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Speedwell Island (formerly Eagle Island; Spanish Isla Ɓguila) is one of the Falkland Islandsmarker, lying in the Falkland Soundmarker, southwest of Lafoniamarker, East Falklandmarker. It has an area of 74 square kilometres. It is separated from Lafoniamarker by the Eagle Passagemarker, which takes its name from Speedwell Island's old name.

Ecology

The island is rodent-free, and thus a haven for penguins including the Magellanic Penguin, which is the southernmost distributed species of the Spheniscids. Various other nesting seabirds are found on Speedwell Island. The island is operated as a sheep farm.

History

In 1812 the Britishmarker ship Isabella, captained by George Higton, was shipwrecked off "Eagle Island" (as it was then) Most of the crew were rescued by the Americanmarker sealer Nanina, commanded by Captain Charles Barnard. However, realising that they would require more provisions for the expanded number of passengers, Barnard and a few others went out in a party to retrieve more food. During his absence the Nanina was taken over by the British crew and left them on the island. Barnard and his party were finally rescued in November of 1814. In 1829 Barnard wrote A Narrative of the Sufferings and Adventures of Capt. Charles Barnard detailing the happenings.

The 1837 survey of the Falkland Islands under Lowcay noted that there were wild pigs on the island.

In 1929, Alexander Dugas, a Frenchman employed on Sealion Islandmarker committed suicide and his companions felt it necessary to inform the authorities. But the lack of harbors meant that no boat of any size could be kept on the island and so a determined individual called Benny Davis constructed a make-shift craft from wooden barrels and launched it into the surf. The remarkable sailor set out just before dark, and arrived at Speedwell Island some twelve hours later. He explained that he had simply headed west and then taken his direction from the smell of the cormorants on Annie Island [62575].

References

  • Ewen Southby-Tailyour. Falkland Island Shores
  • William Wagstaff. 2001. Falkland Islands: the Bradt Travel Guide


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