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Yearly Archives: 2018 − News & Stories


Ama­lia Gla­cier – 24 March 2018

Puer­to Bue­no lived up to its name and gave us a beau­ti­ful and calm night. Very plea­sant. Which was fol­lo­wed by a stun­ning sun­ri­se and a new wea­ther fore­cast, which gave us some more time befo­re the next peri­od of strong wind is sup­po­sed to come. So we could set cour­se for the Ama­lia Gla­cier, which was gre­at, becau­se we had all been loo­king for­ward to it. We went under sail and sunshi­ne with the view of the Cam­po de hie­lo, the inland ice of Pata­go­nia, in the distance. Gre­at sai­ling.

Sunrise in the

Sun­ri­se in the “Good Har­bour”, Puer­to Bue­no

We were fol­lo­wed by dol­phins on the last miles to the famous Ama­lia Gla­cier, a stun­ning blue ice cliff lea­ding up the the snow- and ice-cove­r­ed moun­tains in the area of the inland ice. Again, we were lucky with the wea­ther and had gre­at views; often the who­le moun­tain sce­ne­ry is hid­den low clouds. Ano­t­her gre­at day!

So, tonight it is sup­po­sed to be win­dy. We have set cour­se for a small bay whe­re the wind should not bother us too much. All the­se gre­at ancho­ra­ges here in coas­tal Pata­go­nia are real­ly a tre­a­su­re. A gre­at con­ve­ni­en­ce and always a sce­nic plea­su­re.

Amalia Glacier

The cliffs of the Ama­lia gla­cier

Gal­le­ry – Ama­lia Gla­cier – 24 March 2018

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

Canal Sar­mi­en­to – 23 March 2018

The wind should have cal­med down over night, and so it did inde­ed. Not that it was real­ly comfy, stan­ding out­side and stee­ring the ship. Still 30 knots of wind on the nose of ship and helms­man, plus a bit of rain and the occa­sio­nal bit of hail. Pata­go­nia.

But then came dif­fe­rent times! Blue ski­es and sun! We fol­lo­wed various water­ways for many miles to the north, enjoy­ing wea­ther and sce­ne­ry on deck. Paso Vic­to­ria, the long Canal Sar­mi­en­to and other big, beau­ti­ful chan­nels most peop­le will hard­ly ever have heard of.

Canal Sarmiento

Blue Sky over Canal Sar­mi­en­to

Bro­ken land. Many the­se chan­nels are drawn like with a ruler, a strai­ght line. They fol­low huge faults, that is geo­lo­gi­cal cracks, in geo­metri­cal pat­terns; sets of fault lines fol­low cer­tain direc­tions and then the­re are several of the­se main direc­tions. Altog­e­ther forming pat­terns that you can clear­ly see on the hills­i­des and on the map. The vege­ta­ti­on is a bit more spar­se here, espe­cial­ly on some light-grey moun­tains with roun­ded tops, which appe­ar to con­sist of gra­ni­te or some simi­lar crystal­li­ne rock.

The latest wea­ther fore­cast cau­ses mixed thoughts regar­ding tomor­row. Our plan is to visit the famous Ama­lia gla­cier, which is said to be beau­ti­ful. But the new fore­cast pro­mi­ses a lot of wind alrea­dy tomor­row. We will have to see how that all fits tog­e­ther. We will see. In the end, natu­re rules.

For the moment, we deci­de to drop the anchor in a litt­le, silent bay cal­led „Puer­to Bue­no“, hoping that the name does not pro­mi­se too much.

Gal­le­ry – Canal Sar­mi­en­to – 23 March 2018

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

Pen­in­su­la Zach – 22 March 2018

After several hours sai­ling nor­thwards in Canal Smyth, the wind picked up bey­ond 50 knots, strai­ght on the nose, of cour­se. After criss-cros­sing a few miles and gai­ning not­hing but cha­os on the gal­ley, we gave up and went rather into a lovely bay to anchor. A small pod of dol­phins (Dus­ky, pro­bab­ly) accom­pa­nied us on the way into the bay, and once the­re, we were wel­co­med by a curious Mari­ne otter. A very friend­ly place!

