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Thursday, 10 April 2014

ARGENTINA - Down river to Buenos Aires.

Concordia.

'Oryx' alongside in Concordia



We left Salto with heavy hearts, just after midday. The sail to Concordia in Argentina was swift and thrilling. We hoisted the sails, lifted the anchor and sailed sideways across the river. The current was so strong that we had to use the engine to ensure that we negotiated the narrow shoals without ado. The sail across took all of 20 minutes. We dropped out anchor in fairly deep water off the Yacht Club Concordia and we were still checking to see if it had set, when the sky darkened to the south and a fierce little Pampero blew through. We found ourselves dragging, but stopped just beyond the fishing club.

Anchored off the fishing club in Concordia.

The storm was short lived and no sooner had it abated than the Prefectura rolled up. They requested that we tie up alongside a wall and then clear customs and immigration. We duly complied although with trepidation as our astern gear was not always compliant. However we tied up without incident. Pete went ashore and did the necessary paperwork and then I went to immigration. Whilst Pete was ashore a friendly vendor admired “Oryx” and then offered me a soft drink. After we had cleared in we motored upstream against the current to re lay the anchor off the fishing club.



Concordia is set well away from the river and again the waterfront has been converted to beautifully maintained parkland, with a free a wifi zone. The small arroyo feeding into the Uruguay was an unhealthy looking liquorice colour, although it still seemed able to support fish and bird life. Hopefully the upgrading of the riverfront will continue to improve the state of the water, too.


The beautiful parkland ajacent to the riverfront in Concordia.
We walked into the town. Gone were the tranquil motorists of neighbouring Uruguay. In Argentina the motorcars outnumber the scooters and motorbikes and one has to be alert when crossing the roads. Concordia is what Pete calls a real town as it doesn’t cater to tourists.

Mariano Jorge de Castillo founded Concordia in 1832. It is the second largest city in the Entre Rios province and is renowned for its citrus and fishing festival. The city has many lovely museums and galleries. Dining out was inexpensive and as always the Argentineans we met were friendly and helpful.




Many of the houses were large and opulent, but they were interspersed with smaller more average homes. All the street names are either historical dates or historical characters and as we walked along I was delighted to see that I could add the matching Christian names:
  • Hipolito Yrigoyen
  • Simon Bolivar
  • Juan Domingo Peron
What a super way for kids to learn their countries history! I had not yet picked up the Lonely Planet or surfed through Wikipedia and I was absorbing the facts. Television did intrude, though. I found myself thinking
  • Napoleon Solo! Er, sorry Bonaparte.
 
The opulence of bygone eras.

Poverty is evident, too.

As always Argentina’s politics cause a hint of sadness and Concordia was no exception. On the thirtieth anniversary of uninterrupted democracy the police went on a nationwide strike for higher pay. This unfortunately led to rioting, looting and pillaging and several people were killed throughout Argentina and also in Concordia. This had happened in December and there was a commemorative festival being held on the riverfront.




Outdoor art.

We sorted out a new mobile service provider. We had become complacent about our excellent Internet via cell phone in Uruguay and found the service in Argentina a little frustrating. Argentina has many free wi fi spots, but the Internet by telephone is not very good. This meant going ashore to email! How inconvenient. How quickly we had become used to the recent advances in technology.

We wandered around looking for the Museum of the Open Sky until duh... the penny dropped.



Of course Ernesto was Argentinean, but it is not often that you see his icon. 
The river was high in Concordia.

A mural of La Boca in Quinquela Martin vogue.


We stayed a few days in Concordia and then set off downriver, hoping to stop at the tiny town of Nuevo Scotia. When we arrived there, there were many people swimming and enjoying the beach, but although we had recently told Mick Cooper how pleased we were with our Kobra anchor, here it let us down. It sounded as if we had anchored in a swimming pool, the anchor just rattled along the bottom and we floated by Nuevo Scotia ever down river. Pete looked bemused, but conceded to the current and smooth bottom! We anchored for the night at km 275 (that is km from the S end of the river). As always the trip downriver was much swifter than upriver, with the current helping us on our way,

A meat plant on the Argentinean bank.

