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Home → February, 2018

Monthly Archives: February 2018 − Travelblog

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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