In Port Howard

Lars Alfredson
Tue 29 Nov 2011 18:45

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 rotors.

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 in.

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