     Parque Nacional del Palmar.


The following day we sailed to km 262 and anchored off the National Park del Palmar. This national park was established in 1966 to preserve the palm trees indigenous to this area. The palms are called Palms de Yatay, or yacht palms.

Palm de Yatay.

We rowed ashore and took one of the circular hikes to the ruins and through the forest to a nearby beach. There was a small museum and there were many people camping and enjoying the park. We stopped for a beer, but it was a bit early for lunch, so we returned to “Oryx” and set off for a favoured anchorage on the Argentinean side of Isla Chica.

Relaxing in the National Park.

Huge lizard.



                       Colon.

Our first impressions of Colon as we sailed by going up the Rio Uruguay.


Next stop was the resort town of Colon. We had sailed along the beaches when we were sailing upriver and they had been teaming with people. Although I share Pete’s appreciation for real towns, the child within also loves seaside resorts. I don’t personally enjoy the crowds, but I do love to see shops selling beach balls, buckets and spades and all the paraphernalia, as well as people having fun. Colon seems like a great place to chill out and enjoy a holiday.

The beautiful customs house.


There is the magnificent customs house on the riverfront that has been turned into a tourist information centre. We anchored off a beach, just north of the small harbour, which was crammed with boats. On the beach was an old wreck that features prominently in adverts for Colon. 

Pete's rendition of the Flecha ad.


The sky blue and white colours of Argentina.


Concordia, Colon and the next town Gualeguaychu have thermal springs, but sadly we didn’t indulge ourselves again. We kept delaying and then the weather was unsuitable.
This is a popular brand of ice cream in South Africa! :)



Instead I led Pete on a wild goose chase in search of Molino Forclaz, the areas first flour mill, but the distance on the map was deceptive and after wallowing in the mud for several kilometres we asked a couple of young women for directions, which they gave, but added that it was still mucho legos de aqui. We gave up and wandered back into town. Perhaps I should add that since leaving Uruguay, the weather had changed and the rainy season had begun with a vengeance. There was evidence of flooding everywhere.




Pete befriended three young fellows from a tripper boat and they paid us a visit just before we left Colon. Martin spends the summer months taking visitors on river trips and the rest of the year squid fishing in southern Argentina.

Juan, Martin and Carlos.

         Conception del Uruguay.

Arco iris duo.


At the entrance of Conception del Uruguay.


Next stop was Conception del Uruguay, which, despite the name is in Argentina BUT is on the Rio Uruguay, naturally! The entrance was interesting, we sailed up a tributary and into the town’s dockland, before motoring along a narrow, shoal creek with pontoons of jam-packed boats on either side. 

The town rises beyond the docks.


Prominent statue behind the yacht club.


We found a suitable spot deep into the Yacht Club Entreriano, where we were made welcome. It is a relatively small club, by Argentinean standards, but the facilities were excellent. We showered and then headed into yet another real town. We arrived in the centre of town during siesta, so everything was quiet and we took a long walk around the pedestrian area and explored the parks, before shopping for supplies and rounding the expedition off with yet another fabulous ice cream.

The sun sets over the Yacht Club Entreriano.


We liked this house on its own island of sorts.

Central Park.



Yacht Club Entreriano.

                  Gualeguaychu'.                                 

Looking forward to Gualeguaychu'.

'Oryx' off Gualeguaychu'.
Gualeguaychu’s (pronounced wally-wha-chew, perhaps with a hint of a g at the beginning) name alone made it a firm favourite from the first time I heard of it at Luis’ all those months ago. The town was not a disappointment, although the name merely means big river! The rain clouds had shifted slightly and we negotiated the narrow channel, where we had to anchor before seeing the Prefectura to clear in.

'Oryx' calls on the prefectura of Gualeguaychu'.


We then motored for several kilometres before reaching the outskirts of the town. It was a Sunday afternoon and the riverfront was teaming with people. We motored slowly along the front, intending to anchor at the yacht club. When we got there however, it was too deep and the current was too strong so we circumnavigated the little island of Isla de la Libertad and then anchored near the Prefectura’s boat. In fact they came up alongside and asked us to move a little as where we were intending to anchor, the ground was foul.

