Piriapolis to Falklands: Day 5

Days distance: 35 nautical miles
Total distance: 442 nm
Prominent Feature: slow progress

Today was our worst day mileage wise. We made 34 miles and most of those have been in the last 6 hours since the wind has filled in from the northeast. It was a pleasant lazy day. We ate and we slept. We are beginning to get into the sea going routine and almost caught up on rest. We saw our first Penguins. They were Magellanic Penguins. They looked funny in the water, almost like ducks. I had really only ever seen Penguins on TV and they were always on land looking penguiny not ducky. But like our first Albatross off Ilha Bella, seeing our first Penguins feels like an accomplishment.

This northeasterly breeze is supposed to stick for awhile. It will probably get up to near gale force tomorrow ahead of a frontal passage an southerly winds on Friday. And while the sailing will surely be less comfortable with the growing sea, we are looking forward to making some good miles again.

Piriapolis to Falklands: Day 4

Days distance: 92 nautical miles
Total distance: 407nm
Prominent Feature: Into the roaring 40s

We fought hard to make a little progress last night. The wind was light and changed direction often. Eventually the air became completely still and there was nothing we could do but sit there. The night was as dark as it gets. The sky entirely obscured by clouds. Nothing beyond Dawn Treader could be discerned. A black void. We sat there becalmed under our own masthead light and it felt like we were all that existed. Then it began raining and the millions of falling drops turned the sea into a bioluminescent light show, kind of like one of those dance floors where the squares light up to show you where to put your feet, but multiplied by the vastness of the ocean. Around 3am the wind gradually returned and we have been enjoying a nice sail since. The day is perfect, clear, cool, lots of birds too look at. We took some glorious naps and Deb made an awesome pasta. We are supposed to lose our wind again tonight, but hopefully we can keep Dawn Treader moving as long as possible.

Piriapolis to Falklands: Day 3

Days distance: 85 nautical miles
Total distance: 315 nm
Prominent Feature: Becalmed

We began day 3 becalmed and it ended becalmed. Between calms the wind blew fresh from the west and we still managed to get 85 miles on the days run. We sailed close hauled with a triple reefed main and deeply furled genoa. We made 6 knots. Tending the sails on a moonless night, I saw dolphins swimming alongside, there form suggested only by the disturbed bioluminescent plankton. It looked like some brilliant CGI work, but it was just nature.

The forecast shows continued variable winds for the next day or two, then a cold front passage.

Piriapolis to Falklands: Day 2

Days distance: 115 nautical miles
Total distance: 230 nm
Prominent Feature: passing Mar Del Plata

All last night and into the morning we sailed fast in a 15-20knot Northerly wind. We sailed a broad reach under the genoa poled out to windward and a single reefed mainsail. Late morning the wind tapered off and then disappeared completely. The next few hours we made a few miles catching a slight breeze here and there. An incredible number of moths have landed on Dawn Treader, I guess to take a break. After lunch squalls developed overhead and we managed to eek out a few more miles in the fickle and variable winds of a thunderstorm. Once pushed through the squall line we were greeted by a gentle northerly that is pushing us on course at 3 knots. I don’t expect it to hold long as the wind is forecast to be variable through the night. We are passing Mar Del Plata and there are some fishing boats and shipping around. Many albatrosses, terns, and what I believe to be some sort of giant sooty petrel. I will have to look at the bird book to find out. We are still waiting on our
first penguins. As I type the sails begin to slat and we lose speed. We are becalmed again. I am looking forward to making good progress again with a steady breeze.

Piriapolis to The Falkland Islands: Day 1

Day 1 distance: 115nm
Weather: light southerly then calm. West to North wind filling in through morning and day to 15-18kts. Waves 4-5 feet. Prominent feature: Crossing the Rio de la Plata.

Yesterday late afternoon we left Piriapolis and we left Uruguay. We motored south against a decaying headwind in hopes to catch the first breath of a new fair breeze later in the evening. We cut the engine a few miles offshore and sailed slowly close hauled. A pleasant sunset coincided with the last of the southerly and we were becalmed. A lingering swell made waiting for the wind’s return uncomfortable as Dawn Treader rolled and heaved with vigor. We both became mildly seasick. I started the engine to give Dawn Treader some way in hopes to dampen her spirited motion. Our little ship was like a horse chomping at the bit. After motoring for a couple hours I detected a slight wind. I turned the engine off and hoisted full sail. We made 2 to 3 knots on a beam reach. I hand steered because there was not enough apparent wind for the auto pilot to work. An hour later at 3am the wind was strong enough to engage the auto pilot. It continued to strengthen and we were slicing through
bioluminescent enriched water at 6 knots. I went down to my bunk to finish the watch in comfort, popping my head outside every 10 minutes or so to check on things.

Debbie relieved me at sunrise and Dawn Treader continues at a wonderful pace. Today is great sailing, but our fair wind is suppose to get finicky tomorrow afternoon somewhere off Mar Del Plata. We are sailing toward The Falkland Islands and we hope to make it in a couple weeks.

Preparing to Leave the the Rio de la Plata

A year ago we sailed into the Rio de la Plata. We slowed to a pace I have not known before. We became abstracted to time. Our normal clock keepers became irrelevant: Immigration officers said we could stay as long as we pleased, there was no correct or incorrect sailing season, and our wavering long term plans were not there to pull us along. Hidden on this featureless coast of murky brown water we found a serendipitous paradise. We savored the stillness of the perception of paused time. We made friends. We were part of a community. We rested, deeply, in comfort. We got to know true Uruguayan tranquility and Argentine hospitality.

Our first port on the Rio de la Plata was Piriapolis, Uruguay and Piriapolis will be our last. Rested and ready we once again look south. When the winds go fair, hopefully within a week, we plan to sail to the southernmost town in the world, Puerto Williams, Chile.

Next week, you can track our progress on our delorme tracking page, find the link on the sailing page of our website. This blog post is a test of our email to post function of our satellite phone and will not contain pictures.

We came to the gates of Patagonia a year ago, and now we sail through.

Thanks Juan for encouraging us to write more and for the wine.

Video: Cubic Mini Cub Wood Stove

We are loving springtime in Uruguay, and we’ve made the time to reflect back on winter in Uruguay with our new Cubic Mini Cub wood stove. We hope you enjoy the video!

Thank you Chuck for bringing us the wood stove, and for all the tips on birding!

Integral Water Tank: Summary and Repair

We repaired our integral water tank a few months ago, here in Uruguay. This video is a recap of the build project from two years ago, and details of the recent repair. Overall, the integral water tank has been a vast improvement. It is easy to clean and fill. We are happy to make use of the space below our cabin sole that was filled with foam. The 65 gallon water tank makes long term cruising much easier.


Video: Refinishing the Bowsprit

We move about the world at an irregular pace.  Occasionally we sail fast and appear to be on track to girdle the entire globe in a year.  Other times we seem stagnant, as if we have arrived to our destination and our journey is over.  Of course neither is true for long.  No matter how fast we sail, we will slow down sooner than later.  Dawn Treader, Debbie, and I can only pretend so long before we reveal our true slow natures.  But when we seem most stuck, we are actually purposefully moving to rest ourselves, prepare our boat, and wait for a season to arrive.  Continue reading Video: Refinishing the Bowsprit