Egret battles against the current and wind to make it back to Ushuaia

Day 124: Back to town
Position: 54° 48.68S 68° 18.15W
Ushuaia, 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.

What a day it has been. First let’s go back a couple days. After we moved Egret to Bahia Cambaceres we spent the next two days exploring. We took a long hike in a marshy valley walking the animal trails along the edge. The beaver evidence of freshly gnawed trees was all along one area. Introducing beavers was another failed experiment messing with Ms Nature. In time they changed the water flow turning streams flowing into the bay into muddy deltas. Beavers, rabbits, a small breed of fox to take care of the rabbits and non-indigenous people have taken their overall toll. One nice thing about the locals and visitors is there is a sense of taking care of the environment. Ushuaia is clean as is the surrounding area. Much cleaner than anywhere else we have seen in South America.

We saw our first condor flying within reasonable camera range. Because of the backlight we don’t have a great picture but enough to make a positive identification. Missing that shot and a couple of others have prompted us to phone Master Angler Steve in Colorado and have him buy an image stabilised 80-400MM Nikon lens. With this lens and another coming in a few months we should be able to take even better pictures. Great fun for us and everyone benefits. Bahia Cambaceres is protected from the violent compressed winds. There are no high mountains nearby to send williwaws hurtling down and no high hills to compress the wind. We had mild wind when friends back in Ushuaia were unhappy with the wind they had in the anchorage. We plan to go back to Bahia Cambaceres sometime in the future.

Back to today. We left BC with the intent to tow the dink to the next bay at Harberton Estancia. After the wind picked up making anchoring in Harberton among the day tripper boat moorings a chore we decided to keep going the 35nm back to Ushuaia and get a head start on the weekend. Really dumb. To make a very long day short, travelling from 1.8 to 3.6 knots most of the time against the current driven waves and up to 50 knots of wind we finally made it four hours after our initial ETA in Ushuaia with the Argentine Pefectura (Coast Guard). Our catamaran dinghy is VERY happy to be back. The dink probably travelled another 35nm up and down in addition to straight line. If that had been the inflatable dink it would have been twirling at the end of its string in some of the heavy wind.

The Cordillera Darwin (Darwin mountain range) rising above Ushuaia has been dusted with a coat of snow. Beautiful. Off to the SSW across the Beagle to the Chilean side the mountain behind Ushuaia’s airport is ALL white. The Canal Beagle is working its temperature tempering magic. On the water the temps are in the 50’s. Every time we turn around we find another reason to spend the winter here putting off New Zealand until Dec 08. BUT, we’ll putter around the Chilean Canals before making the call in late February.

We’ll start following the weather tomorrow getting patterns for the weekend and early next week. Hopefully we’ll have good weather as predicted by a boater this evening. We’ll see.