Mail delivery problems mean that Egret has an anxious wait to join the Southern Ocean New Year's Party

Day 87: Stuck in Argentina

Position: 36° 34.87S 54° 48.26WMar del Plata, Argentina

Distance travelled: 5602nm from Gibraltar

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For the first instalment of their diary, click here.

Well, the Egret crew has good news and bad news. The good news is we are in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. The bad news is we are still in Mar Del Plata. Because a very important address line was missed (Transito en Argentina/Yacht in Transit) in addressing Egret’s Naiad stabiliser parts shipment to Mar Del Plata, our parts are still in Buenos Aires being held by some white collar banditos until a driver can pick them up and deliver them here. Mar Del Plata Customs will then accompany the parts to Egret to make sure they are for the boat. So, about $400 poorer, plus dockage, with at least ten days lost we will eventually get our Naiad electronic upgrade. After sea trials we will leave immediately for Usuhuia, Argentina with just one planned stop. The majority of the ‘Southern Ocean Class of 06’ will gather in Usuhuia for New Years then scatter. We very much want to be part of that group for New Years.

Early yesterday morning an American boat arrived in Yacht Club Argentino with her crew of four. She is the SV Fiona, a Westsail 42 owned and captained by Eric Forsyth. History will say Eric was one of the world’s best sailors/adventurers. Eric is now over 70 but still sails each year from late winter to May to the most remote and challenging parts of the world. This year’s sail includes south from Mar Del Plata to the Falkland Islands for Christmas then on to Antarctica for New Years. He then plans to sail in to the Pacific to Panama and return to Long Island by May to prepare for his Bentley rally (another long story). This is his umpteenth trip to Antarctica. These days it is very tedious to get permission to sail to Antarctica. Eric simply arrives unencumbered by paper details but with a bottle of New Year’s rum for the dry outpost ‘Ice Men’.

Last night Egret hosted Eric and his crew for cocktails, munchies and conversation. So, how do you approach a sailing icon as beginner long distance cruisers? Locally you can buy huge bottles of Heineken, almost a litre. After they were seated we offered drinks. When the first sailor asked for a beer we popped the cap off one of these Heinekens and offered it to him. He was bug-eyed. Just before we set it down we said, “Oh, I forgot you are sailors? honey get some glasses”. So it started. Eric poured forth story after fascinating story. He would ask if we had been to so and so. We hadn’t and so more stories would flow. What a great evening. A few hours of conversation with this group and the frustrations of the past week evaporated.

The area of Mar Del Plata where Egret is berthed is a couple of miles south of the main tourist area. The other day we took a taxi to the main shopping area. This is the Rodeo Drive or Oxford Street of this southern tourist city. They have a mile of beautiful small stores all filled with goodies. Imported goods are expensive but any locally made items are a song. We spent a day poking around enjoying our off-water shopping.

We’ll leave you here. It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Argentina.

Photo: Egret crewman Steve takes in an Atlantic sunset