Journey to the other side of the World

Lars Alfredson
Wed 15 Feb 2012 20:30

05022012 Journey to the other side of the World


Having said my farewells, Lars launches the dinghy and I leave “Dawnbreaker" in a snowstorm in the early hours of the 5th.  I board  the Dutch charter yacht “Simon de Dancer” for the trip to Porto Williams to check out of Chile and from there on to Ushuaia to catch my plane. Corno and Petra welcomed me aboard and off we set.

The trip was pretty uneventful, arriving in Puerto Williams around four in the afternoon in bright sunshine and a reasonable wind. Having tied up some four boats out, the first thing to catch my eye was a mass of flaming red hair, Delilah, helping her partner into his diving gear on his way to do a little bottom scrubbing. Why did I have an overwhelming desire to sing I wondered?

Having contacted the Armada they advised us to come at six o’clock when the Customs and Immigration people would come down to the office so that all paperwork could be completed at there.

While waiting I leapt into the shower on the “Mikelvi”.  What luxury, having let it run for at least three minutes (Some habits are hard to break), I put on my cleanest gear, then sitting in the sun, proceeded to delete the rest of those 800 emails and make contact with the outer world.

 The paperwork went pretty smoothly, after which it was back to the yacht and “Happy Hour”. Petra cooked a great casserole using wild cow meat! Courtesy of Jose from the Estancia and which Corno had helped butcher. After a very pleasant evening and resisting the flesh pots of town and the dangers of the “Mikelvi” bar, I retired to my choice of five berths.

We had studied the weather reports both in the Armada and the Grib, though both gave conflicting views. Having decided to go with the Grib, which showed  40kts in the Drake Channel up to Cabo de Hornos,  but only 15 in the Beagle Channel we decided to go with the Grib and an early start.

The weather wasn’t too bad with moderate seas with an occasional groundswell to drop the bow and sending an impressive bow wave and spray to catch the unwary. The wind and seas gradually decreased so we could gain a little speed.  With the sun coming out, Petra brewing up a mean Cappuccino and handing out the biscuits, it was a very pleasant

We arrived in Ushuaia Yacht Club just as the wind started picking up and tied alongside a large French yacht and were greeted by a friend of theirs, off another yacht, who was visiting. All tied up and off to the Armada. On the way I’m nearly run down by Enzo on his bike who seems very pleased to see me. He’s was in the company of two adults I assume are Yves guests, Yves is off somewhere so I ask him to say I’ll be over later to see them in the afternoon.

The Armada proceeds at its own pace so we decide to do lunch at the “Office” before Coni goes on to tackle Customs.  On entering I’m given a very warm welcome by Ayelen which causes a few raise eyebrows amongst the punters and even so more when I leave!

It had been raining and taxies were sparse, so a brisk walk round to Ayesin (?) where I see Darrell on Spirit of Sydney who just replaced his “Holy” exhaust and is test running it and look for “Grey Pearl,” but she has already left

Returning to “Simon de Dancer (He was a Pirate!) I find we’ve been invited to a Bar-b-q ashore with some Dutch/Argentinian friends who live up the mountain at the rear of Ushuaia near the national park.

Clutching our bottles of wine and the rest of the enormous chunk of wild cow (I swear only the legs were missing!) we are welcomed in. Wow, the kitchen and dining area were open planned with a full size Bar-b-q built into the dining area wall. Beside it is enough rack of ribs, steaks, sausages, and our chunk to start a restaurant and on the other side is a wine rack to match its size. Needless to say we did our best to make a hole in both and eventually departed full and in fine humour.

Returning to the Dock and as we cross the French yacht we are invited below where they’re having a bit of a soiree. Lots of singing, with people forgetting the words, guitar and accordions being played and even more wine being consumed. Corno nips to over to the yacht and comes back with his accordion and the night’s festivities restart.

The following morning it’s off to the airport a little the worse for wear. A small difference of opinion when I’m told I’ll have to pay for excess baggage, but he eventually understood I was on an international flight and entitled to the larger allowance, my Spanish must be improving.

A delay of an hour and were off. It’s 28C in Buenos Aires and I’ve got four hours to kill. A few beers later and it’s time to board, well nearly, as departure time passes and we stand in line wilting I advance on a charming  young lady behind the deck and enquire as to the problem.  “A warning light has come on” says she. “Take the bulb out says I” as I am losing the will to live standing in the queue. It must have done the trick as they appeared ten minutes later and off we shot.

Due to the delay I now have 40minutes to change planes in Rome. Just before we land, those who have to transfer are moved to First Class for a hasty exit. We hit the ground running. Airline reps stand with big signs showing gate G3 saying follow the transfer signs. Off we shoot as instructed, but it’s no good, Security and bag check. I manage to get myself fast tracked but it’s still 5 minute to flight time and no one on the desk!!

Crossing to the information deck waving my now useless tickets I throw myself on their mercy to which they respond that I haven’t missed my flight but to go to G1 and I’ve been rebooked. There is a God!

I arrive in London and.. It’s snowing.. As I finally get to the Hotel at 11pm its getting quite heavy but what do I care, we recommence battle tomorrow. So it’s dump the bags, off to the bar for some milk of amnesia, a shower and bed.


 10022012 Restart

Suitable refreshed after a good night’s sleep I rush down to breakfast only to find I hadn’t booked it and would have to cough up £8 to indulge. In a fit of common sense I decide to wait until I’m travelling as it’ll help pass the time en route.

Back to Heathrow where I buy the rail ticket for the journey which consists of as bus to Reading , train to Wolverhampton where I change for the Aberystwyth train which will take me direct to Newtown.

All goes remarkable well, apart from a small beer spill when the train jolted at a very inopportune moment and left me smelling like barmaids apron for the rest of the trip I arrive at 4pm and just after Shan finishes school.

She’s waiting for me at the station and we drive home. On arrival, opening suit cases to find pressies various etc., the contents are immediately condemned. Well I know some things have been festering for a while but I thought that was a bit over the top! Come 6:30 I was driven to the Pub to meet the boys and have my first Pint (Brains) for four months. It went down singing Hymns.

My return date has turned out to be extremely fortuitous as the 6 Nations Rugby has just started and Wales has won both their games so far. Shan’s got the week off so there’s plenty of catching up to do and washing!

Returning crew be warned

Cheers Bob

P.S. Have enjoyed the new blogger write up, keep up the good work