Outskirts of Gualeguaychu'.

What a challenging urban renewal project!



Houses big

and smaller on the Liberty Isle.


Gualeguaychu is driven by industry and tourism, although most of the tourists are not international. Carnival in Argentina is fairly low key in comparison to Brazil, but in Gualeguaychu they are trying to change that. The town celebrates carnival every weekend from mid January to late February rather than the more traditional days of fiesta leading up to lent. There is a huge stadium and most of the processions and revelry takes place there. Along the riverfront there are many old warehouses, specialising in costume rental, every day of the week.




You can even rent your wheels!
First view of carnival site.

Pick a seat and enjoy!



Contained living? Would be great in Millbrook at MHC.

Quien?


We were hoping to take a bus over to Fray Bentos in Uruguay, to renew our visas, but the trips were too infrequent and we would have had to spend a night in Fray Bentos, leaving “Oryx” unattended. The river was in spate, so this was not a good idea. Instead we explored the town and relaxed in Gualeguaychu for a couple of days.

Close encounter with a tree trunk!


Saturated streets.



Flooding everywhere.



Railway station and museum at Gualeguaychu'


Castle for sale on Isla Liberdad.

Pete grows nostalgic.

Charter catamaran.

Fishing is popular.

Jam packed quay at sunset.

Before heading for boat repairs and Buenos Aires we wanted to call on the island of Martin Garcia, which is in the delta of the river Plate between Tigre (suburb of BA) and Carmelo in Uruguay. The area in the delta is very shoal in places and a direct approach was not feasible, so we sailed around the sandbanks, but within lobbing distance of Isla Martin Garcia a nasty squall came up, so we turned tail and spent the night sheltering off Isla Oyarvide for the night. The next morning we retraced our steps and anchored on the south western side of the island, near the ferry dock and village.

Rio Uruguay traffic.



Wish upon a cloud?
             Isla Martin Garcia.


The island is owned by Argentina, although it is 37,5 km from Argentina and only 3.5km from the Uruguayan coast. Since 1973 it has been a nature reserve. Juan de Solis, the explorer who ‘discovered’ the Rio de la Plata in the 1500’s, named the island after one of his crew who died en route to the island and whom they buried there.

'Oryx' visits Isla Martin Garcia.

It served as a penal colony and quarantine station from 1811. In 1814 under the direction of Admiral William Brown Argentina built fortifications that helped them ward off a Brazilian onslaught in 1826. The prison has housed many illustrious prisoners including several of the Argentinean politicians, including most recently Arturo Frondisi who was president from 1958 to 1962. He spent 339 days as a prisoner on the island. Juan Domingo Peron who was elected as president of Argentina three times, spent four days as a prisoner here. In 1945 Marcelo do Alvear was imprisoned and before him the famous Hipolito Yrigoyen in 1930. It seems as if it is part of the political process of Argentina to spend a spate of imprisoned on Martin Garcia.




Ruins of the prison.

Fortunately the day was overcast and quite cool, necessitating long trousers and jackets. Pete had been browsing the ‘Lonely Planet’ guide and had read about the mosquito problem on Martin Garcia. Pete belongs to the school of thought that if you own mosquito repellent it ought to be enough to ward off the little buggers, but here we not only took the bottle with us, but actually applied it and somewhat lavishly. The island is verdant and lush.



About 50 families now live on Isla Martin Garcia.

This quaint theatre is still in use.


The doorway is being restored to its former glory.


The day was cool and muggy but the mosquitoes were out in full force. We explored the island, debating on whether we should risk a picnic, but opted for the safety of a restaurant instead. We chose the small de Solis restaurant where we had fried fish and vegetables along with an excellent bottle of wine for a great price. This is the only restaurant to my knowledge where the waitress routinely offers clients insect repellent!


The bread shop.


The Juan de Solis restaurant.

Fortifications dot the island at every high point.
Buenos Aires is the Big Apple!

