41:51.00S 61:38.00W. Wednesday the 7th November 2012. Sailing from Mar de Plata to Falklands.

Matt Stafford and Rohan Buckley
Wed 7 Nov 2012 21:39

Mar Del Plata…. What a place!!  We stayed a few days more than planned, a total of 9 days and loved every minute of it.  We had some great introductions from friends of friends and family (cheers Val xx) and they could not have helped us more or done more to make us feel welcome.   A big thanks to Juan and Andrea, Leo, Leo’s Mum and Dad, Chappa, Romini etc etc!  They, as far as we are concerned, reinvented hospitality and have set a standard that will be difficult to follow.  Tina has joined us once more which brings the crew up to 4 for the sail south and will be 5 when Kate joins us in Ushuaia mid-December.


Whilst in Mar del Plata we continued to tweak the yacht getting her as ready as possible for the next leg.  This included our last big shop so now the old girl is full of cans, pasta, rice, rum and everything else we could fit in for the next 3 months.  We also have decided to order a new mainsail.  The current one has done us well but she has seen her hay day and we believe (with the advice and confirmation of a local sail maker) she will not make it through the conditions down south.  So the order is in and it should meet us in Ushuaia in early December. 


The last big shop aside, the main reason to stop in Mar del Plata was to gain permission to sail to The Falklands, or as the locals call it, Islas Malvinas.  With the current tensions between the UK and Argentina over this Island group, and the fact that Argentina still considers it theirs (look at any Argentinian map and you see nothing about the UK!!) we had to gain special permission to sail there if we wanted to return to Argentina, which we will by way of Ushuaia in the south before Antarctica.  This process could have potentially been difficult and drawn out as some of the stories we had heard were making us very nervous.  Fortunately for us (and with some help from Paco – thanks!) the process was over by the end of the week and on Saturday morning we were fully signed out for our departure on Sunday 4th.  Amusingly Argentinian immigration did not sign us out at all due to the above, so it feels strange that we now are sailing to another country (the UK) as far as we are concerned, but not legally left Argentina… go figure… ;)


Anyway, it’s now a few days out and we are all well and sailing strong in some very varied conditions.    The further we head south the more unpredictable and potentially harder the conditions will become so we will have to remain on our toes. 


On a greener note, now that we have left the smog and plastic of the cities and back to blue water, the wildlife has returned in force.  We are now constantly in companion with a myriad of sea birds including several types of Albatross (though yet to see the large Wandering Albatross), Magellanic penguins and the odd seal.  Yesterday we came across (or more likely they came across us) one of the biggest pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins we have seen so far.  What seemed like hundreds played and frolicked around the yacht for hours having as much fun in the water as we were above watching them.  At one point we could not resist a closer look so we rigged up the harness on a halyard over the bow and had a play ourselves (photos will be attached later that will explain better than we can).  They knew exactly what we were doing and they appeared to almost let us touch them and few cheeky ones leapt out to playfully give us a splash.  A magic afternoon had by all and looking forward to what the south will bring.


We shall see………


Matt, Rohan, Nigel and Tina…….