If you have any stories about your travels to, from and around the Falklands that you would like to contribute, please email sailing@horizon.co.fk

Belair April 2005

Giebateau 2007/2008

Beta Plus
Stanley to Goose Green Nov 04

Beta Plus
Goose Green to Stanley Jan 2005

Beta Plus
Choiseul Sound Christmas 2004






Log 47Belair
Falkland Islands
51.41 South 57.49 West

Belair was blown into the Falkland Islands on 6th April 2005, as a result of a north westerly gale. Tom and Vicky on Sunstone, (who we first met in Vanuatu in 2001) had been in the Falklands for 10 days so we were able to catch up with them.  Our friend Ashley was able to get her flight north and within less than an hour of checking into  Falklands Customs we had a crew member lined up to take her place on the sail north!  Russell Evans, a local guy, had just been to Customs that day to ask them to look out for any boats going north who needed crew because he wanted a ride! How’s that for luck! The only hiccup was that he was not available for another week; however, this gave us the opportunity to get straightened out and see the islands.

Our first challenge was to get our salty, wet carpets cleaned, desalted and dried out. As it was the end of cruise ship season we were able to tie up to the public jetty, which is in front of their Visitors Centre. The ladies in the Centre - Shirley, Joan and Nora, got us sorted out. They found out where we could hire a carpet cleaner and allowed us to clean the carpets in front of the Centre (you could just picture us doing that outside the Visitors Service Bureau on Front Street in Bermuda!). Then  we were able to drape the carpets over stools in the nice warm Visitors Centre overnight. During the day, we hung them in the jetty glass enclosure to get some air and sunshine. After three days, the carpets were dry and ready to put back on board.

BelairJettyCentreUnfortunately, the Falklands are a very windy place making it quite cold on the boat so we had our flowerpot heater going most of the time. There were five gales while we were there - two complete with snow! Luckily, the snow did not settle except for  one night when we had to get up and shovel snow off the decks! All the cold and wet resulted in much condensation down below so the boat was just dripping including our aft cabin. Although our bubble wrapped aft interior helped to lessen the water, our bedding got quite wet where it touched the sides of the boat and when it dripped on top of us during the night. Morning boat temperatures ranged between 33° to 40° F however with our flowerpot heater the cabin would heat up to the high 50’s  during the day! Needless to say, standard dress for me included: 3 pairs of socks and winter hiking boots; thermal long Johns, fleece pants and jeans on my bottom half; and three thermal vests, a turtleneck, a fleece top and a fleece vest on top. As the cabin temperature was not much different from outside temperature we did not put on much more clothing to go outside!

The gales caused quite a problem with the boat. The wind mainly came from the  west (either just north or south of west) and we were tied pointing north-south at the jetty, with the surge and the winds hitting us beam on. This created a lot of yanking backwards and forwards against the dock and for two of these gales (45 to 50 knots) we had another boat tied outside of us so we were a bit like a filling in a sandwich. After the third gale we could not take it any more so we moved to the east end of the commercial floating dock FIPASS which has a 12 foot draft and high sides so, although we were registering 40 knots of wind at the top of the mast, the deck was calm and there was no surge yanking us around. The only negative was the rickety little steel ladder up which I had to haul myself to get ashore.  A bonus was the Lighthouse Seaman’s Center close by where we were able to get wonderful hot showers and good cheap food.BelairFlowerpot

We also had a contact in the Falklands. My sister-in-law’s cousin worked out here after the war and he gave us the name of the Aldridge’s. They had no clue who we were until they saw the Bermuda Registration on the Belair and realized the connection. They were very kind and helpful.  They had us to supper, provided us with baths. They also did our laundry for us after our first load at the commercial laundry cost £35!!! The most expensive laundry we have ever come across! Their daughter, Nina, took us out to Mount Pleasant Airport to meet with the Met officers to  get the updated weather. I am sure the weather office got sick of our daily calls for the weather forecast.