Marine otter, Peninsula Zach

A Mari­ne otter wel­co­mes us near the Pen­in­su­la Zach

And it did pro­vi­de the shel­ter that we wan­ted. Calm waters and no wind, except from some occa­sio­nal gus­ting. We wai­ted for a strong rain sho­wer to pass through and then we went out to explo­re the area a bit. The name is pro­mi­sing: Pen­in­su­la Zach is named after Wolf­gang Zach, the mas­ter car­pen­ter in Lon­gye­ar­by­en who is buil­ding tho­se gre­at pic­tu­re frames from Spits­ber­gen drift­wood of which we had a few on offer last year (and we will have some more again later this year … ) so, a pro­mi­sing place! We were curious what Pen­in­su­la Zach would have to offer, but it had to be good any­way.

We were not to be disap­poin­ted. Pen­in­su­la Zach is almost an island. Our anchor bay is sepa­ra­ted from the bay on the other side by just 200 meters of dry land (it was actual­ly pret­ty wet). It is a walk of ten minu­tes befo­re you reach a litt­le hill from which you have a view towards a bay in two oppo­si­te direc­tions. The remai­ning direc­tions are occup­pied by moun­tains. A stun­ning pan­ora­ma!

View from the Peninsula Zach

The pan­ora­ma over the Pen­in­su­la Zach was worth the short but wet walk

The coas­tal low­lands were lovely with its low forest – less den­se than else­whe­re – and wet­lands, but we went a bit fur­ther. From an ele­va­ted per­spec­ti­ve, the views were even bet­ter. The view to the sou­the­ast was towards a wide-open val­ley with a river, lakes and a lot of wet­land are­as. The sun sent a bright beam down onto this land­s­cape of water.

Stun­ning!

Gal­le­ry – Pen­in­su­la Zach – 22 March 2018

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

Then it star­ted to rain again, and we made sure we were back on board in time for the Piet-show (the dai­ly mas­ter­pie­ces of Piet, our cook).

… by the way: Pen­in­su­la Zach was named after Franz von Zach, a Hun­ga­ri­an astro­no­mer who joi­ned the famous Bea­gle with Cap­tain Fitz­roy on the first expe­di­ti­on, from 1831 to 1836 (Dar­win was on the second expe­di­ti­on).

Dolphins, Peninsula Zach

Dol­phins accom­pa­nied us on our way into the bay of Pen­in­su­la Zach

Isla Hose – 21 March 2018

Calm night, well shel­te­red? For­get about it … that works well as long as the anchor is hol­ding, but once the wind starts blowing stron­gly from the wrong direc­tion and the anchor is drag­ging, you sud­den­ly find yourself at ungod­ly ear­ly times undo­ing shore­li­nes from trees on steep, slip­pe­ry shores in the darkness and so on. Well, some time later the anchor – both of them, to be pre­cise – went down in the midd­le of the lar­ger bay, and ever­ything was fine again. Back to bed for ano­t­her litt­le while.

Isla Hose

View from Isla Hose over the Pata­go­ni­an archi­pe­la­go

A win­dy day, which kept us insi­de the bay in Isla Hose, enjoy­ing life on board and later making some walk on the island. For some of us who had an uncon­trol­led out­break of moti­va­ti­on for hiking it tur­ned out to be a good bit of a walk, fol­lowing a cou­p­le of hill­tops, cros­sing small wet­lands, very den­se forests and steep slo­pes. Good fun!