On leaving Isla Martin Garcia we set sail following the ferry track through the delta for a while, before sailing into the bay and entering the channel to San Isidro. It was weekend again and yachts of all shapes and sizes were sailing about. If you ever have time, look at the aerial photographs of San Isidro and surrounds on Google Earth. You will be amazed at the amount of yachts in the area.

These 'A; class cats came whizzing by.
The beautiful San Isidro Yacht Club at the entrance to the arroyo.


We puttered down the channel and anchored among the fishing folk of San Isidro’s Puerto. This is a now defunct port and is nicknamed ‘Puerto Pirates’. We initially stumbled on it through Shirley Carter of ‘ Speedwell of Hong Kong’. Who in turn was invited to stay by Roberto Ramos on the junk rigged ‘Pampero’. Roberto and ‘Pampero’ are long gone, but we befriended Julio on ‘Robinson’ and when we took our overnight trip to BA to renew our visas, we came and asked him if we could return to the port to do some work on ‘Oryx’. He has subsequently acquired a second boat and was quite happy for us to tie up astern of ‘Robinson’.


Tied up astern of 'Robinson' in Puerto Pirates.

Due largely to the recent flooding Puerto Pirates was a little less salubrious than I remembered. The water was inundated with plastic and looked very unhealthy. Bubbles would rise from the mud and it appeared fairly stagnant, although the ebb and flow of the river Plates eternal contest with the wind probably proves otherwise. As does the number of large fish the fishermen pull out. However, I wasn’t tempted to go fishing or sailing in ‘Crake’ either. San Isidro is the first place I tried to sail in a dinghy. It was a little folding dinghy called ‘Yellow Peril’ that Pete put together in San Isidro in 2009. I had a lot of fun sailing up and down, especially down (downwind) and often had to be rescued by Pete after trying to tack my way back to ‘Pelican’ to no avail.

The defunct port is popular with fishermen.

'Oryx' in San Isidro.

The Rio de la Plata whimsical movements leave 'Crake' above the dock. Notice the bench.


San Isidro is our ‘home’ in Buenos Aires, much like Jacare Village is our ‘home’ in Brazil. We spent a winter preparing to motor sail from Buenos Aires to Asuncion in Paraguay. It is 1600km upriver and was one of our fun trips a few years ago, and then we spent Christmas and New Year of the same year in San Isidro, before sailing ‘Pelican’ back to England so that Pete could start building ‘Oryx’. So we have a dentist in the area, we have a laundromat and I have a coffee shop with wifi access hangout as well as a few favourite restaurants.

Puerto Pirates is popular for fashion shoots!

Our favourite restaurant in  San Isidro.Wood fired pizzas and empanadas. Open weekends only. Have live music.

This kiosk serves cold beer after hours. A stones throw from the port.


Pete immediately set to work on’ Oryx’. He returned the masts to their former glory. He dismembered the rudders and returned them to their designed state. When Pete changed the rudders in Jacare, he wasn’t sure what was causing our leeway, so he made many changes. We had damaged both rudders en route south, so it was a good time to make revert back to the previous rudders. We are both happy with Mr. Kohler’s flip up rudders and Pete has even sorted out the rattle. Pete changed the removable self-steering vanes to permanent fixtures and we are both delighted with the new vanes performance. Pete had spent many hours laying out our mahogany cockpit flooring, but the sun in Brazil had caused the wood and glue to crack and the cockpit was a bit of a mess. When Pete lifted the wood, he found a bit of damp, so our intended trip to Mendoza was cancelled. There was more work to be done.

Rudders and floor await repair.

Painting the mast.







Leaving San Isidro after work was done. Notice our new scull cap.

Our time in Buenos Aires was not all work. We took a day off once a week to explore the city and we socialised. Friends Brian and Marta Kane and their lovely children Seamus and Bianca (Missy) were in the nearby club of Barlovento. We were invited to a barbeque on board Saoirse Mor, before they hauled out and started on their refit. We met Brian and family in Recife when Bianca was only two or three, she is now a beautiful young lady of eight! Seamus, who is ten, is just as delightful and must be the most huggable child around. His generosity holds no bounds either and as I’m typing this I’m recovering from an exacerbation of his cold! Joking Seamus, by the time it got to me it had been intensified elsewhere!

