Delayed Flight

At 10:30 this morning Aerolineas phoned to let us know that our flight 1302 will be be leaving at 02:40 tomorrow morning due to delays on the incoming aircraft?

Scheduled departure is 23:15 tonight. Not a good start but not a disaster as it puts us in Miami mid morning tomorrow instead of early morning.

Pedestrian Crossings

Here in Nunez our local supermarket is a few blocks walk. To get there we pass under General Paz motorway.

The south side is in the city of Buenos Aires. Crossing under the motorway we enter Vicente Lopez in the Province of Buenos Aires.

The city is run by Mayor Macri who, so far as I can see does a pretty good job.

Approaching the motorway underpass and adjacent on ramp.

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The on ramp is very busy a but on the city side there are pedestrian lights. No real problems although some drivers carry on through when the light is red.

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On the other side, in the Province, there is an off ramp with a police checkpoint and a marked crossing but no pedestrian lights. I’m not sure whether this is down to the Provincial government or the local administration in Vicente Lopez.

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Traffic streams down the ramp and totally ignores the crossing. The pedestrian has two options. Wait, often for quite some time or with careful timing step onto the crossing and force the issue. The latter option risks annoying Argentine drivers who are very reluctant to stop at any time.

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Argentine Election 2013

Some weeks ago the primaries were held. The local candidate for the governing Frente Victoria was happy to share his poster with President Kirchner and Buenos Aires Governor Scioli.

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As final election day (27th October) approaches it looks as though the Kirchner brand is becoming toxic.
Now the candidate does not wish to share. On his new poster there is no sign of the president or governor.

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He has money behind him though. These posters are widespread.

Going to Miami

Took a bit of a risk today. Booked return flights to Miami in October with Aerolineas Argentinas.

Their reputation is not good and they operate older Airbus planes on the BsAs/Miami route.

We missed out on some very good fares from LAN as we were waiting for a USA visa confirmation.

LAN Chile fares increased dramatically after their special offer expired unless we chose particularly tortuous routing. We reluctantly opted for Aerolineas with cheaper fares and direct routing.

Fingers crossed.

Costa Concordia Upright

Here she is this morning. Upright but still sunk. Fantastic job by the salvors.
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Costa Concordia

This morning Titan Salvage and their italian partners began to right Costa Concordia with the event being streamed live. 
After an act of epic navigational stupidity by her master
Costa Concordia ended up on a rocky shore partially submerged with a port list of around 70˚.
Here she is in January 2012 not long after the incident.
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Titan won a competitive tender with their ambitious plan to right the ship, re-float her and tow her away to be scrapped. Details are
here.
Here she is this afternoon.
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Her funnel was been cut off during preparations and the previously submerged heavily fouled area is clearly visible.
By sunset she had been moved about 15˚ towards the vertical and all was going well. Outstanding work.
They expect her to be upright by dawn tomorrow.

Bicycle to Waterland

We rented a tandem (€35) from MacBike and rode up to take the ferry across the Ij.
Our route took us alongside canals, through parks and occasionally on public roads. First stop was Broek in Waterland. Then we cycled east to Uitdam and on up across a causeway to the island of Marken.
There is a lovely little harbour at Marken. Completely sheltered and if there is space one can moor alongside for up to three days free of charge.
We had the wind behind us on the way up. Sadly our tandem proved unsuitable for long trips and Nan took a bus back. We returned along the edge of the Ijsselmeer via a track along the restraining dikes.
We passed through Durgerdam and stopped for a drink at Grote Haven alongside an extensive marina tucked away off the Ij.
All told we covered about 50k. I would not recommend MacBike or a tandem. Better to pay a tad more for a good bicycle with proper gears.
Waterland

Rijksmuseum

Just reopened and well worth a visit.
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We almost rented one of these but none were available.

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Enclosed courtyard.

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Barend Cornelis Koekkoek

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Library

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Floor tiles.
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Ceramic Shoes

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Main Entrance.

Sheet Car Repair

Finally found somewhere to repair my Lewmar mainsheet car. Excellent job at a cost of around £39 probably with an element of Gringo Tax.

I tried to drill the screw out and failed, as did a workshop with fixed drill mount. How these chaps did it I don’t know but they even made the insert square so it can’t rotate. Impressive.

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The car body is aluminium with many stainless steel components. Lewmar make no effort to insulate these components. Add frequent dousings with salt water and the inevitable corrosion happens. In my case a screw broke when I attempted removal (In 2008).

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Puerto Sauce and Buenos Aires

This morning things were distinctly bouncy on board with 20 knots of WSW wind. Spent the day tidying and cleaning the boat

This port is exposed from just south of west through to NNW. Water levels can vary by up to 3 metres. This is no problem on a buoy but can be difficult on the dock.