Isla Hose

A walk through den­se forests on Isla Hose

Gal­le­ry – Isla Hose – 21 March 2018

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

Cale­ta Pro­fun­do – Isla Hose: 20 March 2018

Magel­lan dis­co­ve­r­ed the strait that he got named after him in 1520 during the famous voya­ge that was to beco­me the very first cir­cum­na­vi­ga­ti­on of the glo­be. A gre­at advan­ta­ge for us: we know that the Strait of Magel­lan exists and whe­re it is, so we can easi­ly enjoy the pas­sa­ge of the eas­tern part, which we do hap­pi­ly while the wea­ther is good for this long chan­nel.

Caleta Profundo - Isla Hose

Ano­t­her beau­ti­ful quiet and remo­te bay and after all: the Sun!

After a pas­sa­ge of 30 hours, we ent­e­red Canal Smyth north of the Strait of Magel­lan, lea­ving Tier­ra del Fue­go behind us now. The anchor went down in a lovely Cale­ta, one of the­se sweet, litt­le bays made by the gla­ciers just for sai­ling boats. It takes always a bit of clim­bing on the steep, slip­pe­ry shores to get the shore­li­nes fixed, which is good fun, and once it is done, you have an almost bombpro­of place for the night, in most cases (still, we usual­ly keep an anchor­watch).

We still had time to explo­re the sur­roun­dings in the morning, and we even had sunshi­ne on top of it! Can you belie­ve it? It had been a while, the­se waters are not exact­ly sunshi­ne coun­try. Still, it is beau­ti­ful here in almost any kind of wea­ther, but of cour­se it is so much more enjoya­ble when the sun is out. All the­se colours! All the­se shades of green in the lush coas­tal forests! The water, the sky, the clouds, the land … breath­ta­kin­gly beau­ti­ful on a day like this. Bay, nar­row chan­nels … A Rin­ged king­fi­sher was sit­ting on a branch as if it was get­ting paid for it.

Ringed kingfisher

Pho­to­shoo­ting with a Rin­ged king­fi­sher

Later, we had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to stretch legs a bit on Isla Hose, kree­ping through the den­se­ly vege­ta­ted forests while try­ing to get up a hill to enjoy some gre­at views. Now we are enjoy­ing a calm night in ano­t­her well-shel­te­red Cale­ta while some hea­vy wea­ther is said to come up out­side. Shouldn’t real­ly bother us in here.

Gal­le­ry – Cale­ta Pro­fun­do – Isla Hose: 20 March 2018

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

Puer­to King – 18 March 2018

We reached Puer­to King yes­ter­day after many wet an win­dy miles. The name see­med to sug­gest a har­bour of roy­al qua­li­ties, at least a fishing vil­la­ge, may­be with a cosy pub at the har­bour … but no, it is much bet­ter: a lovely natu­ral har­bour, exact­ly our size. Par­king kind of in the midd­le of the rain forest, we fix shore lines on three sides, secu­ring the boat per­fect­ly safe. No anchor watch! Good thing, as we all easi­ly agree.

Puerto King

Wet and fun­ny: A walk through den­se rain­fo­rest

It con­ti­nues to rain the next day, which does not keep us from going out to explo­re a bit. After all the rain, the land­s­cape is wet. Water ever­y­whe­re, it is spla­shing with every step you take, whe­re­ver you put your hand. One should not be afraid of get­ting wet here, it is much bet­ter to re-dis­co­ver the plea­su­re that we had as child­ren when we play­ed in the water, then it is fun! The­re is very den­se Pata­go­ni­an rain forest almost ever­y­whe­re near the shore, a cha­os of trees, stems and bran­ches stan­ding and lying ever­y­whe­re, den­se­ly cove­r­ed with mos­ses and lichens. A green cha­os, almost impos­si­ble to pene­tra­te.

A few metres fur­ther up, the rain­fo­rest is giving way to a more open kind of land­s­cape, wet­lands with litt­le streams and rocky hills. The lat­ter are part­ly steep and slip­pe­ry, the fur­ther have grown to be real obsta­cles after all the rain. So you have to find your way through this land­s­cape somehow, which is not always easy.

