The controversial Argentine pilot, 49 year old Martin Rappallini spent all of Thursday in the Falklands viewing 3 species of penguins, including the rare King Penguins at Volunteer Point. Accompanied by his 2 daughters Maria Eliana and Maria Paula they took numerous photographs of the penguins while also admiring the beautiful scenary at the special wild-life area. The overland journey took 7 hours in all, much of the trip over boggy grass track.
While filming the spectacular cliffs and caves, Mr Rappallini jokingly suggested that 'should the Argentine authorities not allow me to return to my own Country then I will happily pitch a tent and stay in this most serene and peaceful place'.
He insisted that he will fly directly from Port Stanley Airport to Comodoro Rivadavia, expecting to leave the Islands at around 1300 local time on Friday.
Rappallini is adamant that he has done nothing wrong by flying from Chile to the Falklands and outside of Argentine air space. 'I find it confusing that Buenos Aires gave permission for an English pilot, Andy Hopper, to fly his Cessna aircraft directly from Usuhia to the Islands, but seemingly are opposed to me flying from Chile to the Islands. It is difficult to understand the policy which prevails'. Andy Hopper was due to land in the Islands late on Thursday.
Mr Rappallini has expressed amazement at the publicity which his holiday flight has generated. 'I feel that my visit to the Islands has furthered the policy of goodwill and peaceful coexistence which between the two populations and the warmth with which we have been received by everyone we have met in the Islands confirms my view. I am at loss to know why our officials in Argentina seem to be opposed to my trip'.
Maria Eliana and Maria Paula were also enthralled by the King Penguin colony which numbers around 1000 birds. They also took the opportunity to enjoy a picnic on the clear white sandy beach at Volunter Point, eating a packed lunch prepared by the staff at the Malvina House Hotel where they are staying. Maria Eliana also had the opportunity to undertake a little 'track' driving in a Mitsubishi Shogun 4 x 4 vehicle which carried them on the long overland journey. She said that she hopes one day to be able to pilot her own aircraft on a flight to the Falklands.