The Sunday after we arrived we went to Church. Then we went looking for a  traditional English breakfast. We had no luck with the first hotel;  however we lucked out at the Malvina House Hotel. Although breakfast was well over they sat us in the bar and fed us a great breakfast. It was wonderful. It turns out that the majority of their staff are from St Helena Island (in South Atlantic). Therefore, we had a great time reminiscing with them about the island as we had stopped there in 1991 after we left South Africa.

BelairPublicJettyLater in the week when we were cold and fed up, I went again to the hotels to see what it would cost to get a room for the night. Hotel number one said £95!!! The Malvina House manager said he could give us the local rate as we had been there so long! £60 a night including free use of the Jacuzzi and Sauna!  We had lots of hot water so enjoyed showers and baths. Their food was also excellent. We also enjoyed eating at the Falklands Brasserie, which had great food and staff who were super  friendly too. Being in on a British Island we also did the pub hop.  However, we found the pubs very smoky so could not stay long.

It was great to be able to stock up with English food products - we renewed our stores of canned baked bean and spaghetti, which we were unable to buy in South America - and of course the great mature cheddar cheeses and Cadbury’s chocolate bars!

The Falklands are very interesting and the architecture very British.  Captain John Strong was the first person to land on the Falklands in 1690.

The total land mass is over 12,000 square kilometers, consisting of 2 large islands and more than 700 smaller ones. The population is about 3,000.  The majority of people, 2,000 live in Stanley, the remainder live in  “camp”€. Camp is the term used for the remaining farm areas.

BelairSnowThe islands are very barren with very few trees or vegetation. Many rock outcrops. But there is great wildlife.  The most amazing thing we did was to go to Volunteer Point, to visit the Penguin colony. It was a  day-long trip taking three hours each way in a four wheel drive - with one third of the way through country bog with no road to follow. The King Penguins were amazing; there were a large number of fluffy big  brown babies, almost as big as their mums, who still wanted to be fed by mum. There were also Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins but they were not as inquisitive as the Kings who are not scared of walking up to you.

There is a very small sailing community in the Falklands. Sailors, Bob and Janet  McLeod visited us on the boat and had us over to look at their weather forecasting information. The Falkland Islands Ocean Cruising Club Port Captain is Carl Freeman. He and his wife sailed to Uruguay for the summer and just returned a few days before we left. Jerome Poncet who charters his boats Golden Fleece and Damien II also lives in the Falklands.KingPenguins

We finally made a break for Uruguay on the 21st April but we ran into two gales! Each day Bob McLeod would speak to us on the ham radio and give us a weather update which was a terrific help. However, it was some of the worst sailing conditions we have ever experienced, the wind was not a problem it was the schizophrenic seas.  This was probably due to the shallow water in this area. They say the winter time is the best time to be in the Falklands as there is much less wind. We arrived in Uruguay 5 days and left the boat for the winter to fly back home to Bermuda - glad we had the opportunity to visit the Falklands.

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Beta Plus’ Travels

Stanley to Goose Green, November 2004:

First off,  we sailed about Stanley Harbour several times to get familiar with the boat and get the rigging tuned ready for a longer trip.  The plan was to sail to Goose Green to have our boat in that area for the Christmas holidays.  I intended to sail the 60 miles non stop, leaving Stanley late in the afternoon and sailing on into the night, arriving off Lively Island around daylight.  The plan was also to have a moonlit night if possible.  It would be tough to organise - good weather, moon, wind behind us - to sum it all up everything was to be perfect. The chance of getting all these things on the same day was not going to be easy with the unpredictability of the weather around the Falklands at the best of times.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Buoyweather, the only weather forecasting site I have found to give a reliable forecast for the Falkland Islands, was giving me a 48 hour window of good weather with everything my plan was asking for; wind behind, good moon and a clear night on the cards for the 29th November (2004).falkmap4

