Sunday 16th January 2011
View from the AFASyN marina clubhouse to the dock (Nereida's mast is on the extreme left at the beginning of the dock with a dark red genoa cover) and on past the cruise-ship terminal (for cruises to Antarctica) to the nearby mountains behind the town of Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego - a typically grey, cold evening!!
View from "Nereida" over her missing awning and damaged windscreen to the anchorage and town beyond, on an unusually calm morning (notice the fresh snow on the mountains nearby!).....
It's quite a long walk to the shore where the town lies. I walked it the once last week, with Alain and Anne of 'Uhambo', when we went for a nice meal in town one night. More usually, it's a taxi ride with Roxanna - she took me to get a local simcard for my mobile phone (so incoming calls are free to me) and we went for a quick coffee and pastries to the local French patisserie in one of the first shops established in Ushuaia - suitably set up as a very interesting 'living' museum.
I commented on a native in an old photo having bare arms and shoulders - and it was pointed out to me that they greased themselves to protect from the often bitter cold - I can definitely relate to that!!! ....Especially since I've still not managed to get any heat on board... A priority for tomorrow, I think, although there are still so many other priorities, such as getting the Hydrovane off the stern for safer shore access - I tried undoing the nuts holding it in place - managed one, the others didn't want to know - so I've 'treated' them with a release oil and will have another go tomorrow - time to smile sweetly at a man with muscle, maybe.....! (In fact, I've had two offers of help already, should I run into a real problem there, as I expect....) I need to put right the rudder which twisted through 90 degrees in the knockdown and I'm also hoping to replace the broken part I wired recently on passage. Time is running out if I'm to have help before the people offering it move on - later this week, they're hoping.
And I still have no shorepower on board - seems the isolating transformer is not behaving (power coming in from shore supply, but not getting out to the shore-charger) - so I'm relying on my solar power (long days here still) and wind power (strong wind a lot of the time) - just like being on passage! I spent a lot of time last week, often with Alain helping, chasing around the wiring of the charging system, trying to find where that problem lay, with Skype calls to the Netherlands and U.K. trying to get help - TG for wi-fi here....! Without Internet access, getting help in sorting out my many problems on board would be impossible.
John Curry at Hydrovane has been his usual helpful self - and sent out urgently to France last week the broken part I need to come in the luggage of friends of 'Uhambo' this Tuesday, hopefully.
Time seems to be passing fast without much to show for it, but Najad have been very helpful in getting sent out a variety of parts I need urgently - the main ones, of course, being replacements for the broken boom, windscreen windows, awning and framework and staysail furling system, along with smaller items, several of them electrical, all of which are unobtainable here.... This is the Southernmost town in the world - as signs all over Ushuaia proclaim (actually they refer to it as a 'city', which it clearly is not!) - and it certainly feels very remote from even the smallest of ship's chandler or DIY store.... My pole is being mended by a metalworker here who I'm hoping will do a good job on mending the distorted steel framework of the windscreen when the windows arrive.
The freight leaves Henan in Sweden on Tuesday, will go by plane to Punta Arenas and then by ship/barge to near here, ready for collection in early February - well over two weeks' time, easily, before I see it, I think... and then it all has to be fitted.... I'm trying not to think too much about that side of things .... one step at a time....
I'm still sorting the boat out - everything that wasn't thoroughly soaked was coated in drops or a film of seawater, so it's a major 'Spring-cleaning' job, really....not helped by a lack of hot water due to no shore-power (I'm thinking I must bypass that transformer...). The settee cushion I sent off for washing came back unwashed a week later - too large for their machine - so I'll have to do that by hose and hand, although they say they can dry it - which will be useful in this cold climate...
The cooker keeps giving a problem - I took it partly to bits last Wednesday, to see to one of the top burners which was not giving off gas and I also thought I'd try to get the piezo-electric system working - but when I realized how much of the stove had to come apart for access to that, I backed off & put it all back together... I've more important things to spend my time on just now! Of course, the very next day, the burner wouldn't give gas again .... so I had to re-do my 'fix' of the day before ... and again this morning ... seems there's some dust in the fine feed pipe and jet - but eventually, it must all come out, surely...??
We all enjoyed a typical 'boaters' get-together yesterday - a Saturday night barbecue (inside the warmth of the clubhouse!). All very sociable, with Pierre doing an outstanding job at the barbecue pit, and it was good to relax and take time off to chat and joke with everyone. There's a real mix of boats here, with a lot of French, the sail-training US boat 'Alaska Eagle', Swiss, Korean, Spanish, Argentine... and the one other British-flagged boat here has a Polish family on board!