To the end of the world?
As we prepared to leave Ushuaia a military band played on the quayside, unfortunately not for us, but for the Chilean and Argentinian tall ships – Esmeralda and Libertad, which arrived with cadets lining the decks. Several other tall ships were anchored in the bay, giving the inhabitants of Ushuaia a more picturesque view than the cargo ships and cruise liner which had been our companions the day before. The voyage crew completed the evac drill and hands aloft on the day of joining in order to be ready for departure on Friday, but the pilot was busy on the Libertad and we had to wait while the band played on and on in the background.
At last the pilot came on board and the tricky task of leaving the quay against a strong wind was accomplished with the aid of a strategic ally placed fender. We motored along the Beagle Channel which was very wide, very cold and very long. Everybody scrambled to put on extra layers of clothing as it rained, snowed and hailed and we thought of Darwin, who had sailed these waters without the benefit of lightweig t fleece and thermal underwear. The pilot stayed on board until nearly the end of the channel – despite its width, the Beagle Channel can be treacherous and we saw a wreck which had run aground many years before.
Once out of the channel we headed south in a bid for Cape Horn. Dolphins and albatrosses were sighted, the swell increased and the temperature decreased as we ventured towards the Southern Ocean and the end of the world.
FS watch: Georgina, Robin, Pip, Dave, Murray, Geoff and Don