11 Dec Stanley!
11 December 2013
“On the 6th of December we dropped our anchor at Saunders Island around 18:50. Our first landfall after 29 days 2 hours at sea. In total we have sailed 5872.5 nautical miles (10,876km). We used 4,862 litres of diesel oil with generators and 46 hours of motoring. We crossed 8 time zones and a dateline. From Auckland to Stanley took us 39 days 3 hours 15 minutes. Average speed from Chatham to Falklands 7.2 knots.
At our anchorage at Saunders Island, after a good meal and a drink, everyone enjoyed a very good night sleep. Without rolling from side to side or end to end in your bunk. Without 4 hours of watch duty in the middle of the night. Without the constant noises associated with sailing.
The next morning people were struggling a bit with a ship that was steady as a rock. You can see that ship habits are thoroughly internalized, like putting a sticky mat under your plate and holding on to everything you put on the table. I even poured my coffee next to my cup, just because the cup was not moving.
After breakfast we had organized some trips around the island, which is 25,000 ha in size, about 21 km long and almost as wide. It turned out that David Pole-Evans privately owns the island. There are only four people living on the whole island at the moment: David and his wife Susan, his daughter Carole and David’s sister.
Eight hardy men (Leonard, Marino, Wieger, Wilfried, Jimbo, Arie, Werner and Ivo) undertook the long three-hour walk to ‘The Neck’, where you can see large colonies of penguins and dramatic panoramas. There are Rockhopper, Gentoo, Macaroni, Magellanic and King penguins on the island. Also the Black-browed albatross breeds here. The rest of the group took the easier option of being dropped by car at ‘The Rookery’, where you could see all of the above, except the King penguin. The weather was great and it turned out to be an excellent day, smiling faces all around. To top it off there are Commerson’s dolphins in the bay and they swim and jump along with each dinghy ride.
The Pole-Evans family gave us free eggs, rhubarb and milk and we invited them over for dinner. After dinner we hove anchor and set sail for Stanley, about 120 NM away. We had a beautiful sail along the coast. When we came around the last corner the wind picked up again and we had to tack to get to Stanley, gusts up to force 8 Bft. At 22:40 we could finally drop our anchor, next to the ‘Europa’ and ‘Tecla’. The three Dutch Tall ships are together again! The Around Cape Horn trip is finished!
We will stay in Stanley for the next couple of days, so we have time to tour the island and finish watching ‘Hornblower’!”