Last month we were talking about the challenges of working in the heat of the desert. By way of contrast, this month, we’re quite literally at the other end of the earth, in the Falkland Islands. The British military maintain a presence on the Falkland Islands and GJ Bog Mats are involved in a project supplying diesel pipelines, bog mats and concrete sections for the Ministry of Defence.

Local wildlife and logistics make this project interesting!

Just as the contract to supply pipeline skids in Oman presented us with issues of heat and sand, the Falklands has its own extremes of climate and terrain to contend with – not to mention the local wildlife! We have worked closely with this prestigious customer to match their needs and requirements with the right products and service. Even the logistics of reaching the Falklands are tricky, requiring complex freight organisation – not to mention onward transportation: of the 4,700 square miles that make up the archipelago, there’s less than 1,000km of road – much of which is little more than dirt track.

The terrain itself in the Falkland Islands is fairly rough, the weather wild – hardly ideal conditions to be working in. However, this is just the kind of environment where out bog mats and timber mats are essential on a project, providing a stable footing for the pipeline and associated works. And while, of course, the pipelines continue to take precedence as we work with the Ministry of Defence, as it’s nearly Christmas, it would only be appropriate to share something else about the Falkland Islands: Penguins!!

Penguins – and no snow!

The Falklands is more rainy than snowy, and yet despite images of penguins in the white wonderlands of the Arctic and Antarctic, the Falklands plays host to as many as a million penguins from 5 of the 17 species, and the largest population of Gentoo penguins in the world. We’d love to tell you about pipelines and timber mats, but we reckon you’re more interested in the penguins, so here are 5 things we’ve learned about the Falkland Islands’ penguin populations:

  1. The Emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of the penguin species and can grow up to 122cm tall!
  2. Rockhopper penguins often burst from the water near shore and land on rocks with a belly flop.
  3. There is a species of penguin called the Macaroni penguin. Contrary to what you might have thought, it eats small fish and squid – just like other penguins. No record of whether it likes pasta.
  4. The different breeds of penguin have distinctive features that helps tell them apart – from the busy yellow tufts of the rock hopper to the white ‘bar’ across the top of the Gentoo penguin head.
  5. Both Rockhopper penguins and Emperor penguins ‘featured’ in the animated ‘Happy Feet’ film, along with Adelie penguins (not native to the Falklands) which featured in the 2014 John Lewis Christmas Ad ‘Monty the Penguin’.

So there you have it – pipelines and penguins. We at GJ Mats are proud to be involved in such a challenging project as this one and we’d be pleased to discuss your next project with you – penguins are optional!