Past Finders explore, learn & discover Weddell Island.
It was an early start for the youth group on Sunday 16th January, 2022. To say that the children were excited is an understatement! We flew from Stanley to Weddell in two Islander aircrafts - the trip takes just under an hour. If you look at a map you will see that Weddell Island is off the west coast of West Falklands. Weddell happens to be the third largest island in the archipelago and fun fact - it's the size of Malta!
On arrival, the group walked from the airstrip to Mt View Cottage. Their first task was to pitch the 6 tents - our home for the next few days. After sorting all of our equipment, we grabbed our cameras, water bottles and headed over the hill to the Gentoo colony. It was lovely to see the little penguin chicks and we had lots of fun beachcombing! A shower forced us back to the settlement where we prepared supper (delicious home-made stew and cheesecake) and hunkered down for the night.
The group had a hearty cooked breakfast in preparation of the long day ahead of them.
Our first port of call was Loop Head Shanty where we had a picnic lunch while waiting for rain showers to pass. Shortly after, we headed down to the large sand beach for a scavenger hunt looking. There was huge excitement from the children as they found the objects on the list!
We were fortunate enough to witness a sheep gather - we followed the sheep for a bit before heading to Low Tide Island - which, as the name might suggest, you can visit at low tide. The group spotted a baby sea lion, a whale skeleton and an old whaling harpoon.
After a long day in the wind and rain, the group sat down to a scrumptious supper of macaroni cheese, lasagna and garlic bread - followed by chocolate fudge pudding and fresh cream donated from Saunders Island. Thank you Pole-Evans family!
We had another hearty breakfast before heading off to Kelp Creek. Here we spotted a couple of foxes - a great opportunity to dust off the cameras! Next stop - Wood Cove, where we had our picnic lunch before heading down to the pass. With the help of some old buoys, driftwood and rope the children built a raft that actually floated! Lookout everyone! You might even see the Past Finders enter the next raft race!
Chatham House was our next port of call where we headed down to the beach looking for objects. There were lots of squeals coming from the beach when Kerys found a fish under a rock!
The Chimney of Chatham House is still standing but is surrounded by gorse. Driving up the hill a little we came across the old sheep-dip. On the track back, the group came across a couple of old fox traps and a fenced off area were you can find a very rare plant Silvery Buttercup.
We had very sleepy passengers on the way back so we decided to carry on to the top of Mt Weddell before heading back to the settlement. Mt Weddell is the highest point on Weddell Island - and what at a view! We all signed the visitors book and took a group photo before heading back to the settlement. We got back to be treated to two delicious cakes made by Natalie Smith, one of our volunteers - they were devoured in no time, thank you Natalie!
That night we had a delicious supper of beef, chicken curry & rice with chocolate fudge pudding and of course, the obligatory hot chocolate before bed!
After a delicious breakfast we headed out to explore more of this beautiful island. Thank you must go to Adella (Weddell Island cook) and her husband for delivering two plates of homemade biscuits for tea time. They looked and tasted delicious!
All four vehicles headed out to visit the wreck of the Hadassa where we talked about its history. Our next stop was Penguin Cove where we visited both corrals and talked about what they were used for in the past.
The conversation turned to the sealing and whaling days - it's not a pleasant conversation but it's all part of Falklands history. We then moved to Wine Cove where we spotted whales in the harbour. There is an incredible amount of drift wood at Wine Cove so the children were given the task of building a shelter - they did an amazing job!
On the way back we visited Stop Cove Shanty. The group enjoyed having a look around and talked about the old tins of food and kitchen equipment left behind. Unfortunately, we couldn’t walk onto Stop Island as the tide was too high so we headed back to the settlement. Then it was time for a barbecue, shower and packing for next day's flight.
It was time to go home!
A massive thank you to:
Byron Holdings (for everything!)
Polar Seafish Ltd (sponsor)
Argos Group Ltd (sponsor)
Workboat Services Ltd (freight)
FIC (donating fruit)
Heather Smith (food)
Jo Turner & family (hospitality)
Teena & Natalie (volunteers)
You are all AWESOME! Thank you again to everyone involved. We all enjoyed our trip thoroughly.