat, and that most homes use this as fuel for everything from cooking to heating.
Comfortable well apointed rooms, all en suite with shower/baths (which is a rare in the islands)....more
Back Wynd, Falkland, KY15 7BX, United Kingdom