San Carlos Water
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Despite its Spanish-sounding name, there is a wide discrepancy with the Spanish usage, for in Spanish "Estrecho de San Carlos" refers to all of the much larger Falkland Sound, which runs between the two main islands of West Falkland and East Falkland.
San Carlos Water is a fjord-like inlet at an angle of 45° to the Falkland Sound coastline, thereby offering shelter from the weather in the Sound (which is itself sheltered from the South Atlantic by bluffs in the north and an archipelago in the south). The inlet is 9.3 miles (15 km) in length and for about half of its length, is about 1.2 miles (2 km) wide. It is flat-bottomed with a depth of between 20 and 30 metres (66 and 98 ft); the 20 m isobath lying about 660 feet (200 m) offshore. The tidal range at Port San Carlos varies between 0.9 and 1.6 metres (2 ft 11 in and 5 ft 3 in) (for neap and spring tides respectively) with low water being between 0.3 and 0.7 metres (1 ft 0 in and 2 ft 4 in) above the chart datum. The San Carlos settlement lies close to the head of the inlet.
The inlet has eight official anchorage points.
The smaller and shallower Port San Carlos is an inlet to the north of San Carlos Water.
San Carlos Water became notorious during the Falklands War as "Bomb Alley" during the Battle of San Carlos. British troops routed the Argentine land forces, but British ships were pounded by Argentine air raids. It was of crucial strategic value in the amphibious assault, and British invasion of Argentine occupied East Falkland.
San Carlos Water and British landing sites in Falklands War
HMS Antelope returning to San Carlos Water 23 May 1982
- Admiralty Chart 2582 – Plans in Falkland Sound (Map). 1:25000. Hydrographic Office. 2009.
- Admiralty Chart 2558 – Falkland Sound Northern Part (Map). 1:75000. Hydrographic Office. 2009.