Pampasfuchs

Curious and signi­fi­cant­ly lar­ger than the Euro­pean Red fox

Back at the shore, a Pata­go­ni­an Grey fox fol­lows us curious­ly for a few metres. They are sur­pri­sin­gly lar­ge, much lar­ger than the Euro­pean Red fox, not to men­ti­on the Arc­tic fox far up north. For a moment the inex­pe­ri­en­ced obser­ver might think to see a she­pherd dog! And the Grey fox is only the smal­ler one of two spe­ci­es that you may find here.

Gal­le­ry – Puer­to King – 18 March 2018

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

Canal Bal­le­nero to Cale­ta Maci­as – 16 March 2018

Canal Bal­le­nero, Wha­lers’ Strait, was just one of many chan­nels that we are pas­sing the­se days. Canal O’Brien, Bahia Deso­la­da … you name it. Unknown pla­ces, names that sound like adven­ture.

We have to make some miles now. We have got 25 days altog­e­ther, a lot of time, but also a total of more than 2000 miles. Stun­ning sce­ne­ry all the way around us. The wea­ther lives up to its Pata­go­ni­an repu­ta­ti­on of being wet and win­dy, but still, we get our lovely moments of sun and patches of blue sky, stun­ning light sur­roun­ded by a sce­ne­ry that might remind one of Green­land or Nor­way, but without losing its very own cha­rac­ter.

Canal Ballenero

Sun­rays play­ing on Pata­go­ni­as fjords

The anchor goes down in yet ano­t­her beau­ti­ful Cale­ta, one of the­se litt­le natu­ral har­bours which were obvious­ly made for ships like hours. The shore­li­nes are fas­te­ned to wind-bea­ten trees, giving us a calm night des­pi­te the strong wind.

Cala Ballenero to Caleta Macias

Shel­ter from the wind in one of many “cale­tas” (Caleta=natural har­bour)

Gal­le­ry – Canal Bal­le­nero to Cale­ta Maci­as – 16 March 2018

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

Cale­ta Beau­lieu – 15 March 2018

It had clea­red up a bit during the night, so it was nice and calm in the morning. Per­fect reflec­tions of the sce­ne­ry around us on the water were the first thing we saw in the morning. The clouds had lifted a bit and now we had a free view of the Cor­dil­le­ra Dar­win: a rug­ged, high-alpi­ne moun­tain sce­ne­ry, stron­gly ice-cove­r­ed with a migh­ty gla­cier com­ing down to the fjord.

And that was the thing for today.

Glacier, Cordillera Darwin

As clo­se as pos­si­ble: Gla­cier, Cor­dil­le­ra Dar­win

A lon­gish Zodiac ride took us to the rocky shore west of the gla­cier. Even without the gla­cier, the place would be worth a visit. Gla­cier-polis­hed gneiss with amphi­bo­li­te len­ses, beau­ti­ful to see no mat­ter if you under­stand the back­ground or not.

And then the­re was the gla­cier its­elf. A migh­ty cal­ving cliff of ice and behind that a cha­os of crev­as­ses and ice towers. The hig­her parts framed by a wild alpi­ne pan­ora­ma and the lower part by – forest! That is qui­te unusu­al for me: eit­her gla­cier or forest, but both of them tog­e­ther, that is qui­te unusu­al for an Arc­tic fox like me. Actual­ly, the gla­cier has obvious­ly advan­ced into the forest qui­te recent­ly: bro­ken trees are lying under boul­ders on the steep edge of the gla­cier. Yes, an advan­cing gla­cier! The­re are not to many of them any­mo­re, but still a few. A shame we don’t have more of them.

Caleta Beaulieu

Eit­her gla­cier or forest? Both!

You don’t have to do much at a place like that, just find a nice spot – the­re were ple­nty of them any­whe­re – and keep an eye on the gla­cier (and the rest of it, for that sake). A per­ma­nent rumb­ling and thun­de­ring, the gla­cier was very acti­ve and pie­ces were con­stant­ly brea­king off and fal­ling into the water. Ama­zing!

