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Day 75 Long day - penguins in Beagle Channnel and ending in Ushuaia

Saturday 8th January 2011

Raised the anchor without a problem in the darkness at 1.30 am local time - calm water conditions but wind around 15 knots... which helped speed initially - we were making over 7 knots for quite a time after leaving anchorage! Light in S sky, clear and full of stars overhead. Birds resting on water overnight suddenly taking off as we closed on them,.. Not as cold as expected, although plenty of fleece layers on! An excellent start to what was to be a long day -100 miles to cover to Ushuaia.

Made our way through the islands to open water on 25 mile run N through the chop of Bahia Nassau - got very 'bumpy"! Got to start of Beagle Channel in broad daylight - LOTS of sightings of Magellanic penguins in the water, often in big groups. Also lots of black and white cormorants - new to me - as well as plenty of other unfamiliar birds.

The Channel winds its way with frequent kelp beds, islets, shallows and rocks between Chile and Argentina (Tierra del Fuego) in a roughly E-W direction with craggy mountains, with remnants of snow, coming down close to the water - no wonder the air is so chilly.

With motor running, giving hot air heating, I worked hard at salvaging several books which had got soaked, including my bird book of albatrosses etc- separating pages gently, one by one, and placing book near hot air vent to help dry out.

After passing Puerto Williams, a Chilean patrol boat came over to me - to tell me I had to go to Pto. Williams before heading to Ushuaia - "Why?" I asked - no good answer, so I told them I was making for Ushuaia for repairs not possible to do in Pto Williams - and , by the way, I'm in Argentine waters now....!! They left, looking pretty glum... and later, when clearing Immigration in Ushuaia, I had to sign receipt of a fax telling me that when in Chilean waters, I had to report my position , course and speed regularly to Port Control - and respond to requests for same over radio...! "Control freaks!" was Roxana's response....as she returned with me to the pontoon where I'd rafted up alongside a Spanish boat, after accompanying me to help with translating... On to my French neighbour's boat to take up an invitation for celebratory 'Cape Horn' drinks and a light meal.

Being Sunday, I'll have a chance to do some clearing up and get my joblist organized - Roxana has already put on her list getting a local laundry to come and get my seawater-wet things for washing and French neighbour Alain has offered me whatever help I might need - kind of both of them!

Off to sleep now - lots to catch up on...

Written by : Mike

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