Seamus  hanging about.
Missy at play.
Marta hard at work.
Brian taking a break.
Marta, Seamus and Bianca/Missy Kane.





Teatro Colon

Every time we visit Buenos Aires we rush over to the Theatro Colon, hoping to view the interior. This time we were in luck. The renovations were started in 2005 and were scheduled to take two years. The theatre reopened on May 25th 2010. The budget had quadrupled, the number of labourers had trebled and the time taken doubled, but the finished product was well worth every penny spent. To see an opera or even a ballet at the Teatro Colon has become an item on my bucket list.

The magnificent Teatro Colon.


The Teatro Colon or Columbus Theatre to anglicise the name is the main opera house in Buenos Aires. Acoustically it is rated as amongst the top five opera houses in the world. The original theatre was opened in 1854 and there were as many as 53 operas held there in a year. The new theatre was opened in 1908 when Argentina was in its heyday, at the time it was the 8th richest country in the world and that opulence is evident in the magnificent theatre. Designed by Carlos Pellegrini, the auditorium is horseshoe shaped and seats 2,487 people. (More than the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.)






Our guide, Javier explaining that Argentina was the 8th wealthiest country in the world in her heyday.




Recoleta.

On the same day we took in the beautiful cemetery of Recoleta. We had both been before, but we wandered around admiring the beautiful crypts and ornate headstones before following the crowds to find Evita’s tomb.



Double exposure on a digital camera?

We ended our excursion with a tour of the National Art Gallery. This gallery is exceptional and as far as I’m concerned can rival the Tate and perhaps even the Louvre for its fine collection. This was my third or fourth visit.

Life in the fast lane!
Famous landmark near the gallery.The petals open and close with the sunlight.


La Boca

Other visits took us to La Boca. We simply caught a bus in San Isidro and after several hours alighted in la Boca. Public transport in Argentina is excellent and exceptionally cheap. This several hour trip cost us the equivalent of 30 pence or R5.00! The trains are even more reasonable priced – an hour trip from San Isidro to Retiro in the centre of BA costs 15 pence but you can almost halve that if you buy a Sube card!

Cheap efficient public transport makes exploring BA a delight.

Mural near Retiro.
Sometime the trains provide live entertainment!


We were delighted with the non-touristy bit of La Boca, but a friendly elderly couple called aside and warned us of the dangers of being mugged and directed us to the tourist beat. We were looking forward to a meal in a traditional pub type restaurant, but unfortunately the restaurant had closed.

The real La Boca.



La Boca is a colourful precinct of Buenos Aires near the original harbour. Most of the inhabitants of the area were Italian immigrants from Genoa. Story has it that the majority were dockworkers and they originally painted their houses in the bright colours replicated today, using left over paint from the shipyards. Caminito is the area most favoured by tourists. The name itself means little path and the area, once a landfill and eyesore, was revamped by Argentinean artist Quinquela Martin who painted several murals. His friend, Juan de Dios Filiberto. a tango composer made Caminito famous by composing the tango of the same name.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee79ZmClwzA‎

Today every restaurant has a tango duo dancing for the tourists and on our recent visit we were a little taken aback by how touristy La Boca has become.

Caminito. See the tangoing couple?

Tourist heaven.
Even the trees  in La Boca are multihued these days.

After a disappointing search for our now defunct restaurant we walked back towards the city. We passed the famous football stadium of Boca Juniors and had lunch in another local restaurant.

La Boca once seceded from BA.

Boca Juniors!


The meal was inexpensive and the ambience good, but we had to settle for a view of Carrefour, rather than the bridges of La Boca.

Bridges old and new at La Boca.


We ambled through San Telmo, another famous barrio of Buenos Aires. The streets are lined with antique shops and vendors ply their trade in street markets. On Sundays the atmosphere is even more festive and this is the place to appreciate the Argentinean tango, as many couples dance in the streets for the pure pleasure of dancing, rather than just touting for tourists.

The streets of San Telmo are alive with music.