Obvious­ly, the hours were going by quick­ly.

After a litt­le rest on board, we went once again for yesterday’s litt­le walk up the moun­tain. Doing it without rain did not do any harm.

Caleta Beaulieu

crev­as­ses and towers of ice and stone

Gal­le­ry – Cale­ta Beau­lieu – 15 March 2018

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

Bra­zo Noroes­te – 14 March 2018

After the sun­ny, calm day yes­ter­day, today’s wea­ther was a bit clo­ser again to Pata­go­ni­an rea­li­ty: wind and rain, a lot of both. An hour was long enough to stretch legs in the morning. Beach, wood­land, wet­land, hill, wind-bea­ten trees, view of Cale­ta.

Bra­zo Noroes­te means nor­thwes­tern arm, and that’s exact­ly what it is: the nor­thwes­tern arm of the Bea­gle Chan­nel, which is split­ting up into two bran­ches at this points. The moun­tains to both sides of Bra­zo Noroes­te are roun­ded by migh­ty gla­cia­ti­ons of the past. Today’s inland ice of the Cor­dil­le­ra Dar­win, which is whe­re we are now, still sends some streams of ice down to the water. Views were limi­ted due to rain and low clouds, but still, gre­at sce­ne­ry. The wea­ther is just nor­mal life in Pata­go­nia. Or, rather, Tier­ra del Fue­go. Pata­go­nia starts north of the Strait of Magel­lan.

We drop­ped anchor in the Cale­ta Beau­lieu in the later after­noon behind a pen­in­su­la with rocky hill, cove­r­ed with den­se wood­land which was giving us shel­ter from the wind. It was pou­ring rain, but that did not keep us from explo­ring the area a litt­le bit, so we made a hike up the moun­tain – and felt like India­na Jones at work. The forest was so den­se that it was dif­fi­cult to get through. Water ever­y­whe­re, from all direc­tions. Lovely! You just have to drop the idea that natu­re is only beau­ti­ful under a blue sky. That is not the case. It is always beau­ti­ful.

Gal­le­ry – Bra­zo Noroes­te – 14 March 2018

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

This was pro­ven by stun­ning views over the fjord and gla­cier, even in the rain. Just gre­at!

Brazo Noroeste

Pou­ring rain, but still a stun­ning view over the fjord with Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha and gla­cier

Bea­gle Chan­nel – 13 March 2018

This is not the first time that „Bea­gle Chan­nel“ is the head­line of an ent­ry of this blog. So far it meant tra­vel­ling from Ushua­ia to the Dra­ke-Pas­sa­ge (or back). This time, not so.

How many times did I see the­se beau­ti­ful moun­tains fur­ther west in the Bea­gle Chan­nel without ever get­ting the­re. So, today!

Mountain view - Beagle-Channel

Moun­tain view – Bea­gle-Chan­nel

We set sail in Puer­to Wil­liams and enjoy­ed the com­pa­ny of many Black-bro­wed alba­tros­ses, shags and even a few dol­phins. South of Ushua­ia a Hump­back wha­le waved us off with his flu­ke. Very friend­ly.

The rest of the day? A sce­nic dream made of sky and sea, islands and fjords. Moun­tains and clouds were mir­ro­red on the water. New islands, new views mile after mile. A dream com­ing true.

Late in the evening, the anchor fell in Cale­ta Olla (Cale­ta seems to be the word for litt­le, well-shel­te­red natu­ral har­bours) under a beau­ti­ful sou­thern sky of stars. No arti­fi­cial light any­whe­re around us! The Mil­ky way, Magel­lanic cloud, the Sou­thern cross … so beau­ti­ful that a small group of us even went ashore to put the tri­pods up in darkness. Well, ama­zing how quick­ly the clouds can cover the sky down here … any­way, it was still a nice way to finish the day.

