Carcass Island

Travel Guide South America Falkland Islands Carcass Island

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Introduction

Carcass Island is in the northwestern portion of the Falkland Islands. It is a favorite of birders due to the fact that it is one of the only islands in the country with no introduced rats, cats, or other predatory animals, so land-breeding birds have not been affected. The only settlement on the island is Port Patterson Port Patterson on Wikipedia, where lodging is available.

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History

The island's grim-sounding name comes from the ship HMS Carcass, which surveyed the island in 1766. Its accompanying vessel, HMS Jason, gave its name to the nearby Jason Islands, and its captain, John McBride, gave his name to MacBride Head.

It has been run as a sheep farm for over a century and is owned by R. P. McGill. The island's three heritage-listed buildings are a boathouse, shed, and store. Its small settlement lying on Port Patterson on the southwest coast is also known for its gardens and has a small grocery shop.

Carcass Island was considered as one of the potential sites for a British amphibious landing during the Falklands War; however, the British landings took place on San Carlos Water in the west of East Falkland, on Falkland Sound. The plan would have been for a "stone aircraft carrier". The main objections to this plan were threefold: 1) Carcass Island, being in the west of the archipelago, was nearest to continental Argentine bases; 2) its proximity to the airbase on Pebble Island; and 3) its remoteness from Stanley, as it was furthest from the main objectives, and West Falkland was ultimately bypassed in the war.

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Geography

It lies north-west of West Falkland and south-east of the Jason Islands. It is 10 km (6.2 mi) in length, has a maximum width of 2.5 km (1.6 mi), and is 19 km2 (7.3 sq mi) in area. The highest points of the island are Stanley Hill and Mount Byng at 220 m (720 ft). The north-eastern coast has cliffs and slopes while there are large sand bays and a tidal rocky point to the north-west. There are also stretches of duneland. Leopard Beach is often used as a landing point.

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Sights and Activities

Carcass is one of the few islands within the Falklands that has remained free of cats and rats, and as a result it boasts one of the largest populations of songbirds. Other birds that are present include gentoo penguins, magellanic penguins, king cormorants and the striated caracaras (aka Johnny Rook). Marine mammals (sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins) are regular visitors to the beaches.

There are no guided excursions, but the island is small enough that it can be easily toured by walking. A walk round the northern half of the island and then back over the central ridge to the settlement makes for an excellent full day's walk with breaks for watching the wildlife.

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Getting There

Visitors to Carcass Island arrive either via the government air service to the island's landing strip or on one of the many cruise ships that stop at the island each summer.

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Eat

Limited supplies are available for purchase at the settlement; fresh produce should be purchased in Stanley and brought along. A fully-catered stay may be possible, but must be confirmed with the owners prior to arrival.

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Sleep

Shared lodging is available at the main settlement of the island. The available cottages are heated and offer full kitchens.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 11:09 on Aug 9, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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