Reflections of BA.

We reached the far end of the microcenter of Buenos Aires and stopped to admire the Presidential Palace or Casa Rosada. The Casa Rosada faces onto the Plaza de Mayo, scene of political turmoil and protests seemingly throughout the history of Argentina. The first time I visited BA Pete brought me to the Plaza de Mayo on a Thursday afternoon to witness the weekly demonstration of the now elderly mothers of the ‘disappeared’.

The aging mothers of the disappeared still gather in protest on Thursday afternoons.

As mentioned briefly in the blog about Uruguay, many, many students and other young men, suspected of left wing inclinations in the 70’s, were loaded into Ford Falcons by Government agents and then tortured, killed and their bodies dumped into the Rio de la Plata from helicopters! No wonder the famous silver river now runs to a reddish brown! There is a public holiday now to commemorate their needless deaths. This time there were indigenous people from the Chaco camped out in protest. Of course Andrew Lloyd Webber has managed to romanticise the Casa Rosada for me and this is the name given to our cabin on ‘Oryx’.

Plaza de Mayo is always a scene of protest.

Side view of the Casa Rosada.

Our 'Casa Rosada'.

They day had become progressively more overcast, but we headed for the port. This waterfront area has been tarted up and has many splendid restaurants lining both banks. We walked up along south side of Puerto Madeira and then back down the north side where we found what seemed to be an Argentinean version of celebrity chefs being televised. The beautiful pedestrian bridge was the venue for a lavish dinner being prepared and televised as we wandered by!

Porto Madeira on a sunny day. Photographic exhibit of Aldo Sessa´s photographs.

The south bank of Puerto Madeira with its restored warehouses.
Celebrity chef?

The pedestrian bridge decked out for fine dining.


I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of every excursion we took to town, suffice to say we roamed the peatonal of Florida and Lavalle and bought various electronic gadgets at the computer centre. The Buenos Aires we both love seemed little changed although the touts offering cambio now out number the touts for tango shows and on Lavalle some cinemas have closed down and in there place there are a couple of Charismatic sounding churches!

Dog walker pauses to pose!



Tigre.


Why I love Tigre.


Collection flotsam.
Too much flotsam!
Another excursion took us to Tigre. Although San Isidro is ‘home’, Tigre is my favourite suburb of Buenos Aires. There are river buses that ply the waterways and explore the delta. We visited Tigre frequently, as the customs and immigration and the Prefectura are there.


Italian Anti aircraft gun 1929 on cruiser Admiral Brown.

North American AT6 "Texan"

Bosfors 1942 anti aircraft gun.



We visited the splendid Maritime Museum, which has a logbook from the H.M.S Beagle amongst it treasures. It also houses the famous Argentine sailor Vito Dumas’ ‘Lehg II’, in which he circumnavigated in 1942/3.( his book of the voyage is ‘Alone through the roaring forties’).

Pete at the tiller of Lehg II.

Vito Dumas.




We picnicked on the banks of the Lujan and whilst we were sipping and supping our friends on ‘Mollymawk’ sailed into view. We watched them go about, but they were too distant to photograph. We spent the afternoon in the Tigre Art Gallery. Again we were surprised and delighted by the fabulous collection housed in a magnificent building, which was once a casino.

Art gallery in Tigre.




Pete had sent me to visit Brian and Marta and to do a recce of Barlovento. I had all of ‘Oryx’ specifications and Brian’s fluent Portunol. We wanted to haul out to antifoul the bottom.

Colonia del Sacramento - Uruguay.


These new murals caught our eye.

A scene from 'A Hand Maiden's Tale'?



Colonia!

In the meantime our visas were running out and Pete’s birthday was coming up so we decided to sail over to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay for a few days. I was also embroiled in a clinch with my bank trying to change my postal address, so we attended to that in Colonia. The forecast for Pete’s birthday was a bit grim so we stocked up with goodies and sailed to the nearby island of Isla Lopez de Este to seek shelter. En route we sailed into the storm and a bolt of lightening struck the water about 100m from our starboard bow. The strike was so close that we saw and heard the water sizzle with steam, but it happened so quickly that there was no time for fear or action. Unfortunately the strike fried our echo sounder. We had a good time in Uruguay, Pete continued to repair the cockpit and we took a bus trip to Carmelo and said ‘Hi’ to Kenn again.

