So we finally were ready for the ‘off’ on New Year’s Eve; well we were not really ready but at some stage you just have to go – so we went. A thousand apologies to all those friends and family that we didn’t get to see to say goodbye to, but things were a bit hectic.
Water tanks full, fuel tanks full, food lockers full, house cleaned and ready for tenants, passports stamped – no excuses.
The weather forecast seemed to promise fairly stable conditions for a while, no storms at least and favoured a north about departure from the Falklands. The best place to take your departure when sailing from the Falklands towards the Le Maire straight is from the west of the islands as that gives you a course that is more north to south and therefore more perpendicular to the prevailing Westerly winds. The south-easterly wind; that we had on New Year’s Eve, favoured going around the north coast of the islands to reach West Falkland.
9:00pm Falkland’s time, or 00:00UTC the first stroke of 2015 saw us slipping out of the Canache.
With a sloppy sea from the Easterly, on-shore, breeze and with wind over tide we had a sloppy few early miles but had a nice enough overnight passage and were passing the Eddystone Rock/Cape Dolphin at 9am. We slipped through the Tamar pass nicely on slack water and accompanied by dozens of Commerson’s dolphins headed for Richard Harbour where we dropped the hook mid-afternoon.
We stayed in Richard Harbour for a day and repaired my fancy anti-noise/vibration mount for the wind generator that had given up the struggle after only ten miles or so. I had built a mount for the wind generator using a cluster of wind-surf rubber goosenecks to isolate the generator from the pole but it seems that “Morgane’s” wind generator was just too heavy.
An early start on the 3rd January saw us motoring out of Richard Harbour when the engine alternator died. Not too much of a problem with a diesel engine but that meant that the batteries were not charging, at least not from the engine, and that the engine alarm was sounding. We were in for a day of motoring so I decided to disconnect the engine alarm and carry on only to find that the alarm was resin encapsulated in the control panel and there was no, easy, way to shut it up so we motored along the Golding Channel, Dirty Ditch, Port Egmont, Reef Channel, Burnt Passage and along Byron Sound to Dunbar Creek where, after dealing with a minor fuel line blockage just outside the entrance, we were able to finally silence the alarm.
We had a very nice supper with the folks at Dunbar, who kindly gave us some diesel to replace that lost into the bilge whilst clearing the blockage (how is it that a completely blocked pipe that will not pass a drop of fuel will clear itself and start to empty the fuel tank into the bilge the moment you are not looking?) and a lump of beef.
We left the next afternoon for West Point Island. Motoring down Byron Sound we had an amazing escort of many hundreds of Commerson’s dolphins. I climbed the mast and took a couple of video clips on my little Canon G9 camera of “Morgane” surrounded by the little black and white “Puffing Pigs” as they are locally known. We dropped anchor in West Point Cove where we planned to wait for some North Westerly breeze to cross to Le Maire or to just to stage a hop down to New Island.
In the end we stayed a few days having a couple of pleasant dinners with Thies and Kicki Matzen who are taking a break from wandering in “Wanderer III” and doing a bit of island sitting. Thies hosted us aboard “Wanderer III” for afternoon coffee one evening so that Paula could have a look around the famous old boat which is in immaculate condition and just waiting to wander off towards South Georgia again.