Pos 51:36.708S 59:30.183W
27112011 Port Howard continued
The afternoon peace is shattered
when we are buzzed by an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter that holds station
just off our stern. They signal they wish to make contact and we realise they
are calling us on the radio which can hardy be heard above the roar of their
It transpires they would like to use
us as part of an exercise and would like permission to drop a man on board. Were
heeled over and under jib alone were running 10kts in a gusty 30-35kt wind with
metre plus sea.
Discretion being the better part of
valour they decided it’s too risky to make the drop. Instead they stay with us,
practicing hovering on station in various positions astern and occasionally
flying overhead. An hour later it’s all over and after giving a flying salute
they depart and peace returns.
The wind has maintained its strength
and as we approach the entrance to Port Howard sound we experience our first
“Woolly”. These aren’t sheep but “Adiabatic” winds that gust down the mountain
side and slap us down onto our beam until just as suddenly they stop and the
yacht rights itself, scary!
A school of Commerson’s Dolphin
escort us in, there must be a least ten of them.
Approaching the Jetty in this gale
we gingerly work our way onto its lea side where the waters are relatively calm.
Nudging the bow in, Peter makes a death defying leap up onto the Jetty, rope in
hand and drops it over a bollard. Next a stern line, then attaching them to a
sheet winch at the stern and the anchor winch at the bow we wind ourselves
At last all mooring lines are set
and although the hull and cabin are well below Jetty level, just the wind in the
rigging has us heeling over. Through all of this the Dolphins continue to play
around us. A couple of Cormorants eye us from the corner of the Jetty where they
shelter from the wind, on a fender turned white from their droppings.
We have our first visitor who has
been listening to our progress on the VHF as well as watching us on the Pontoon
at Stanley. Apparently there is a “Web cam” set up their and accessible on the
internet. Bill who has a farm at the end of the sound is invited aboard and
gives us the low down on Port Howard. There’s a Hostel despite what our old
pilot book says about it being closed, and a shop.
Walking through the settlement we
check out a shearing shed and generator house before walking through the
scattered houses. We find the shop and Hostel where its owners confirm they have
a Bar. Before entering we are invited to view their “war Museum” in an old
Nissan hut flanked by two artillery pieces and in a corner of the garden.
Once inside it’s a help yourself
“honesty” bar and having made our selection from fridge we join their guests an
Australian couple and two other men. They are watching a documentary on the war
of 1982 which we find quite eerie, as we are now familiar and have walked many
of the places mentioned in it.
Returning to the Yacht, Thomas
starts dinner while we pour an evening drink. Shortly we are joined by Sue and
Wayne, mine hosts from the Hostel and a friend Glynn who arrive clutching a case
of beer. Dinner is put on hold as we entertain. Come their departure Sue is a
little panicky climbing our ladder to the dock but is finally helped across none
the worse for the experience.
Bob the Blog
From Many Branch Farm with thank's
to Bill and Shirley