Day 122: Argentine idyll

Egret relaxes before making the passage round Cape Horn

Day 122: Argentine idyll

Position: 54° 52.34S 67° 17.49W

Bahia Cambaceres, Argentina

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.

Egret moved this morning two coves further east to Bahia Cambaceres (Interior). We dropped anchor in 22.5′ of water. With more swinging room than Bahia Relegada we have out 175′ of chain. Since getting up this morning we have had: no wind, 25 knots, drizzle, rain, sunshine with a fairly even temperature of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. We Floridians are becoming acclimated to the cooler weather so when the pilothouse or saloon temperature rises to 70 degrees or above we are overheated and crack the doors open. We are still experimenting with the Dickinson diesel heater that is old business to the Pacific North West and US NE coast cruisers. One lesson learned this morning is when we turn sideways to the wind we can smell the heater. Soooo, between drifting in the little bay while Mary was de-kelping the anchor I raced to the saloon to turn up the fan under the heater so there wouldn’t be a back draft. It is a good thing she was occupied while I left the helm. If she would have seen the helm vacant guess who would have heard about THAT. Actually, Egret is so insulated I would have seen her mouthing lots of words in the wind but couldn’t hear them. Got lucky.

Bahia Cambaceres is a horseshoe shaped bay with the bottom (flat spot) of the shoe to the north. The east side is blocked by a peninsula filling the centre of the horseshoe. The entrance is to the south between a sand spit and the peninsula. Ken Murray, a local American boater living in Ushuaia redrew the cruising guide map to include the recent shoaling. Ken said “run RIGHT next to the kelp and there is plenty of water”. We did, but passing the sand spit at near high tide we only had 3.5′ under the keel for just a few feet then dropped back to 20′. Sooo, we need to leave at near high tide on rising water to be safe.

There is a lot of indigenous history here as well as an ill-fated missionary venture. By the time this part of the world was being charted the killing regimes of the Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch were over. This was a great age of discovery without stealing for profit or massacring the locals. They did, however, massacre the locals over time without firing a shot or swinging a sword. It was done by disease the locals had no defense against. Sad. Has ever in history ANY culture profited by ‘help’ from another culture?

Now for the positive. The bay is full of penguins, cormorants, and ducks all diving around the boat. Around the low hills there are pairs of Upland Geese or Magellan Geese. We have some VERY good pictures of both males and females of these smaller than Canadian Geese coming along in Feb. Yesterday we got a couple of great close up shots of the local fox (Zorro Gris Chico), a smaller version of the long time native fox. The ZGC foxes were introduced to kill the rabbit population that had gotten out of control. We keep saying but are still amazed how unspoiled this area is. We are able to get close to animals and birds that would run at the first sight of a person in the States. The other issue we keep repeating is the absolute clarity of the air. Depth perception of distant objects is nearly impossible to estimate. We have found this out by walking to something that seems close by but ISN’T.

We received an e-mail from a boating buddy saying Egret’s special guest for the Cape Horn rounding was announced on the website. PAE VP Jim Lieshman will be joining Egret as a fourth crewmember. We first met Jim at the Miami Boat Show in February 2000. We had done two years research on what was for us, the perfect boat. We travelled a lot of miles, looked at a lot of boats. The result is obvious. We handed Jim a cheque with the understanding we had to sell some things first. We did. August 6th, 2001 Egret arrived and here we are this many years and miles later in the ‘uddermost’ part of the world on the adventure of our lifetime.

Jim arrives January 19th along with a returning Master Angler Steve. Weather permitting we will check out of Ushuaia, Argentina on the 20th and check into Puerto Williams, Chile. As soon as we are able we will either make a direct run for the Horn or will advance in stages depending on weather. This will be an exciting time for all of us. Jim has never cruised south of the equator so there will be a lot of firsts for him. As we did leaving Marta del Plata, Arg on that difficult stage south we will give ongoing reports as they happen posted once a day. Buy your munchies in advance. Make sure your seat belt is properly fastened and your seat back is in the upright position. This will be a wild ride!


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