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Home → February, 2018

Monthly Archives: February 2018

Har­ber­ton – 07 Febru­ary 2018

As much as we lon­ged to get ashore after almost a week on the boat, the land did not want us today. We knew the sound of the wind good enough, so I did not even have to lea­ve my warm bed to know what was going on out­side. Wind, wind, wind. We had been ancho­red sin­ce mid­night in the bay at the Estancia Har­ber­ton, loo­king for­ward to go ashore, to explo­re some of the green hills of Tier­ra del Fue­go, to walk on land again.

But the­re was a back­door which ser­ved us well. Up went the anchor and we set cour­se for Ushua­ia, making the last miles of this trip on board Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha. Once along­side, we went to get the paper­work (immi­gra­ti­on) done and enjoy­ed a cosy evening on board. Next mor­ning, we took to ren­tal cars for an excur­si­on to Har­ber­ton. Cars and – to some degree – roads are available in Tier­ra del Fue­go, we were not in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca any­mo­re, so let’s take advan­ta­ge of that! And that included being able to stop whe­re­ver we felt like it during the trip out, a good 90 kilo­me­t­res on the road. And the­re is some gre­at land­scape in Tier­ra del Fue­go and Pata­go­nia! Moun­ta­ins, wide val­leys, wet­lands, wild rivers, and … trees! We had almost for­got­ten that trees exist, after 3 weeks at sea and in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca. Ama­zing trees. Wind-bea­ten, bent dou­ble and tri­ple, knag­gy and knot­ty, awe-inspi­ring beings. Very impres­si­ve, very pho­to­ge­nic.

A gre­at appe­ti­zer for a lot more of Patagonia’s ama­zing land­scape (if you want more – we have still got some space on our Pata­go­nia trip with Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha in March!

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Har­ber­ton its­elf also tur­ned out to be a very inte­res­t­ing place. Foun­ded in 1886, it is the oldest farm in the Argen­ti­ne part of Tier­ra del Fue­go. The foun­der, Tho­mas Bridges, must have been a bit of a cha­rac­ter. He was found as a 2-year-old on a bridge (hence the fami­ly name) in Eng­land and later beca­me a mis­sio­na­ry. He lear­nt Yama­na (Yah­gan), the indi­ge­neous lan­guage of Tier­ra del Fue­go, and wro­te a dic­tion­a­ry (30,000 ent­ries) and grammar wit­hout which we might not know much, if any­thing at all, about this lost lan­guage. Sheep far­ming had always been important for Har­ber­ton, but was aban­do­ned in the mid 1990s after seve­re win­ters, so today’s inha­bi­tants of the farm, which is still owned by Tho­mas Bridge’s des­cen­dants, are focus­sing on tou­rism to make a living. As a result, we could enjoy the Casa de Te (tea house) and an inte­res­t­ing gui­ded tour to see the colo­ni­al-style his­to­ri­cal buil­dings, remains from the times of acti­ve far­ming, the old, pic­tures­que ceme­tery on a hill within a litt­le forest, lichens han­ging down from the trees. Blue ski­es, white clouds, blue water, white hor­ses. A beau­tiful day.

The next day would not bring more than say­ing good­bye and fare­well, so this was in a way the end of our gre­at trip to Ant­ar­c­ti­ca. Some­thing that we cele­bra­ted duly in one of Ushuaia’s fine restau­rants. What an adven­ture! Refer­ring to the who­le trip, of cour­se, Ant­ar­c­ti­ca under sails. Big thanks to tho­se who were part of it, and thanks for rea­ding! Tra­vel­ling in the south and the blog will con­ti­nue in a few weeks from now in Pata­go­nia.

Tier­ra del Fue­go – 05 Febru­ary 2018

Land! What a plea­su­re, after 5 days at sea. Cape Horn is far off in the west – the wind was just not right to go any clo­ser to it. For the moment, the wind has, at least, taken a bit of a break. It is „only“ blo­wing with 20 knots – from the north, of cour­se. Time to get into more shel­te­red waters. The next storm is sup­po­sed to be just around the cor­ner. The low pres­su­res are pas­sing through one by one the­se days, not taking a rest at all.

