Around the World with Captain Mercer: Falkland Islands
During the past weeks, I have been approached by numerous guests, all asking the same question, ‘will we get into the Falklands’? It seems that previously, on every occasion they have tried, the call has been canceled, usually due to weather. Even some of our guests who are regular Grand World voyagers have missed it, so the pressure is on for me to make amends and make it 🙂
The morning brings thick fog, not an auspicious start and we can’t see my hand in front of my face, let alone any land. We navigate on radar, at reduced speed and hope that the visibility will improve, although after an hour, there’s no sign of that. Our agent ashore eventually hails us on the VHF radio and asks of our whereabouts and we in turn ask him of the visibility. He replies that he can see across the harbour, which is good news and so we proceed inwards, avoiding fishing boats and cargo ships which are anchored in the Sound. We still don’t see any of the headlands we are passing until we are approaching our anchorage position; a ‘reefer’ ship, (which carries chilled cargo) looms out of the fog. He is loading fish, there is a fishing boat alongside, discharging his catch into the cavernous holds of the cargo ship.
Then the veil lifts and the barren headlands surrounding us suddenly come into view. We drop our anchor and lay out 6 shackles (540 feet) of anchor chain. I am preparing for anything the Falklands can throw at us and sure enough, it does, later in the morning, when the wind increases to 35 knots. It’s great holding ground, mud and sand, so once that anchor is turned and buried, it should stick there.
Our guests are run ashore by our tenders, to the pier in Stanley, which takes approximately 20 minutes.
Later in the day, the journey is rough, as the waves have built-up with the increased wind. Nobody seems to mind though, they are just thankful that they have made it to Stanley and another ‘must-do’ is crossed off their list!
1800 and we are departing for Antarctica, the most awesome place on the planet! 🙂