Saunders Island

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sat 26 Mar 2016 01:47

51:19.0S 60:06.3W

Another week of strong westerlies ... I would be lying if I said it was continuous, it does stop blowing from time to time, but only for a few hours. To sail to West Falkland, we need (in an ideal world), a gentle easterly breeze, for two days in a row. While waiting for a weather window we've been out on the town.

 Stanley is a happening place. We enjoyed Falkstock, the southern most music festival in the world. Oddly it was on a Monday night as it is sponsored by a cruise ship company and that was the only day the ship was in town.

 Last Sunday was the marathon, the most southerly in the world. The weather was glorious and the first few hours were wind-free. The winner was Argentinian and he beat all previous records.

 At Bittersweet Café we met up with Janet and Ian, Penny and Paul for the folk night.


Ian, Penny and Paul

Our back injuries are slowly healing, helped along by Hannah (from Ireland) who is setting up as a physiotherapist and Patrycja (from Poland) who gives excellent therapeutic massages but is leaving in the next month to set up a guiding company in southern Chile.

 One morning, just after breakfast Franco surprised me: "Let's fly to Saunders tomorrow," he said. So we did.

The Britten Norman Islander, a great aircraft

The airport terminal building at Saunders Island

 Saunders Island is the second largest offshore island and is located north of West Falkland. It is U shaped and measures more or less 13 miles in both directions. The highest point is Mount Richards at 1,462 feet. Port Egmont, on the east coast is where the British first settled on the Falkland Islands in 1765 and claimed the islands for King George the Third (the mad king). Cuts to the armed forces eleven years later resulted in the British garrison departing and leaving the islands unoccupied.

View from Mount Richards

 West Falkland is, from a sailing point of view, similar to Lafonia, only just a little bit higher. The lack of trees and the strong winds make these waters challenging. You can park a yacht out of the swell but you never get out of the wind and it is very often windy. It is important to allow enough time as you can get pinned down in an anchorage for days, if not weeks. Our trip to Saunders Island was a good idea as we won't feel we have missed out if we have to sail straight to Chile.

Kath bird watching

Black browed albatross feeding chick

Chick on mud nest

Rockhopper penguins, they had food shortages and hadn’t managed to rear any chicks

Striated caracara juvenile, they are very curious and unafraid of humans

The gentoo penguins in the Falkands, unlike in South Georgia, had no food shortage and were very successful in rearing chicks