Boat Bound

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 9 Nov 2010 00:50

At anchor Bahia Cumberland, Robinson Crusoe Island
Wind North, F2-4, gentle to moderate breeze
Weather: Overcast, cool, occasional showers


After a boat bound day yesterday, but with the weather still too inclement for foraging ashore I decided today I would go and pay my Ukrainian neighbours a social call. Audrey and Ural were pleased to see me and invited me to join them for breakfast, which rather caught me by surprise as it was after midday when I rowed across to their boat. These guys are on an even tighter budget then me so most days they eat fish that they catch. Apparently here they catch them at night with the aid of a light and a baitless hook. So we sat down to a “breakfast” of fish, pasta and red wine. My tummy has since been rumbling all afternoon and is still a trifle out of sorts. I was very interested to learn more of their exploits and how they managed their small boat and their equipment. Audrey had me in stitches when he explained that when they left the Ukraine they had a goal of visiting the Russian station in Antarctica and how they had brought all these gifts from home for them, including a pine tree. My mind just boggled at the idea of a pine tree on their small boat with four burly blokes. They are certainly forgoing any luxuries; no sink, no heads, and no charts. They are now down to two crew and were in the middle of a major reorganisation when I arrived. As Urey spoke no English Audrey and I would converse for a while then Audrey would translate what we had been talking about to Urey. Audrey told me that they ended up arriving in Ushuaia in the middle of winter but were still determined to get to Antarctica and had asked everyone in Ushuaia for someone with some experience to go with them. Not surprisingly no one could be found. They were told that the only way they could get to Antarctica at that time of year was behind a large US icebreaker that was then in port. I suggested that in fact the only way they could do it would be as deck cargo, but according to Audrey, they actually did go and ask the icebreaker whether they could follow them. By this stage just could not help but laugh. I reckon either Audrey was pulling my leg or someone had been pulling theirs. I told Audrey they had been hanging around too many crazy Russians, not only did they want to cross the Pacific in the middle of the cyclone season but they had wanted to go to Antarctica in the middle of winter. Fortunately neither Audrey or Urey were offended by my none too subtle laughter at their outrageous plans. Audrey explained that they were trying to do things differently to show their people back home that anything was possible. I felt compelled to point out that while this is very commendable that in fact not everything is possible and if they get themselves killed then they won’t exactly be a good role model for anyone. I do worry a little about them but suspect they will have the luck of the Irish about them. Despite my less than tactful protestations we all enjoyed ourselves and had a pleasant afternoon. I returned to Sylph a bit after three and once back on board moved Sylph from anchor to the mooring that had become vacant a few days ago. Over the last couple of days with the onshore breeze Sylph has dragged anchor slightly and now at least I won’t have to listen to the anchor chain grind endlessly over the rocky ocean floor.

All is well.