Fw: Motley Island

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Tue 6 Dec 2011 22:04

Position: 52:06.08S 060:49.779W


We arrived the day before yesterday, having taken the inside route through the Smylie Channel. We arrived at high water, not sure if this was calculated, and had a roller coaster ride through the east end of the channel. The water was disturbingly flat and then we saw these whirl pools appear all over the place. The boat was buffeted this way and that in what reached over 6 knots of current. It was lucky (and I mean lucky!) that the current was going our way!


As we approached the anchorage at New Island we saw that our old friends, Dawnbreaker, were already there, having completed their journey through the Falklands sound and round the North of West Falkland. As we no longer had any cachaca on our boat, we were invited across to their boat for drinks. It is a beautifully fitted out 72 foot yacht, with a marvelously snug steering position. One of their proudest boasts is a bathtub in the guest heads. Luxury or what.


The next day was miserably cold, foggy and wet, so Tim and John spent the whole morning doing ‘jobs’. There seems to be a never ending list of jobs to be done around the boat. My contribution was to retreat to the galley to make soda bread and scones – the milk had gone off – make lunch and dinner. The pressure cooker seems to behaving itself ok so we had a pork and olive stew prepared – well pressure cooked – in 20 minutes. We did manage to get ashore in the afternoon when the fog had burned off and we had a lovely walk over to the ‘rookery’ where there were literally thousands of rock hopper penguins, black browed albatrosses and cormorants all sitting on their nests. There was also the odd skua, lurking in a threatening way, hoping to dine off a small chick.


This morning, we set off early for a long walk to the North of the island, as strong wind was forecast for the afternoon. We came across magellanic penguins in their earth burrows, and at the far end of the island a huge colony of gentu penguins – the comics of the ocean. To get there we had to walk over quite a high ridge, where we were attacked by some rather large brown birds. We eventually identified them as Striated Caracaras or ‘Johnny rooks’ as they are known locally. They are extremely funny birds, very engaging and inquisitive, just not so funny when they are engaging you from above your head.


When we got back to dinghy we found it high and dry and had to man handle it down to the water. The wind was building and we had considerable difficulty in getting the dinghy through the kelp – a combination of oars and just pulling the dinghy through the kelp eventually got us through. Currently sitting on the boat with winds solidly over 40 knots and gusting up to 50.


There is now another yacht at anchor in the bay, with the crew ashore. We have been intrigued by the behaviour of a skua which has been attacking something hanging from the backstay. Closer inspection with the binoculars revealed that they have a ‘mutton’ hanging in the rigging and the skua is eating its fill!


Grib files currently giving good forecasts – we will be here tomorrow and will go early the next morning bound for Statten Island.