I moved Kiriwina back to about 5m from the dock with enough slack in the lines to allow for vertical movement.

All being well on board I got a lift into Colonia and caught the evening slow ferry back to Buenos Aires.

Puerto Sauce - Winterising

Noticeably colder last night. I ran the Eberspacher for a while and dug out my electric fan heater which has not been used for several years. It was fine.

Added another 22 litres of premium diesel making a total of 86 litres to top up the tank to maximum.

Sprayhood removed and stowed below. Engine hours now 2198. Lube oil and filter changed. The engine bilge was almost dry. I suspect that the source of liquid there may have been a leaking filter on the auto bilge pump.

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Busy day today.

All running rigging stripped and stowed below. Sails and boom removed and stowed below. Dodgers stripped and stowed.

Added 20ltrs of diesel from the jerry can plus 45 litres of premium Esso diesel (Urg$44.9 per litre). Premium diesel is a good deal cleaner than standard diesel from Brazil or Uruguay.

Puerto Sauce

It is a pleasure to be back in Puerto Sauce.

The Hidrografia here couldn’t be more helpful and clearance in at the Prefectura (they have a photo copier as well) was straight forward and quick.

I arranged a mooring until the end of July and hope a buoy will become available by then.

Afterwards I had help to turn the boat around stern to quay and run two lines to mooring buoys. I modified my long lines to the buoys by splicing in thimbles and adding a metre of chain.

Piriapolis to Puerto Sauce - Day 2

Just after 01:00 we passed Isla Flores. With a fair wind and good forecast I decided to continue on to Puerto Sauce. It helped that regular forecasts were available via internet on my phone.

We crossed Montevideo ship canal (km 6) at 04:30. The wind was up to F5 but stayed north. Choppy seas developed. With daylight we were again in the brown waters of the River Plate. Last time we were here was in November 2010.

No real change throughout the morning as we made good progress past Montevideo and turned NE towards Puerto Sauce.

Noon Run: 74.1 miles. To go: 40 miles.

From noon the wind started to die away. By 16:00 it was again mirror calm.

Sunset on the River Plate just before 18:00.

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At 20:00 a light northerly again appeared as we continued to motor.

Just before 22:00 we rounded the outer breakwater and entered Puerto Sauce. A quick circle of the harbour confirmed that all buoys were occupied.

Finally at 22:30 we were all fast on the dock alongside a bigger yacht and old friend, Cabo de Horno.

Trip 116.4 miles. Duration 29 Hours.

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Piriapolis to Puerto Sauce - Day 1

First job today was to get the rudder mounted. This is a very simple job ashore but a tad more difficult with the boat in the water.

The rudder is very buoyant and can be floated into position. Thereafter it has to be weighed down, I use a bucket filled with chain, supported from the top and jiggled into position.

It wouldn’t go. In the end I had to remove the upper pintle then take a swim and dive down to ensure the heel was seated properly. Finally it seated properly. Then with the pintle back in place and the tiller bolted on we were good to go. It was now 14:00.

The weather forecast from Dirección Nacional de Meteorología was as follows.

Río de la Plata.

Vientos: NW y N fuerza 4/5.Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso y nuboso.
Visibilidad: buena.
Olas: Zona W: 0.5 m. Zona E: 1.0 – 1.5 m.
Tendencia próximas 48 horas: vientos: NW rotando al SW fuerza 4/6.
Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso a cubierto con precipitaciones aisladas y probables tormentas aisladas.

This was just fine as long as the wind stayed more or less north. The further it backed NW and W the less I would enjoy the trip. It is around 25-30 hours to Puerto Sauce. There being no reason to stay in Piriapolis I decided to leave and if the weather worsened there was the option to nip into Montevideo.

My mooring bill for 47 days was £360. The office staff were as helpful as ever. This time refusing to print an invoice for review before payment. Piriapolis is one of the better marinas in Uruguay but its unpleasant customer experience make it a place to be avoided if possible.

Next stop was the Prefectura to clear out. On clearing in my details were noted. Nothing else was requested. Now copies of all my documents were required and, no, they would not make copies. I was expected to go into town and obtain the required copies. This despite all documents being on file from a previous visit.

As it happened I was going into town anyway to top up on stores and completed clearance on the way back.

On board it was mirror calm making it easy to squeeze out of berth #50. Piriapolis harbour was cleared at 17:30 and course was set to pass north of Isla Flores.

It remained calm until 23:00 when a light northerly developed enabling us to motor sail.

Buenos Aires to Piriapolis

My surgeon has given me person to sail.