Conversion of a traditional house on the Street of Sighs.

Street of sighs.

Education.education, education.

Cockpit floor gets a new look with a coat of primer.


We had a pleasant sail back to Buenos Aires, the wind was astern and the sail was very pleasant. We headed for the Arroyo Balena off the Rio Lujan, where Mollymawk usually anchor.

Arroyo Balena.


Up 'Mollymawk's' Creek.


Yacht Club Barlovento.


Yacht Club Barlovento in San Fernando, BA.

We spent the night there and then motored to the Yacht Club Barlovento to haul out. We arrived on a Thursday and there was the complicated rigmarole of clearing immigration, customs and the Prefectura. We were supposed to haul out on the Friday, but Pete had to return to customs to get an interdict to work on the boat. Monday was a holiday so the haul out was scheduled for Tuesday.

'Oryx' makes a rare appearance at a yacht club!


Saturday morning at Barlavento.


We were not supposed to live on board, so we tried keeping a low profile, which included a late night barbecue with the Kane’s and Frans and Anna whilst we awaited the return of the Schinas family. Nick and Jill then threw a party for thirteen or fourteen onboard ‘Mollymawk’ and showed us photos of their interesting and very muddy inland trip.

Mollymawk motors out of Barlovento.



'Mollymawk' in her more traditional spot in Arroyo Balena.

We met an interesting naval architect who also produces concrete furniture. His name is Guillermo and he brought one of his ‘camping cruiser’ across to ‘Oryx’ the next day. He kindly invited us to visit his show room and to a party at his home the following Thursday. This hectic social whirl was the feast after our social famine of the previous several months.

Guillermo assembling the canopy of his camping cruiser.

Jill and Poppy from 'Mollymawk' come to say 'Ola!'

Friends of Guillermo come calling.


On Tuesday when Pete reported to the office at Barlovento to organise a time to 
haul out he firstly discovered that we weren’t scheduled to haul out and then secondly that their crane straps were not long enough, so it meant reversing the interdict, which fortunately wasn’t too complicated, fortunately, Barlovento didn’t charge us for our stay! We then went back to anchor in the nearby Arroyo Balena. 

The Kanes say 'hasta luego'.


Beautiful wooden boat at Barlovento.

We had been to several barbecues and had met a number of interesting sailors and prospective cruisers. Our final week in BA was one social event after the other. The night of Willy’s (Guillermo) party was a little disconcerting as an electric storm raged overhead once again, but as soon as it abated we piled into our dinghies and rowed like crazy to Barlovento, where Willy met us and drove us to his home for a lovely meal and socialising.

This trimaran is one of Guillermo's projects currently being constructed.
Some of Guillermo's concrete furniture.
Note the fire tray on the table.

Seamus and Missy at Guillermo's home.


Guillermo Ribera trained as a naval architect and has worked on many exciting projects worldwide. These include the America's cup, Volvo 70' and an interesting project in Malaysia on a 120' radical racing boat called 'Maiden Hong Kong'.

www.thedailysail.com/offshore/04/48748/frank-pongs-new-118ft-maiden-hong-kong-could-be-the-first-supermaxi-to-take-on-mar



He now works in Tigre and also builds concrete indoor and outdoor furniture.
www.estiloribera.com.ar

Rushing about on Florida.


People joke about the size of the egos of the Argentinean people and especially those of Portenos (inhabitants of BA). My only comment is - if the Argentinean egos are huge, their hearts are even bigger and there is no where else in the world where I feel more respected and dignified than in Buenos Aires and Argentina. (Even when being greeted as I have one foot in the dinghy and the other on a rusty ladder with a gaping maw of polluted water just waiting to engulf my netbook, as I struggle to go ashore!) I love Argentina and Buenos Aires is my favourite city.




We still have to antifoul Oryx and will try and find a beach with enough tidal range a little further south.



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