Sir Ernst Expedition

 

A depression forecast for the next few days was going to delay our progress. Impossible to envisage crossing the Strait of Le Maire between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados [Island of the States] in a 40-45 knot headwind.

After studying several meteorological websites, we decided to stop in Bahia Os Marinos. According to the ‘Patagonia e Terra del Fuego’ guide by two Italian sailors, the “bible” to sailing in South America, this large bay offers excellent protection in strong southerly winds.

As we approached the coast, the boat was surrounded by visitors who were very curious about us; Magellanic penguins, cormorants and in particular Commerson’s dolphins with their distinctive black and white bodies who delighted us with their choreographed performance at the bow of Sir Ernst.

 

 

It’s a sign that we are nearing the “deep south”.

We anchored safely in a spot sheltered by a rugged red-ochre cliff, on the edge of totally deserted beaches. No human in sight, just a few sheep grazing on the dry grass in the middle of piles of impressive looking rocks.

Then we did some maintenance tasks: greasing winches, transferring fuel from jerry cans into the boat’s tank and a desalination session to fill up the freshwater tanks.

In the evening, the water being calm in the bay meant we could enjoy a “gala” dinner: Uruguayan beef, hash browns, chocolate fondant, Argentinian wine and Lagavulin Scotch whisky. The evening ended late in a disco atmosphere that caught up with us at “the end of the world”.

 

 

 

However, we don’t allow ourselves to get distracted by these material pleasures as we all appreciate its true value and how privileged we are to be the only ones on the edge of this distant wilderness.

The night was long as there were no watches. This morning, grey skies are clearing and we enjoyed lunch on the terrace in the cockpit and are now comfortably preparing to set sail around 18:00.

To be continued…

At Bahia Os Marinos on 14th January 2022 – 47°56’547’’ S ,65°46’772’’ W

Pierre Étienne