"We 'ave ways of making you talk"

Steve Powell
Fri 4 Feb 2011 17:20

We have spent the last 10 days or so in Ushuaia, Argentina, changing crew, restocking our freezer and carrying out all the necessary maintenance chores. It’s a busy little township, or city rather, as they like to be called. Because that allows them to call themselves “The most Southern City in the World”, where as their Chilean neighbours in Porto William, who are further south and  who they don’t get on with, are “The most Southern Town in the World”. It’s  very important little distinction down here where the Argentineans hate the Chileans almost as much as they hate the British.

I was very nervous about going into Ushuaia, I had heard lots of stories about the authorities making life very difficult for yachts, in particular British yachts. But after talking with Richard’s agent in Ushuaia she assured us that we had done everything right as far as getting all the right permits etc, to sail through Argentine waters to the Falklands and that coming into Ushuaia should be fine. The problem was that Botty was flying into Ushuaia, and Rich and Buzz were flying out, also if we wanted to restock on food stuffs, Ushuaia is really the only option down here.

Well we got in ok, and went through all the formalities with only a few questions about our excursion to the ‘Malvinas’. And all seemed to be well. That night we went out to eat at an ‘all you can eat meat’ place, famous in Argentina, amazing meat they have down here. After that we had a couple of drinks in an Irish Bar, yes you find them all over the world, and I left the guys to it and went to the boat early to get some kip. Well I had just got into my bunk, it was about 12:30, when there’s an insistent knocking on our topsides.  I went up to find two armed Navy Officers and an interpreter. They had been waiting for me to come back to the boat. Then followed an interrogation. Apparently, our paperwork had been referred back to Buenos Aires, and they had questions, etc,etc,. For about an hour they we’re questioning the dates we had left Uruguay, the route we had taken, how long had we stayed in the Malvinas, can I prove it, and so on. I showed them everything in my log and they took copious notes. All the time the interpreter is telling me, “It’s not a problem, we just need to check some information”, and I am thinking “Yea, right, I am a bloody big British registered boat flying a bloody big blue ensign”. The perfect target really.

Early the next morning I briefed the guys and sent them shopping for as much food as they could grab because, “we could be leaving here in a hurry”.

All day I was on tender hooks as Richard’s agent, Roxanne, talked with the authorities, and kept coming back and forth, and I sat on the boat with the lines ready to go.  

Well, “all’s well that ends well” as they say. By the end of the day we had been given the official ‘all clear’ by Buenos Aires, and told it was all a misunderstanding. Relief all round.

Ushuaia, pretty as a picture.

Since then we have had a very enjoyable time in Ushuaia, great restaurants, fun Irish bar and good shopping. Mike managed a few days fly fishing and Chris and I even joined him one day. They both caught trout, I managed to catch some extra sleep on the river bank.

Chris learning to Fly fish on the Rio Ewen, Patagonia, and Mike shows off one of his many conquests, a 20 inch Brown Trout.   

We are now heading up the Chilean Archipelagos, or Channels as they are known here. Botty’s back onboard, hurrah!! Mike’s still with us and all they can talk about is fishing, they haven’t stopped since the moment Botty arrived. I guess my job over the next month is to find them some wicked fishing spots!!

More to follow soon.

Luv to all

Steve & crew

2nd February 2011