Gal­lery – Tier­ra del Fue­go – 05 Febru­ary 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

It feels gre­at to see land again, green islands under a blue sky. The sun is warm­ing, and we spend hours sit­ting on deck wit­hout many lay­ers. Black-bro­wed Alba­tros­ses and Shags are fly­ing near-by, dol­phins fol­low us for a while … life on a boat can be so good!

Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 04 Febru­ar 2018

Anyo­ne who might have thought that we had had our share of wind, water and waves had to rea­li­se that the Dra­ke Pas­sa­ge still had some more in stock for us when the wind just kept get­ting stron­ger yes­ter­day after­noon. The wind­me­ter hard­ly fell below 30 knots and rather went bey­ond the 50 mark. That is force 10 on the Beau­fort sca­le, „storm“, sim­ply and plain­ly. Sounds gre­at, doesn’t it? At least from a distance … alt­hough, I have to admight: I don’t want to miss my turn on the stee­ring wheel in the evening and I mean it! Wild and beau­tiful. The over­whel­ming powers of natu­re. The waves may have been up to 8-9 met­res high, of cour­se the­re is no way of kno­wing accu­ra­te­ly, but that should be quite rea­li­stic. The how­ling of the wind was by no means dis­ap­poin­ting eit­her.

Gal­lery – Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 04 Febru­ar 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Later, Heinz shut the ship down. Engi­ne off, sails redu­ced to the storm fock. It work­ed sur­pri­sin­gly well and life on board was actual­ly quite ok. Yes­ter­day was inde­ed the first day sin­ce Thurs­day or so that we saw ever­y­bo­dy up and about again. Of cour­se, that is some­thing not to be missed: storm off Cape Horn … gre­at!

Now we are back to cour­se and speed again, towards Cape Horn. We have lost 20 hours or so, but now we are on the way!

Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 31 Janu­ary – 03 Febru­ar 2018

31 Janu­ary – 03 Febru­ar 2018 – We have seen a lot of water and many, many waves sin­ce we left Ant­ar­c­ti­ca 3 days ago. On the first day at sea, we could enjoy the rather rare phe­no­me­non of a „Dra­ke Lake“. No wind at all!

It was pret­ty clear that this would not last fore­ver.

Accor­ding to the fore­cast, we could hope for one more day with litt­le wind, but that’s not what we got. Sin­ce the day befo­re yes­ter­day, we have most­ly had around 30 knots of wind (force 7), some­ti­mes more (up to 40 knots, a solid force 8, occa­sio­nal­ly gus­ting up to force 9). The bad thing is: the wind comes almost con­stant­ly from the wrong direc­tion, from north­nor­thwest. No sai­ling wind that makes us fly across the Dra­ke, but nasty head­winds that slow us down to a frus­t­ra­ting 3-4 knots, making the boat move a lot at the same time. Well, it is not one of the­se real­ly hea­vy storms that the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge is so noto­rious for, but still it is a phe­no­me­non how the wind keeps coming per­sis­t­ent­ly from the „wron“ direc­tion in this area which is known for quick wea­ther chan­ges!? Well, is is as it is, we have to live with it, alt­hough enthu­si­asm about the pre­sent wea­ther and sea con­di­ti­ons is not unli­mi­t­ed. Some of us actual­ly dis­co­ver that they are born sea­men, while others keep hol­ding on to a bucket. Just for safe­ty reasons, of cour­se.

Gal­lery – Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge – 31 Janu­ary – 03 Febru­ar 2018

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

It is still about 170 nau­ti­cal miles to Cape Hoorn. That makes for 34 hours sai­ling time assum­ing that we can main­tain a speed of 5 knots. In this case, we will be near land in the night from Sun­day to Mon­day. But often, we are slower. We are kree­ping towards Cape Hoorn met­re by met­re, and we will all be hap­py when we hear someone shou­ting „land“!


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