West Point Island
|West Point Island
Former name: Albatross Island
Location of West Point Island within the Falkland Islands
|• Total||12.55 km2 (4.85 sq mi)|
|369 m (1,211 ft)|
|Time zone||FKST (UTC−3)|
|If shown, area and population ranks are for all islands and all inhabited islands in the Falklands respectively.|
West Point Island (originally known as Albatross Island; Spanish: Isla Remolinos) is one of the Falkland Islands, lying west of West Falkland. It has an area of 1,255 hectares (4.85 sq mi). The island is run as a sheep farm and is run by Roddy and Lily Napier.
West Point Island lies off the north-west point of West Falkland. It is 6 km (3.7 mi) long with a maximum width of 4 km (2.5 mi). Its dramatic west-facing cliffs are more than 350 m (1,150 ft) high. Further east, the highest point is Mount Misery at 337 m (1,106 ft). West Point Island Settlement, with its 640 m (2,100 ft) airstrip, lies on Westpoint Cove in the north-east. It is separated from West Falkland by the Wooly Gut channel, named after a strong westerly wind. It lies south-east of the Jason Islands, the nearest being South Jason.
As with many locations around the Falkland Islands, in the early 19th century West Point was a popular site for slaughtering seals and penguins for oil. Literal overkill ended this industry in the area. The island was established as a farm in the 1860s by the Napier family.
Flora and 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.
- "West Point Island Group". Falklands Conservation. Falklands Conservation. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "Falkland Islands Tourist Board West Point Island". Falkland Islands Tourist Baard. falklandislands.com. 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "Falkland Islands Tourism People". Falkland Islands Tourism. The National Archives. 4 October 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- "West Point Island Group". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Ian Parker (December 26, 2013). "Falkland Islands". Evanescant Light. Parker Lab, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California Irvine. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Wigglesworth, Angela. (1992) Falkland People. Pub. Peter Owen. ISBN 0-7206-0850-3