Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Williams’

This was the day – the day the trip really began. I’d slept my first night on a yacht we were about to head off.

Sunday 21st January 2001

I slept fantastically. I woke up at around 6:30am and was up for breakfast. Ate brekky on the boat – cereal and UHT milk. Breakfast conversation was good, Hilda didn’t get in until 2.30am!

Then we did a few things, we prepared the boat for sailing and we practised some knots. The general standard amongst the group was pretty low. Damien and Pip were very good but Andres and the Canadians didn’t have much idea.

After that we took some team photos and tidied up. Mark did all the customs stuff with our passports etc. Then we were ready to sail at around 10am; except for the fact that there was no wind!

Andres pointed out that Marcus is your typical American – always talking, always eating with a baseball cap on.

We motored out of Ushuaia and we were off, off on the 2041, off on our great adventure – the adventure of a lifetime.

Mark was at the helm and he talked to us about what we were going to do. Our first task was raising the mainsail. We did it bit by bit and after much teamwork and help from Emily, we raised it! (there wasn’t any wind though).

We practised a few techniques and then we decided to have some lunch. Marcus (American – food is his speciality) went down and took charge.

I sat up on the deck watching the scenery. Again, it was nothing short of spectacular! We watched Ushuaia gradually become smaller in the distance. The Beagle Channel was like glass as it was so calm. We went past snow capped mountains and we could see the reflections on the water. We also saw many birds and wildlife. The sun was warm and it was quite beautiful. I even took the wheel for a while and chatted with Mark.

It was when I took the wheel that lunch was ready. Marcus had organised a delicious ham toasted sandwich. We all enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

Then after lunch the wind picked up a lot and we pulled out the Yankee. With the extra sails we had a lot more extra speed. We got up to nearly 10 knots at one stage!

We learned new techniques and new words – luffing etc. We also began some tacking manoeuvres. We all tried the different positions. After a couple of tacks I got the general idea of what had to happen on each tack. I began to get the hang of sailing. It was an excellent, exhilarating experience to be actually sailing! No motor – we got to our destination by sail power.

Then we practised a couple of man overboard drills. We went through the procedures and at one instance we threw the flag overboard and collected it.

Eventually after a great days sailing we made for Puerto Williams (Chile). We arrived and berthed on the jetty.

We did some cleaning up on the yacht and made everything tidy. Mark also did another briefing on man overboard manoeuvres etc.

Then it was free time. We got ready and then had a bit of a wander into Puerto Williams. It is a Chilean naval base so there wasn’t much to the town. We all had a look around – it was deserted. I suppose it was Sunday evening, so nothing was open.

It was a bit of a dump, dirt streets, small houses and unkept gardens and parks.

Wandered back to the boat and looked at the ‘yacht club’.

The others went to the yacht and I had a wander. I walked down the road and to a little bridge. I noticed a car stopped – looking at something on the pond. It was a moving log – a beaver! I went across and watched it for a while. It was great to watch the beaver in the Patagonian wilderness!

Then back to the yacht, wrote in here waiting to work out what happens with dinner. So a great day again today, sailing through Patagonia. Tomorrow it really begins – the Drake Passage, watches and everything. I’m learning a lot about sailing and I’ve even managed to use a clove hitch for a real situation!

We went onshore again to this restaurant that the customs officer recommended to Andres. We all walked up there through the thriving metropolis of Puerto Williams. We found the restaurant and went in. It was only the 2nd day he had been open.

His eyes lit up when we all walked in; we all looked pretty inconspicuous tramping through Puerto Williams with our red jackets etc.

We got there at around 9pmish and had some drinks. It was a bit of a speciality to Latin America, some alcoholic drink – similar to a margarita.

We chatted away and had a great time. We worked out we were eating at the most southerly ‘restaurant’ in the world! Quite a good experience.

The food came gradually, some entrée (a kebab style thing) and then some delicious hot bread. It was yummy.

I had an excellent conversation with Damien – we talked about religion for a bit as well. He asked if I was a bible bashing freak (i.e. want to convert you) – I don’t know how clear I was with my response. He is Catholic and goes to mass every week, but he doesn’t read his Bible. He is quite happy with what he’s got and doesn’t want anyone telling him what he should believe. But we had a good conversation.

The topic of what people thought about each other before the trip came up. Apparently Damien thought I’d be a pain. Hilda said she thought I would be older and more serious. Everyone said I didn’t look anything like the picture on the Intranet!

Anyway, eventually our dinner arrived – it came one by one and mine was the last to come! It was beef and chips and egg and tomato. Not too bad, but I had filled up on bread, so I couldn’t finish my dinner.

It had been a fun night, we had all enjoyed the food and the conversation.

Then finished up and headed back to the boat. I was pretty full – then got ready for be. In and to bed, my second night on the boat.


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