I phoned a  more experienced sailing friend, Sam Miller, to see if he could come and help me.  He was free for the night and following day, so when work finished I went straight off to get the boat ready.  As soon as Sam arrived we let go the ropes and off we went about 6.30 in the evening.  With a light wind from the NE we motor sailed out of Stanley Harbour into Port William, to find ourselves sailing parallel to the QE II which had brought tourists to Stanley for the day.  As we turned between York Point and the Kelly Rocks the QE II was gaining speed and headed off into the open sea. Our journey took us between Cape Pembroke lighthouse and Seal rocks, clearing between Wolf Rocks and the mainland just before dark.

The night  proved uneventful.  Very little wind, hardly enough to fill the sails, so we motor sailed all night.  Sometimes the only break from the drone of  the motor was a splash and the sound of dolphins breathing.  By 1 in the morning the moon was up and bright. We could see the mountains far away, and it was only a gradual change from moonlight to dawn then full daylight just as we were entering Choiseul Sound between Fox Point and the Middle Island group.  The wind was also on the increase, and we were moving along at 6 to 7 knots, wind and tide both with us.  Unfortunately  it was short lived, the wind changed from north east to west, right on the nose, then suddenly dropped off completely, leaving us in a very beautiful sunny morning with no wind at all.

We had breakfast and motored the rest of the way to Goose Green in the lovely  warm sunshine, arriving at 7.30 in the morning 13 hours exactly.

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Goose Green to Stanley, 1st January 2005

After the Christmas holidays I took Beta Plus back to Stanley to make changes FALKMAP5to the boat and take her out of the water.

Left Goose Green at 9.30 in the morning with Andrez Short to help me.  Wind was from the West about 10-15 knots, sun shining and warm - what more could one ask for?

Andrez changed and trimmed the sails in many different configurations, eventually settling for goose-winged for the next 2-3 hours, the wind slowly moving towards the North, increasing a little.  As we passed between Mare Harbour and Lively Island we were sailing at 6-7 knots, continuing at this speed as we approached the Kelp Islands.  By this time the sun had gone, the wind was still increasing and rain and low cloud moving in from the North.

We spotted a boat coming from Stanley direction.  It was the tug Indomitable on her way back to Mare Harbour.  By now the wind was about 25 knots and still shifting from North to North East, and as we were turning more into the wind it was starting to put some water over the deck with a few big waves hitting right on the side.  We now had the swell from one direction and wind and waves from another.

As we approached the Wolf Rocks the wind was now right on the nose and we were slowed down and were only making between 1- 4 knots so we started the motor to help make some headway to try and make Stanley before dark.  We  decided to bear off a bit to make some speed, this took us a bit further out to sea off Cape Pembroke Light than we wanted, so we had to tack back in with several tacks, bearing off from time to time to make speed.

After many tacks in a very confused sea and lots of water over the deck, we were once again in between the Seal Rocks and the Light.  We moved slowly out of the bigger waves and into some shelter from the Tussock Island to our north west.  We were starting to make some speed at last, back up to 4-5 knots and 5+ as we passed between Kelly Rocks and the mainland.  I was on the radio to Janet whilst Andrez put in a long tack to the north side of Port William, then we made the final run to the Narrows.

It was dark by now as we entered Stanley Harbour.  Andrez was having some trouble with the roller reefing so we put Beta Plus on auto pilot and slowed down with just enough power to keep the boat into the wind until we had all sails down and tied, then we moved up to the Public Jetty. Alison and Tom (Andrez’ family) just arrived in Stanley as we were tying up.  Andrez went off with them to get the fire going and their home warmed up.

It was 10.30pm when we were entering the harbour, the trip was 13 hours, the same as the trip out, and 63 miles on the log, 2 miles more than the outward journey.

Left the boat at the public jetty and went home.  The wind by this time was gone so was able to sleep well, but got up early in the morning to move the boat because a cruise ship was coming in and the tourists would need to use the Jetty.

