Loc: Prefectura Almanza
Acc: Prefectura Ushuaia
Dist: 65,3 km
Start: 6:05 End: 19:15
It has been raining a lot this night, and I had to pack a wet tent…yuck! But the wind has calmed down as forecasted, and I had an easy calm paddle to first see the Prefectura in Moat.
I landed on their gravel beach below the house on a hill, walked up, and knocked on the door…and probably them out of the bed at 8 am…
But Juan, who spoke a good English, was friendly and said he was missing me already yesterday, but when he saw the strong winds he guessed I was camped somewhere south.
I asked him about the emigration possibility in Almanza as announced by the Prefectura Rio Grande, but he confirmed this is not possible any more, and I’d have to go to Ushuaia…maybe he can ask for a Prefectura car to drive me to Ushuaia tonight or tomorrow morning? This would be great!
Juan made a few radio calls, and all was organized – thanks! I will be at the Prefectura Almanza tonight between 6 and 7pm!
The paddle today was a perfect one – no wind and millpond water until noon, and a fresh to strong south easterly after noon! It was announced a north westerly…
I slowly neared the real Beagle Channel entrance, the mountains grew higher and more had snow caps, especially in the far distance toward Ushuaia! Similar, the water got colder, and the air felt more chilly and snowy…
Seeing the Beagle Channel getting more narrow, was a special exciting feeling – I’m in Fjordland! Two big boats passed me, one container ship, and one passenger cruiser, but all on the deep water channel on the Chilean side. I was still hugging the Argentine coast!
Campsites were to see on masse, and my lucky dolphins were around as well. I had to navigate some kelp beds, but basically, once you are getting used to the stunning scenery, the paddle on calm millpond water is quite boring…but no complaints!
As soon as the wind breezed up magically from behind, the water got a bit rougher, and if my boat wouldn’t be so heavy, I could surf nicely along!
The entrance between the large Isla Navarino and Isla Picton leading toward Cape Horn was slowly opening up, and I was yearningly looking into it…but first Almanza, then Puerto Williams!
The last 10 km I was paddling in a maze of small islands close to the Argentine coast, where no big boat was able to be…and I picked the most narrow channel! Nice easy place to paddle…and lots of beautiful campsites!
But I was aiming for Almanza this night! About 5 km short, the dark clouds released a strong cold rain mixed with hail – an amazing spectacle! But it was freezing cold as well…the street lights from Almanza already in sight, a small fishing village with maybe 20 houses, and a hot shower on my mind, it was no big deal.
Eventually a Prefectura car spotted me, already impatiently waiting as I was hiding in a small channel not being able to be spotted from the road…all well!
Juliet, a perfect English speaking rare female Prefectura officer greeted me, guided me into the small wooden building for a hot shower, and told me we will drive to Ushuaia already tonight! Ok…no problem…stamp in my passport tomorrow, and back soon!
The dirt road to Ushuaia, until it met the main road from Rio Grande, was very narrow and winding through the mountains, and I got a bit sea sick on my back seat, as well as Juliet…women… 🙂
But we arrived well in Ushuaia, and my first impression was of a nice international looking mountain village with no high rise buildings! Lots of tourists here…more than inhabitants…the gateway to Antarctica and the end the world…
I got a nice room in the Prefectura Ushuaia, a nice meal served late as usual, and fell asleep late…all good!
There I’ll have a few days rest to organize my Cape Horn loop and to maybe have a bit of x-mas party with some friends!
No long update tonight from yesterday and today, sorry, just typing on my