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Date: 25 Jan 2012 01:52:50
Title: Maxwell Bay, King George Island

Second night outside the Chilean base.

First the Swedish blog followed by Bob the Blog.

Hej !



Det kan inte vara sant solen skiner från en klarblå himmel.. Det ser även ut som vi kommer att få vinden snett in mot aktern, toppen. Dagens segling är rätt lång ungefär 48 nm. Målet är Maxwell Bay på King George Island. Upp med storen och genua 2 rullas ut. God fart genom vattnet. Pingvinerna hoppar nära båten. När de simmar i vattnet gör de små hopp. Ser festligt ut.

Sjön är rätt kraftig. Autopiloten får vila. Handstyrning gäller. Det blir en härlig segling. Vi tycker att det är varmt. Termometern visar 5 +. Bransfield Strait som havet heter visar sig från den god sidan. I hög sjö kan det vara svårt att upptäcka om det finns val i närheten. Turen var på vår sida. Två stycken dök upp nära oss. Alltid lika kul att se dessa väldiga djur.

I Maxwell Bay finns flera stationer för forskning. Vi ska ankra vid den Ryska och Chilenska. Men här finns också en räddningsstation som Chile ansvarar för. Vi ska ju skicka in två gånger per dygn var vi är. Det är viktigt med säkerheten.

Ankrar och en efterlängtad middag intas. Strax innan vi ska lägga oss hör vi ett ljud. Första gången blev reaktionen noll. Men ljudet återkom. Nu blev det fart, kölen eller det värsta av allt att rodret slår i botten. Oj, 3 meter under kölen. Det är rodret som slår i. Vinden har vridit. Snabbt upp med ankare. Flyttar till ett djupare ställe. Det är det sista man vill vakna av här nere i kylan. Behöva rusa upp och flytta båten.

I morgon ska vi göra besök på stationerna. Stationerna har egna stämplar. Varje gång vi går iland där det finns en station tas passen med. Jag har ingen aning om man får stämpla sitt pass på detta sätt. Får se om passpolisen reagerar på en stämpel med en pingvin.

Natten blir lugn. Utvilade tar vi jollen in till stranden. Vårt första besök blir på sjöräddningsstationen. Visas runt på stationen och bjuds på kaffe. En stämpel i passet. Ett helt år jobbar man på stationen. De visar på en datorn de båtar som är här nere just nu. Vi ser vår båt. De klickar på den. Upp kommer alla data som vi fick delge när vi klarerade in i Porto Williams. Även en bild har de tagit på båten. Full kontroll. Nu förstår man bättre varför vi ska skicka email två gånger per dygn.

Promenaden går vidare mot den ryska stationen, Bellinghauser. Inte en människa syns till. Vi vill besöka deras lilla ortodoxa kyrka. Men så möter vi en man och får svaret att det är bara att gå upp. En vacker liten kyrka. Den ligger uppe på en kulle med fin utsikt över viken där båten ligger.

50 minuters promenad bort finns en kinesisk station. Vi behöver en rejäl promenad. Det finns i stor sett ingen snö. Det är ett stenlandskap. Mycket annorlunda miljö mot all snö vi sett tidigare. När vi närmar oss den kinesiska stationen finns det en sten med kinesiska tecken. Ropar upp stationen. Vi får svaret att vi är välkomna till Great Wall station. Tre yngre kineser möter upp. En kan prata lite engelska. Vi blir inbjudna på te. Inne kan man inte ta fel på att man är på en kinesisk station. Idag är de lite trötta för igår firade de kinesiskt nyår. Stämpel i passet. Tre länder på fem timmar. Chile, Ryssland och Kina

Hemvägen följer vi strandkanten. Möter några pingviner och en Krabbätarsäl som vilar på stranden. Bob och Ton Ton uppskattade inte riktigt de mest steniga partierna. Hunger gör sig påmind. Ut till båten för mycket sen lunch.



Urban



23012012 Of to King George



The journey starts well enough. There's a new cruise ship in the bay, the Sun's poking through and the wind is behind us blowing 18 Knots. With a Main and number 2 jib, were off. The seas build as we leave the shelter of Half Moon Bay but we're moving well.



Then, as we round the end of the Island, we get a very confused sea with two sets of one to two metre surfs crashing down, on us from the astern and on the beam. Where they combine, they form gigantic peaks that throw us through 60 degrees of arc.



