Curlew is in Grenada having vital repairs made before any further sailing. She is getting on for 40 years old and needs patches welded over her hull.
At some point in the future I would like to sail to Antarctica to attempt Mount Vinson, the highest mountain on that continent, but getting a sailboat down to the end of South America is tricky due to contrary winds and currents on both sides of the landmass. So after climbing Aconcagua, and whilst Curlew was being repaired, I decided to reconnoiter Chile’s and Argentina’s coasts for a possible sailing trip down to Ushuaia in the future. I wanted to see the feasible ports and havens available to a fairly small sailboat, and to see the ports of Ushuaia, Punta Arenas and Puerta Natales.
So we are just back in Santiago, Chile, after an epic 9,849 kms trip by road: a recce of these locations . Another 200 or so and it would be a quarter of the way around the world- it certainly felt that far.
Due to Gina’s amazing powers of organisation we saw:
Wineries, where we blended our own wine, and heard monks singing to barrels in the cellar.
Went down a coal-mine, and were then pulled by huskies on a cart.
Drove down the Carretera Austral- the gravel highway through southern Chile- and saw 1,000 year-old trees.
Checked the havens of Valdivia, Santa Cruz, crossed the Magellan Straits and camped in Ushuaia.
Saw flamingos in front of the Torres del Paine, and penguins in front of the Atlantic.
Sat in thermal baths next to a volcano, and drank tea in a Welsh-speaking tea-shop.
Watched sea-lions eating in a fish-market while the Tango was danced in the square.
My conclusions are that Curlew is not really the right boat for these stormy and contrary waters, so I will try to return to Ushuaia and the Drake Passage to Antarctica in another, stronger vessel.
Next we have to get back to the Caribbean, and get Curlew ready for her next voyage: westwards towards the Panama Canal.