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Cruising Choiseul Sound - Christmas 2004

Norton InletNorton1The Christmas holidays were a pretty windy time, but we managed a very relaxing few days in various anchorages.  After a pleasant hour’s sail from Goose Green, we started the motor and slowly made our way up Norton Inlet, relying on the chart plotter and depth sounder to guide us  in.  This was our first experience of putting our trust in this equipment in such close quarters.  The wind had fallen away and the water was clear and all went well with Janet standing at the bow just in case.  We decided to go as far into the Westerly arm of the creek as possible, anchoring in about 2 metres with a soft muddy bottom, position 51.50.928 S,  58.51.764 W.  It was a nice sheltered spot with good mullet fishing, some Red Backed Buzzards and lots of other bird-life.

Mackinnon102Mackinnon1After a couple of nights here we moved on to investigate MacKinnon’s Creek, a little further to the East.  As always in Choiseul Sound, the dolphins picked us up almost as soon as we left the shelter, accompanying us to our next stop.  We picked our way up the Eastern arm of the creek, keeping a close eye on the depth sounder, and avoiding the kelp patches. There is a reef which comes well out, but keeping close to the East side we cleared it with no problems.  Our anchorage was again in about 2 metres, this time in quite a wide part of the creek which extended much further to the East but became shallow, position 51.53.323 S,  58.439.869 W.  Near the entrance a group of about 6 very curious seals appeared and followed the boat further in.  Later in the day, which ended calm and beautiful in the evening sun, we were treated  to a spectacular display of seal gymnastics as they played, leaping right out of the water.  We found a small stream with clear running water and were able to give ourselves a good shower and wash all our clothes.  Fishing was good here too.WCreek1

Our next stop was Walker Creek, a small settlement directly across Choiseul Sound, position  51.57.981 S,  58.46.234 W. Leaving on the high tide meant an early start.  It was fortunate we did this as the wind rose just after we dropped the hook in front of the houses at Walker Creek.  Nearby was John Willie’s boat, Chevron, a Fisher 25.  This had been moored there a long  time, so we knew the holding would be good.  On going ashore we found everybody at the shearing shed where lamb-marking was in progress, so we helped out filling the pens.

Next day we made another early start to beat the westerly gales which were forecast for later in the day.  We had another enjoyable sail back to Goose Green, tying up behind the old “Vicar of Bray”.









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Giebateau - Falkland Travels 2007 - 2008

We, Caroline and Paul Gieb sailed with our Beneteau First 40.7 named Giebateau for three months around the Falklands. Our first stop was Port Stanley where we must check in with Customs and pay 62 Pounds {2008}.  In Stanley there is one place in the center of the town where we could leave the boat on the jetty, when there were no cruise ships.  When there were cruise ships, we anchored at the end of the bay to the west side. It was very good holding anchor ground. But from here it was a long walk to the center.giebateau0

From Stanley we sailed to the southwest to Bluff Cove lagoon and anchored near the beach in sandy ground (anchor 51 45.755 S   58 03.733 W.) It is also very good holding ground. We had more than 30 knots westerly wind.  From the beach we walked to a big colony of Gentoo penguins with a few King penguins in it.

From Bluff Cove lagoon we sailed into Port Fitzroy where we anchored before the entrance of Bluff Cove. (anchor 51 45.822 S 58 09.966 W). This anchor ground was thin mud and not very  good holding for our Delta Anchor. We placed our Bruce anchor (15 kilos) two meters before our Delta (20 kilos) in one line and know we had a very good holding in more than forty knots of wind.  The rest of the time we always used these two anchors and felt very safe with it.  With our dinghy we went into Bluff Cove where we also had a good walk and a nice time with the dolphins.Giebateau1

We sailed from there to Seal Cove (anchor 52 01.888 S 58 38.770 W). Here the ground is also good holding.

