Marcy Sailing Uruguay
Our introduction to the coast of Uruguay was a cold, bleak, rainy and windwept anchorage at Punte del Este, perched tenuously at the corner where the Atlantic Ocean meets the big river mouth of Mar del Plata. There was no doubt in Ginger's mind, we had sailed south into winter.
As we launched the dinghy to go ashore for formalities, long ocean rollers swept around the breakwater and rolled Marcy almost gunwale to gunwale. At the landing, a big sea lion guarded the steps.
After clearing in, we noticed many damaged sailboats. We were told that a storm had come through a few weeks earlier, and eighteen boats had been blown ashore from their moorings.
If we hadn't known before, we soon learned exactly what pounding on shore can do to a sailboat. This wing keel used to have flat wings.
How many hours of grinding on the beach rocks took so many inches off of this keel?
Exploring further, we learned that if you paint your fishing boat in Uruguay, only one color is allowed. We've been told that orange is the easiest color to spot for rescue on a rough sea.
After a couple of days in bleak Punte, we headed upriver to the next port, Piriopolis. This country requires checking in with the authorities, offices of “Prefectura” and “Hydrografica,” at every move of the boat. Passports are carefully thumbed through, registration is copied, and much care is taken with keeping track of visitors. Ginger checked in and took advantage of a wifi connection .
The weather improved, and we recorded the highest pressure (1035 mb) of the voyage to date. This was only hours after a low of 997 mb. Our ears were popping.
In Uruguay, older vehicles are maintained and used for everyday transportation. We saw many very cool cars and trucks.
Of course, bicycles are never thrown out either. They are repaired and used forever.
We loved the old pickups.
Moving further upriver (sailing for hours in water less than 10 feet deep!) to the beautiful old town of Colonia, the weather improved even more. We were treated to a gorgeous sunrise as we sailed past some industry.
Sailing in these waters a good lookout is needed to avoid tangling up in fish nets or longlines. Many small boats set gear even in nasty weather.
As we arrived in Colonia, the national flag of Uruguay waved proudly from the point.
Mooring, we snugged up close to the buoy. Marcy's stern barely cleared the row behind, as the moorings in Uruguay are set typically set for 25 to 35 foot boats. Our keel was only inches from the bottom at low water.
Colonia was a pleasant historical town to explore.
A military band played just the right music for an old fortified town.
Peter thinks it would be great if we could fit a cannon on deck. For fighting pirates, or honoring warships and the like.
It is necessary to show a salient feature of life here, which is of course the drink “mate.” People here go about daily life with a bowl of the stuff firmly planted in the crook of their elbow. A friendly senora offered Ginger a taste. Ginger is not yet a convert.
We enjoyed laid back Uruguay, land of mate and old vehicles, but we needed to move on to a spot where we could prepare Marcy for colder weather. So we set sail for Buenos Aires, Argentina.