After two weeks of Uruguayan hospitality, bureaucracy, Asados, a travel-lift, golden sandy beaches and much more we have extricated ourselves from Piriapolis, and are headed south.
The hospitality will be missed, the bureaucracy not so much, the Asados have built us up ahead of Patagonia, the travel-lift, relocated from Punta del Este following the Whitbread race in 1993 tested our nerve as it dangled Sea Dragon at an in-appropriate angle above the lifting dock before she was put back in the water. After much convincing and a few phone calls they lifted her again this time horizontally – no pasa nada! The beaches are un-spoilt and natural – Uruguay Natural, Uruguay’s Whitbread campaign launched an image of a country quietly, unhurriedly, Naturally going about its business on the banks of the Rio Plata.
We had arrived on a schedule with a long list of jobs to complete not least a gearbox to repair, we needed a lift-out, imported parts, fast service, we stayed a week longer then scheduled … we left happy and doubtless will return to a beautiful un-spoilt land with an abundance of good living, fresh produce, stunning coastline and a pleasant climate. Where nothing happens quickly, hours that became days, threatened to become weeks and the only ones getting stressed about it all were the Gringos trying to go against the natural flow.
Now as we head down the Argentine coast on the edge of the continental shelf, the Wandering Albatross welcomes us to the South, thoughts turn to Mountains, Fjords, Glaciers and the Beagle Channel. Just north of Cape Horn Puerto Williams is the most southerly town in the world and a Chilean Naval post, our destination. The end of the world and the opportunity to once again sign the visitor’s logbook in the Yacht Club and breathe the fresh pure mountain air at sea level.
It is hard to describe how it feels to venture to the bottom of the earth, to be at the southernmost tip of the Americas and know that everyone and everything on the planet is above you, away to the north in a distant world. Where the intense weather systems rolling in from the Southern Ocean squeeze between the Antarctic Peninsula and Andes dictating life. A distinct contrast to Uruguay but still reassuringly Natural.