22 March 2015

Punte del Este

Buenos Aires with the chocolate milk water of the river
The passage to Punte del Este took 36 hr instead of the expected 30.  The direction of the wind did not cooperate as forecasted and the vast majority of our trip was upwind except for a couple of downwind hours at a measly 5 knots or so - barely moving. 
Wing-on-wing downwind
We polished and cleaned, read, and I even did pilates.  Once again we tested our stamina and the boat by bashing against the waves and all held up admirably.

As per usual on the Rio de la Plata, we had to dodge ships - floating and sunken.  Each of the “obstacles” on the chart seemed to magnetically draw us to them.  On my watch, of course, we headed straight toward the famous World War II wreck, “Graf Spree” just before the shipping lanes in the dead of night.  I diligently changed the course of the autopilot to avoid by going upwind and thought I was adjusting the sails accordingly but Milly did not cooperate and kept inching back toward that magnetic pull and frustrating the heck out of me.  In final desperation, I woke up a snoring Peter to come to my aid.  Poor guy, he was rocketed out of his sleepiness to quickly adjust sails to more effectively pinch upwind.  Black as pitch and no time for photo.

On another occasion, again on my watch, another wreck and obstacle in our way, I had pinched as much as I could, I thought, and felt that I had effectively managed the obstacle.  As every sailor should, I wanted a back up plan…turn on engines to change course.  To do so meant I needed light on the engine panel and, thinking I was brilliant, I flicked the instrument switch on our dash board only to have every instrument including chart and radar go off.  SHIT!  I had created a crisis.  Another wake up for Peter.  Some quick orientation to the panel and instruments which he had always turned on and managed.  No more!  This first mate will now never forget how to manage the dashboard and instruments.  Lesson learned - know how to do every iota of the boat myself!  Peter needs to sleep.

On a proud note, I did decide and manage to tidily and properly furl the genoa on my own, turn on the engines and begin to take down the mainsail before Peter made his way to the cockpit without being called in a panic when the contrary wind sent us on a course in the opposite direction to our destination.

I don’t know what adventures Peter had on his watch.  I was trying to sleep.

First view!
We can only imagine what it’s like after crossing an ocean but even after 36 hours, sighting of destination is exciting! Beautiful hills and green sea met us in the a.m.  We arrived in Punte Del Este with strong winds to negotiate tying up to a mooring ball.  Peter backed at full power to the ball and I grabbed it with our Robship hook.  It worked on the second attempt.  A full workout - Peter in concentration and I in upper body conditioning.  
Raising the Uruguayan courtesy flag
In such a strong wind we did not want to head to shore to check in and so had a few beer and peaceful dinner to celebrate our safe arrival at our first port of call, Punte del Este. among the sea lions and jellyfish in our backyard.
Sea lions are aptly named - full mane and foul oral hygiene
Juxtaposed grand yacht with bathtub fishing boat
Next day, on check in we were told to move the boat to the very outskirts, sea side of the mooring balls.  Again another workout to catch a mooring ball in a growing wind which during the night roared and brought in enormous, rolling and, even in our stable catamaran, a little uncomfortable swells.
Fishing boats shared our harbour with grand sailing vessels and motor yachts.
Punte del Este is billed as the best beach resort in South America.  It is a small and more charming Miami Beach.  Set on a peninsula bout 6 blocks wide, it has the calmer waters of the river on one side and the gorgeous surf of the Atlantic on the other.  Miles and miles of beaches are on both shores.
Selling sweaters on the beach. It must be getting cold.

The town itself is full of restaurants and condos with a small and relatively exclusive residential area at the tip.
  Apparently in January and February, it is packed with partiers.  March is the tail end of the season. We saw the last of two very large yachts leave for Europe when we were there. 
Fidelis, 56 m long
The beaches were not crowded and the pleasure craft of the usual beach resorts were few.  Over the five days we stayed, the temperature dropped and the winds from the south were chilly.  Time to head north to our next port and last in Uruguay, La Paloma.
Where in the world is Milly?

No comments:

Post a Comment