West Point Island
West Point Island (1255 Hectares) lies off the most northwesterly point of West Falkland from which it is separated by a narrow and strongly tidal sea passage known as the Woolly Gut.
This island is well known for it’s wildlife and dramatic scenery including the highest sea cliffs in the archipelago.
The highest point is Cliff Mountain (370 metres).
The Napier’s are representative of a traditional and independent way of life which is fast disappearing in the Islands.
They grow their own vegetables, keep chickens and, each morning, milk the cows.
Stores and supplies are delivered every six weeks by the local coastal vessel M.V. Tamar F.I. Mail, airfreight and visitors come and go by Government-owned light aircraft using a small grass airstrip close to the Napier’s homestead.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the island was known as Albatross Island amongst the itinerant sealing community who frequented the area at the time.
In 1879 West Point was first set up and run as a sheep farm by Arthur Felton, the great uncle of the present owner, Roddy Napier, who lives there with his wife Lily.
With the declining state of the world’s wool markets, tourism has become the most important economic factor on West Point in recent years.
The first cruise ship to come to the Falklands outside Stanley was the Navarino which was anchored at West Point in February 1968.
These days a variety of cruise vessels visit each year, during the Summer months, bringing thousands of visitors from all over the world.
They come not only to look at the large number of Rockhopper penguins and Black-browed Albatross but also to get a taste of what it is like to live on your very own island.
The highest point on the island is Mount Misery at 369 metres, while a settlement and airstrip lie in the north east. It is separated from West Falkland by the Wooly Gut channel, named after a particularly strong form of westerly wind in the Falklands that affects this channel.
Wet Point Island is south east of the Jason Islands, the nearest being South Jason Island.
Flora & Fauna
The Falklands endemic Felton’s flower, which was named after the current owner’s great uncle who discovered it, occurs in relative abundance.
The island gardens have a fairly wide selection of introduced plants including roses, foxgloves, daisies, red hot pokers etc. Unusually for the Falklands, there are also a few trees. Other stands of trees can be found at Hill Cove on West Falkland and Carcass Island.
The West Point Island group, which includes the nearby Carcass Island, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Birds for which the site is of conservation significance include Falkland steamer ducks, ruddy-headed geese, gentoo penguins, southern rockhopper penguins, Magellanic penguins, black-browed albatrosses, striated caracaras, blackish cinclodes, Cobb’s wrens and white-bridled finches.
The waters around the islands are home to Commerson’s dolphins.