Motley Island

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Thu 1 Dec 2011 21:11

Motley Island

Position: 52:07.73S 058:36.72W


What a fabulous anchorage. We have pulled into Motley Island at the southern end of Lively Sound in order to give us a little respite before setting off for Port Stephens in West Falkland. We can see penguins going about their business on the white sandy beach beyond the kelp, and are frequently joined by groups of Magellanic penguins porpoising about the boat. We were escorted in here by a squadron of those ridiculous cormorants who fly looking sideways at us.  

Yesterday was wild. The wind was frequently gusting over 50 knots so we decided to stay put in Goose Green. We were invited into the school to listen to a talk being given to the children about what happened in Goose Green in the 1982 war. About 120 of the local inhabitants, including a lot of children sent out of Stanley for their safety were locked into the community centre by the Argentines until they were liberated by the British troops. This was followed by a marvellous wallow in Jackie’s bath – ‘the best bath in Goose Green’, from which we all emerged smiling and fragrant.

In the afternoon John and I walked over to Darwin, about an hour away. We were almost literally blown there and had to punch our way back through the relentless wind. We heard there that the cruise ship due to dock into Stanley that day had been unable to come in because of the strong winds. Some years ago, about a thousand passengers had been left stranded when their ship had had to leave because of strong winds. Beds were found for almost all of them in the town and hot meals found for all. The customs officer who booked us out of Stanley described the following morning, with hundreds of people coming out of the houses and walking down the hill to the harbour, and all you could hear was laughter. A lot of lasting friendships were made that night.

The wind was forecast to go down today. Yesterday evening the wind did indeed go down, and we had a brilliantly sunny but chilly evening. I woke up with a sense of foreboding, however as I heard a noise in the rigging that said to me 40 knots at least were blowing outside. We were teased a little over breakfast as the wind dropped to the high twenties, and we set off in high spirits. The wind of course built up and up until we were hitting the occasional 50 knots again. The wind was luckily from behind and the water relatively flat as we were in the Choiseul (pronounced Chisel) Sound. Every where you looked the water was laced with white wave crests – we would never go out in a wind like this in the UK. The plan was to sail for 24 hours to Port Stephens, but we had looked at funk holes before we left. As we were going to have to turn directly into the wind on getting out of the sound, into what were becoming sizeable waves, we decided on discretion and made our way cautiously through kelp banks to our present anchorage.

I can’t think of anywhere wilder. Reminiscent of Barlovento reef off Venezuela, but 20 degrees colder and with penguins – marvellous.