Southern Cruise (Part 1) Completed
Postion: 54:48.819S 068:18.375W
Date: 17 December 2011
We arrived in Ushuaia without incident and have tied up on the jetty of the yacht club where there are about 10 other high latitude expedition yachts – some professional charter yachts and some private.
Ushuaia – the Southernmost City in the World – nestles at the bottom of an amphitheatre of mountains at the head of a large bay, well-protected from winds from all directions except for the east.
We were met by Roxanna, the Mrs Fixit for all yachts in Ushuaia, and now the Honorary Foreign Representative for the Royal Cruising Club, who immediately whisked us off to sort out the dozens of things that need to be done: refuelling (750 litres delivered in 200 litre drums!), refilling foreign gas bottles, getting broken things fixed etc. Quite what we (or anyone else) would do without Roxanna, I don’t know. Amongst the other boats here are our friends on Dawnbreaker who invited us on board for a welcome drink on our first evening. Slightly sore heads the following morning!
Linda and John are leaving in a couple of days, so they have been racing around seeing the sights, visiting museums etc, whilst I have been winding down and getting on with maintenance stuff (I can do all these touristy things at leisure when the DS gets down here in February).
Yesterday afternoon, a large expedition yacht, Podorange, arrived and rather than being squished by her on the jetty, we untied, let her come in alongside the jetty and then went alongside her on the outside.
Last night we went up the mountains to an excellent restaurant with the most spectacular views overlooking the harbour. To my mind the best restaurants are those from which I can see my beloved Mina2, even if she is the tiniest dot in the distance. The speciality of the house is the local giant spider crab, centolla, which was just excellent.
When we returned to the boat at about midniught, we had found that a very stiff wind had unexpectedly sprung up from the dreaded east. The wind was whistling down the entire length of the Beagle Channel, and waves half a metre high were slamming into our stern. It was liked being strapped to the dock in the open sea. All the boats were bucketing around and banging into each other. It was bedlam. The first problem was getting onto our boat. Podorange on the inside of us was about 2 metres off the jetty with bar tight lines and it took our combined crews (the Podorange crew was also stranded on the jetty) to haul her 40 tons close enough for us to leap across the foaming water onto her bucketing deck. We then had to haul Mina2’s 20 tons close enough to Podorange to transfer onto our own violently moving home. We spent a while doubling up all our lines (if one had snapped – quite a possibility in these conditions - we would have slammed broadside onto the stern of Dawnbreaker in front with no chance of getting her off).
Sleep was out of the question. Apart from the violent rocking, the waves were hitting the stern with a clap of thunder and the whole boat vibrated from stem to stern. I lay awake until about 0300 when, mercifully, the wind suddenly abated and the sea slowly died down. This was my second almost sleepless night, so I’m looking forward to a long restorative nap sometime today if I can find the time.
The promised wifi connection at the yacht club is not operating properly so still bandwidth constrained, but I will try and get ashore sometime today or tomorrow and send some photos for you all to look at.
Meanwhile, as far as Part 1 of the cruise is concerned, job done!