Last night I bought a ticket on Buquebus to Montevideo via Colonia. Sure enough, by using the Uruguay page, I was not charged the Argentine 20% foreign purchase tax.

Rather than risking train or traffic I had a nice trip down from Tigre to Puerto Madero on Sturla Viajes. Very pleasant with coffee and a newspaper thrown in. Their terminal is just minutes from Buquebus.

Buquebus, leaving Buenos Aries at 09:45, was on time to Colonia and Montevideo where I caught an onward bus to Piriapolis within a few minutes.

Arriving back at Kiriwina around 18:00 my correctly prepared rudder was there on the dock. Thanks Laurence.

All was well on board with a completely dry bilge.

Second Eye Surgery

Second Surgery

I had my second surgery this afternoon. More or less the same as before but I remained conscious throughout. Didn’t feel a thing though.

This time silicon oil has been injected into my eye to hold the retina in place. I understand that this is a more invasive procedure but also more robust in holding my retina in place. Whereas the gas would have dissolved naturally over time the oil will need to be removed in about three months.

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Later in the evening my dressing was removed as instructed. My eye was still numb.

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Eye Surgery Failed

Looks as though my eye surgery has failed.

The retina has fallen off again. A second procedure will be required.

Eye Surgery

My surgery was performed at Sanatorio de la Trinidad, San Isidro. It was a very busy place but I checked in and, after preparation, was ushered into surgery pretty much on time.

Ninety minutes later I was bandaged up and sent home with strict instructions re movement and activity. A gas bubble had been injected into my eye to hold the repaired retina in place during healing.


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Uh Oh. I have an eye problem!

Visited Instituto Oftalmológico del Norte this afternoon. After looking at my eye for 30 seconds the doctor ushered me into see a specialist.

He had a longer look and stated that immediate surgery was necessary. The next slot was tomorrow at 14:00.

My left retina was badly detached with two tears and a hole. This is quite serious.

Payment was arranged and surgery confirmed for tomorrow.

The boat will have to stay in Piriapolis for a while.

Back to Buenos Aires

A curious development this morning. I seem to have drastically reduced vision in my left eye. The cause was not obvious.

Andre caught a bus from Punta del Este and I boarded in Piriapolis. Destination Tres Cruces terminal in Montevideo.

While there I questioned Buquebus on why I had been charged a 20% foreign purchase tax levied by the Argentine government. No help there.

We took a Buquebus coach to Colonia connecting to the slow evening ferry to Buenos Aires where we docked around 22:00

Arrived at Piriapolis

Up reasonably early for departure at 08:20. Andre arrived back around 08:00 after a long night out.

It was bit fiddly leaving berth 319. One has to be very careful with mooring buoy chains.
Initially we made good progress under sail with a NNW wind but around 11:00 the wind backed W and we began to motor tack against a strong ebb.

Progress was very slow and we took over 8 hours to cover 20 miles.

Arriving at Piriapolis just after 17:00 we found the port almost full but at 17:30 we were all fast at berth #50.

The rudder was removed for repair and the plan is to return to BsAs for a few days before moving the boat round to Puerto Sauce.


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Rio Grande to Punta del Este - Day 4

Conditions remained stable from midnight and the sea and swell eased as we closed the coast of Uruguay.

It was a sleigh ride down to Punta del Este where we rounded Bajo del Este buoy at 06:07. At 07:00 we were all fast on Buoy #526 at Punta del Este.

Distance from Rio Grande, 256.8 miles. Average speed 3.88 knots.

The weather then deteriorated with frequent squalls and heavy rain at times.

Outer breakwater at Punta Del Este.

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Only a few outer buoys remained vacant.

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We decided not to go ashore and had a good sleep. Later we ate our fresh Swordfish steaks. Very nice.




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Rio Grande to Punta del Este - Day 3

Winds increased to F5-6 overnight with rough seas and a big swell. The yankee was furled and we made good progress under main (3 reefs) and staysail.

Seas were fine on the port quarter but the Aries steered well. As noon approached winds were gusting to 30 knots at times.

Noon run: 100.02 miles. Punta del Este 80 miles. La Paloma 32 miles.

Robust conditions continued through the afternoon and evening with clear skies appearing at times.

La Paloma lighthouse was abeam to port at 19:30.

Rio Grande to Punta del Este - Day 2

Overnight the seas roughened as the wind increased to ESE F6.

Noon run from berth 76.08 miles. Punta del Este 193 miles.

During the afternoon the wind backed to the east and eased to F4. We made good progress under main (3 reefs),
½ yankee and staysail.

Andre caught a Brazilian swordfish with his trailing line. A vicious looking thing that had us hopping about the cockpit when it wriggled off the hook.

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No change during the evening as we made good progress with the wind on the port quarter.