Position: 51:49.56S 058:58.274W
Date: 28 November 2011
Who would have thought that I would be posting Goose Green as a position; I still can’t quite believe that we are in the Falkland Islands. After horrendous winds yesterday, Sunday, we were able to leave Stanley this morning at 4.30 a.m. bound for the Choiseul Strait and Goose Green, which lies at the head of the inlet. The wind was on the nose pretty much all the way, so we had to motor the 65 miles, through constantly changing weather. The enduring theme however was cold – the temperature is forecast not to rise above 7 degrees today and we have just heard on the radio that snow is forecast on the high ground tomorrow. We are now in the equivalent of late May, early June!
Halfway up the strait, opposite Johnson’s Island, we shut the engine off and had a minutes silence for the 8 marines who lost their lives there in the 1982 conflict. Tim had been in touch with Ewan Southby-Tailyor who was their commanding officer and he asked for Tim to stop there and pour a tot of whiskey for each of them in remembrance. The sun magically came out as we were doing this, and it was a very moving moment.
Goose Green is the second largest settlement in the islands outside of Stanley, and consists of about a dozen dwellings. We have not explored yet, but have seen that there seems to be a church, and encouragingly a café. We bought a copy of the Penguin News yesterday, and on the back page in the small adds, the Galley Café features, open 7 days a week 9.00 am to 9.00 pm serving food and drink – so dinner tonight is decided – the specials for the week are lasagne and chips or beef stir fry with chips – can’t wait!
We are moored up alongside the rather rickety pontoon. To the shore side of the pontoon is the very dilapidated wreck of the Vicar of Bray – apparently the last ship ‘surviving’ from the Californian gold rush. So far we have seen no sign of life – we are told people are busy with shearing at this time of year.
Our plans are to visit various sites connected with the Falklands War around Goose Green and Darwin, including the memorial to Colonel H Jones and also the Argentine War Cemetery. There are other things of interest around here, including a gaucho corral and a rather splendid suspension bridge in the middle of nowhere. Hope also to see more wild life. We saw lots of penguins bobbing in the sea on the way here. Also, rather comically, flights of cormorants who zoomed in on the boat as we made our way up the sound. Ewen S-T describes them as ‘particularly stupid birds with very little brain; they are so inquisitive that they will fly past the mast looking backwards with the inevitable result that they often fly into the sails or rigging and fall to the deck’. They were definitely not looking where they were going as they went past us, turning their heads to see what we were up to and doing a quaint sideways shimmy mid air as they went.
I will report on our 6 day stay in Stanley some time over the next few days. The forecast is horrendous, so I think we are here for the duration!