The next day we sailed to Sandy Bay on the east side of Bleaker Island
(anchor 52 11.410 S 58 50.150 W.)  It is sandy ground near the beach and protected from South till North. On the island are a lot of Rockhopper penguins, Gentoo penguins, Rock and King Cormorants and more different birds. There is also a settlement where you are welcome. We stayed here for a week to enjoy the wild life.

From here we went to Fanny Cove Creek and anchored behind the kelp (anchor 52 16.196 S 59 22.050 W)  Not really good holding ground (thin mud and a lot of kelp)Giebateau2

The next day we arrived at George Island. There is a lot of kelp and it is not a very good holding place.  But there is a settlement with a good jetty and a mooring.  If you ask they will be  happy to help you and will probably allow you to use one or the other.  We used his mooring. On the island are a lot of Gentoo and Magellan penguins and other birds.

Very close to George Island is Barren Island (anchor 52 21.908 S 59 44.548  W.) There is a mooring that belongs to the people from George Island that we used after we asked. There was also a jetty for our dinghy but  it was not deep enough for our sail boat.  Here are a lot of sea elephants, sea lions and Southern Giant Petrel.

After that we went to Speedwell Island (anchor 52 13.009 S 59 41.366) Good holding ground.  Here we helped with sheep shearing and had a lot of fun with it.Giebateau3

We sailed through the Falkland Sound in one day to Port San Carlos on the river (anchor 51 30.471 S 58 58.307 W). Good holding ground in more than 40 knots of wind, very sheltered from all winds.  There are two settlements and we had a lot of nice walks here.

We left the Sound and sailed to the west, through the Tamar Pass. This is between West Falklands and Pebble Island - lookout for current.  Our first anchor place here was Pirate Creek on West Falklands (anchor 51 21.648 S   59 24.179 W). Good holding and protected for all winds except westerly.   The second anchor place was on Pebble Island in Ship Harbour (anchor 51 20.104 S 59 26.403 W). Good holding.

After that we sailed to Saunders Island near the settlement. (anchor 51 21.841 S  60 04.666 W).  Good holding but not protected for easterly wind.  The second stop on Saunders was by the Neck (anchor 51 18.608 S  60 14.588 W) good holding but a lot of swell.  The Neck has a lot of wild life and is a beautiful place, but the weather must be good for this place!Giebateau4

Next stop was Carcass Island (anchor 51 17.715 S  60 33.128 W). We anchored near the settlement with very good holding. There is also another good anchor place but we have not been there.  Here are very nice walks to a hill with a beautiful view.  There is also a lot of wild life (penguins and sea elephants).

8 miles further is Westpoint Island.  We anchored near the settlement.  Good holding and safe for all winds except for the north east.  We had nice walks and saw a lot of Black-browed albatross and Rockhopper penguins.

After this we sailed to Grave Cove on West Falklands (anchor 51 21.752 S 60 37.902 W). Good holding in sandy ground.  We had a nice walk to the south where there is the biggest colony of Gentoo penguins on the Falklands.  There were also dolphins near the  beach.

Roy Cove on West Falklands (anchor 51 33.047 S  60 23 491W) safe for all winds, lines to the shore.  There is a settlement and nice walks.

On New Island we anchored near the settlement (anchor 51 43.487 S 61 17.824 W). With one line to the shore.  Here is a lot of wildlife, an old whaling station and a lot of nice walks.

Our last stop was Fish Creek on Beaver Island (anchor 51 51 273 S  61 14.934 W) good holding, nice walks.

On this trip we had bought in Stanley the book "A VISITOR’S GUIDE TO THE  FALKLAND ISLANDS€ by DEBBIE SUMMERS. This book gives a lot of information about where the wild life is and anchor places.

We  ended our trip end in March 2008, but we loved it so much that we came back in September 2008 to see the whole season with the wild life.

For more information see our weblog  Giebateau.web-log.nl

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