Beagle-Channel, Caleta Olla

Evening mood, Cale­ta Olla

Humpback whale, Beagle-Channel

Hump­back wha­le, Bea­gle-Chan­nel

Gal­le­ry – Bea­gle Chan­nel – 13 March 2018

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

Puer­to Wil­liams – 12 March 2018

Puer­to Wil­liams! I must have sai­led past Puer­to Wil­liams about 80 times, but I have never actual­ly been the­re. So it was about time! The place star­ted out as a naval base in 1953, so it is not actual­ly one of the world’s gre­at won­ders in terms of archi­tec­tu­re or wha­te­ver, but it has grown a bit into a civi­li­an sett­le­ment which claims to be the sou­thern­most town in the world!
That is cer­tain­ly dis­pu­ta­ble and the result will depend on your defi­ni­ti­on of a town, which will need to be qui­te fle­xi­ble in order to inclu­de Puer­to Wil­liams. But the­re are some shops and small restau­rants (at least one of them is real­ly nice, as we were hap­py to find out), the bow of the Yelcho (the ship that res­cued Shackleton’s men from Ele­phant Island), an ATM and the very char­ming Yacht’s club house, on a boat that is groun­ded in the Yacht har­bour. A lovely place to spend some time and I am sure it has seen some par­ties over the years!

Gal­le­ry – Puer­to Wil­liams – 12 March 2018

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

We went on a „beau­ro­cra­tic sight­see­ing tour“. Some­thing that may be a rather stran­ge approach for a tou­rist visit and it is by no means more inte­res­ting than it sounds. But we had to enter Chi­le offi­cial­ly with the boat and all souls and that requi­res paper­work at a num­ber of addres­ses in town. Not the big­gest place in the world, so that was alright.

And Puer­to Wil­liams is sur­roun­ded by den­se, dark pata­go­ni­an moun­tain rain forests. I am won­de­ring if they have got Ents the­re? I’m temp­ted to belie­ve that the­re must be some the­re! ?

Ushua­ia – 11 March 2018

The pho­tos may seem fami­li­ar. No coin­ci­dence, becau­se this is whe­re we said good­bye and fare­well to SY Anne-Mar­ga­re­tha at the end of the trip to Ant­arc­ti­ca four weeks ago. And now we are com­ing back on board again! Same place … but bey­ond that, not­hing will be the same. Just the first steps are simi­lar, say­ing offi­cial­ly good­bye to Argen­ti­na, get­ting pass­ports stam­ped, lea­ving the har­bour in the evening, set­ting cour­se east­wards through the Bea­gle-Chan­nel, but then … in a few hours, we will go along­side in Puer­to Wil­liams, the sou­thern­most posi­ti­on of the who­le trip! After that, we will con­ti­nue west- and nor­thwards, sai­ling through the beau­ti­ful, stun­ning water­ways of sou­thern Chi­le. New land, new pas­sa­ges, new pla­ces. Good stuff! It is not exa­g­ge­ra­ted to say that we are all very exci­ted about it!

Gal­le­ry – Ushua­ia – 11 March 2018

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

Even the vete­rans of Chi­le and Pata­go­nia, and we do have some on board, are exci­ted. It is such a remo­te, hard-to-get-to-area. The­re is nobo­dy tra­vel­ling the­re, com­pa­red to Ant­arc­ti­ca. It is empty, remo­te and wild. Pata­go­nia, that is Tor­res del Pai­ne, Peri­to More­no and so on for most peop­le. Stun­ning pla­ces for most peop­le, no doubt about that, but what is lying ahead of us is very much dif­fe­rent, and by no means less beau­ti­ful and impres­si­ve. But far off the well-trod­den path! The­re is no infra­st­ruc­tu­re, no gene­ral gui­de­books, no tou­rism.

Pata­go­nia, here we come!

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!

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