As the wind dies, rather than endure this bumpy ride for any longer than need be, we motor our way out if it. Free of it we Goosewing our way down the surf with the wind hard on our stern.



On the way through the islands, the coastline displays a fantastic array of Glaciers, sharp, vicious looking, dragon's teeth rocky pillars as well as volcanic stumps peaks. We pass several rocky reefs populated by penguins as we continue our way our North crossing now to the South Shetlands.



Our destination is King George Island and as we turn into towards Ardley Cove we pass numerous Bases. There are a couple of huts belonging to the Czechs, a Uruguayan base called "Artighasand" and in the distance the Chinese "Great Wall" base.



Entering the anchorage of Maxwell Bay we are confronted by a village filling a flattish plain with rocky crags on either side. This contains three Chilean Bases grouped together; the Air force called "Frei", the Navy "Escudero" and the Scientific one "Marshone".



Next to them is the Russian base of "Bellingshausen" with its wooden Orthodox church, complete with "Onion" style spires overlooking the whole place from the top of its craggy hilltop.



Tomorrow we're going around the world and will get our passports stamped to prove it!



Bob the Blog





24012012 Back to "Base"-ics





Having contacted both the Chilean and Chinese bases last night, we head for shore. The sea is calm as we make the relatively long journey landing on the left hand side North side of the Bay next to the bright blue roofed Chilean Navy base where we met by the Commander. This is the major Chilean base.



The three bases have different colour buildings with their own insignias and flags out side. The Navy form the centre for Search and Rescue services for are between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Air Force runs the air service to Punto Arenas. They also have a Post Office, which was closed during our visit.



We are shown their communications nerve centre and how they collate data supplied by ships in the area, which is gathered between them and the three other Bases around the channel. They bring up our data complete with a picture, apparently taken when we checked into Chile at Porto Williams.



After a tour of their facility, and a "Stamping" session, we are invited to take coffee in their quite luxurious lounge and dinning area. After an all round photo session we bid them farewell and set out on tour of their bases before cutting through the Russian compound on our way to climb up the Church.



It's a steep climb, but made easier by a gravel path that has been laid to the summit. The building is a quite remarkable structure of logs and exquisite "Onion" pinnacles. Erected in 2006, a replica of one in Russia, it is designed to withstand Antarctic winds of up to 135 kilometres per hour. Inside is equally impressive with its gold panelling, Icons and woodwork.



Unfortunately there isn't anyone available at the Russian base so we set out, "Stampless" to the Chinese "Great Wall" base, some couple of kilometres walk via a rocky road.



We can't raise them on the radio as we pass their base perimeter marker stones with Chinese inscriptions. Finally we enter their base, passing another sign in English welcoming visitors. We wander around the very modern base coming across "Building 1", a collection of containers that formed the original base camp.



We are admiring the two stone dragon's that still guard the approach to the now dilapidated camp and read the plaques explaining their history when three of their staff come out to greet us.



Despite the language problems we get on well and are invited to take tea with them. Entering their well equipped dinning, it reminds me of a Chinese restaurant with it's decorative flags etc. We then find out the reason for all the decorations was the Chinese New Year which they had celebrated yesterday.



Apparently it was a great party with all the other bases joining in. Tonight they areoff to the Uruguayans who are celebrating something or other! We take tea, have our Passports stamped, photos taken and farewells bidden.



We decide to walk back around the coastline which their marine biologist says should be possible as its low tide. All goes well as we pass a couple of groups of Chinstraps and a large Crabeater seal. Then the shouldering cliff closes in to the sea at a headland making it difficult (Except for Peter) to clamber around'



The alternative is to scramble up the scree sloped cliffs. Having made the climb we find a sharp rim that drops off steeply on the other side and is just about passable. Deck wellies were never meant for mountaineering, but with no option it's up and over and despite all, I live to tell the tale.



Finally back aboard and I suspect more than a few of us are somewhat worn out as we strip off our overheated sailing gear, grasp a well deserved beer and collapse in a heap. A quick bowl of pasta restores the body



Having spent a few hours dozing and or reading our books it's a late happy hour to restore spirits. Tonton announces it's steaks for dinner as we select a find red from our rapidly depleting wine cellar to compliment it. The end of a very interesting day.





Bob the Blog














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