Goose Green and Bodie Creek
Escorted by Commerson's dolphins, we tacked all the way up Choiseul Sound to Goose Green, the largest settlement outside of Stanley. The jetty looked fairly ropy so we anchored off. Next morning we paddled the short distance to shore to meet up with our new friends Janet and Ian from Stanley. We were 'entertained' by Nibbles the nanny goat who added drysuit socks to her list of dietary preferences.
Nibbles the goat
Janet works part-time at the Lighthouse Seamen's Mission, a centre which provides support, teas and coffees, books in a variety of languages and second hand clothing to the fishing boat crews and other seafarers who visit Stanley. We had popped in for a cup of tea and a mince pie. We met Janet again a few days later visiting our New Zealand neighbours at Maiden Haven marina.
Penny and Paul were relaxing on the luscious sofa at the Waterfront Hotel and discussing penguins with a German tourist they had evicted from said sofa. We rudely gate-crashed their conversation and got on like a house on fire. A few days later they invited us for Saturday lunch and introduced us to Janet and Ian. It's a small world here.
Ian is a keen paddler, he has completed the Devizes to Westminster race three times (an impressive achievement) and is making the most of his time in the Falkland Islands to get into sea kayaking. Ian had invited us to paddle down Bodie Creek. We were very lucky with the weather (warm sunny day) and had the wind behind us all the way.
Franco approaching the Bodie Creek suspension bridge (the southernmost suspension bridge in the world?)
Ian: “What we need is an expert navigator.”
Franco: “What we need is a map.”
Janet thinking: ‘What we need is two men with more than two brain cells between them!'
Back on dry land Ian headed down the road to recover his vehicle while the rest of us retired to the Galley Cafe for a lovely cup o' tea. On the way to Darwin we passed the site of the Battle for Goose Green and ended the day with an excellent meal at Darwin House.
The next day the wind was blowing hard. As soon as the anchor was secured on deck, our dolphin escort arrived to lead us out of the sound. When day sailing around the Falkland Islands, much time is spent heading in and out of deep bays to find good anchorages. We set sail for Pleasant Roads (no road here) where the chart suggests you anchor in 8m which is rather deep for a small yacht. At 8m we were miles from the shore so we continued towards the beach. The seabed levels off at 4.7m and we covered a whole mile with the depth still the same. By now we could see the surf breaking so we dropped the anchor. The next morning a lone penguin walked up the beach, looked left, looked right and then examined its toes. We left him to it and headed out towards Stanley.
We sailed past Wolf Rock, a dangerous reef and into Port William in glorious sunshine. The wind was dead behind us, so to avoid going to the trouble of sailing goosewinged (the main sail on one side and the genoa on the other, held out with a pole) we had both sails on the same side and were zig-zagging down the bay. Half way down, the Narrows open up on the left and lead into Stanley Harbour (a 'harbour' in name only). Franco radioed 'Stanley Port Control' to announce our arrival. "Please proceed, no traffic scheduled". Ten minutes later Port Control called us up. The cruise ship anchored in Stanley Harbour had just announced its intention to leave. "We are about to turn into the Narrows." replied Franco. "Please proceed, I'll tell the cruise ship to wait." came the response. "Did I get that right? You want me to wait?!" asked the cruise ship on Channel 16. "Correct - that's ok, isn't it Captain?" (Subtext: You got a problem with that?)
'About to ...' can be quite a long time, under sail. We were going to be ever so popular!
As we passed the cruise ship I waved self-consciously at the passengers lined up on the back deck. Nobody waved back.
Back in Stanley, car drivers no longer wave as we cycle by. Everyone now knows who we are, they know that they don't know us. Not to worry, we are now part of the community with plenty of invitations over the festive season.
Stanley Races on Boxing Day
Not just horse races