Marcy arrived in downtown Buenos Aires in a cold rain. Argentina's gorgeous sail training ship “Libertad” was moored to the wall in the outer basin.
After some awkward Spanglish radio calls and waiting what seemed like endless time for permission to enter a marina – any marina – we were finally allowed into Puerto Madero. After waiting a bit longer for the swing bridge to open for us, we docked and were finally settled for a while. We could stay long enough to complete formalities, then we needed to move upriver and find a spot to refit for cold weather.
We admired the “Libertad” as we passed when we walked to the various offices to check into Argentina: Prefectura, Aduana, and Migracion.
After a couple of days to wait for weather to pass by, we headed up into the labyrinth of creeks, rivers, and bayous of the delta. We wanted to find a quiet spot near marine and industrial suppliers to prepare Marcy for the next leg. By all recommendations, the area for us would be San Fernando, a suburb of Buenos Aires and the regional yachting center . Although not far away in a direct line, the shortcut isn't deep enough for Marcy's seven and a half foot draft so we needed to make a long detour to follow a dredged route. Even so, sometimes the depth sounder indicated that we only had inches of water under the keel. The scenery was beautiful as we motored up tranquil canals, spent a night next to a reeded bank, and made our way to San Fernando.
On the rivers and canals, people are moved about in beautiful old varnished launches.
Sand for cement is dredged and transported, wood for furniture and goods is also moved back and forth on the water.
Rowboats and yachts come out on sunny days and weekends.
The Prefectura watches over all.
We had read that Argentina's yacht clubs and marinas offer free moorage for a time under a system called “courtesia.” As we arrived and tried to find a spot, it became obvious that this system is undergoing change. Not only was there no free moorage, but the rates charged were higher here than we had encountered anywhere else in the world – including expensive Tahiti. At one club, the rate sheet had been lined out only a few days ago and replaced by hand written prices four times higher! With no other options, we spent an expensive night at a yacht club in a pond across the channel, with no power and no easy way to get to town. It seemed clear that San Fernando was not going to be a good spot for refit, and we made plans to return to Urugauy. Luckily, a nearby boat owner, Alejandro, struck up a conversation with us, and was amazed at the rates we were quoted. We later learned that locals would pay in a year what we would pay in a month for moorage. Alejandro taught us a new word, estafa, or swindle. But Alejandro knew a guy, who knew a place......... and in a short time he and his friend Miguel had found a spot for us, negotiated a fair price, and helped move Marcy upriver to Guarderia Neptuno, our new home.
It was nice to be in freshwater as Marcy was caked with salt inside and out. The river rose and fell according to the wind direction. An strong upriver wind produced a high tide.
And when the wind reversed, the water drained out, Marcy's keel dug a hole in the mud, and we remained upright and comfortable.
Ginger met yet another friend, our neighbors young dog.
Hearing Peter admire the wonderful wooden sculling boats, a friend and rowing club member brought one by for Peter to try out.
There are many rowing clubs on the river, this elegant one is upriver a mile or so.
Our neighbors took us on an enjoyable river cruise, their classic cruiser having appropriate draft for the area.
We passed an opulent riverside mansion, now an art museum.
Seattle friends Rachel and Paul flew south for a week in Buenos Aires. We met them at the airport, and had a great time catching up.
We shared an apartment downtown in the San Telmo district. We absorbed the city ambience: shopping, wine at lunch, watching tango, and visiting tourist attractions.
The week flew by, and Rachel and Paul headed off to visit Iguazu Falls and Colonia, Uruguay, and the crew of Marcy set to work installing all our new equipment. Miguel offered to help with the installation of our new diesel heating stove. We've heard that summer weather in Patagonia is very wet and cold, and want to be as ready as we can be. We planned the installation with all the proper tools: tape measure, instructions, and Spanish/English dictionary!
Labels: 2009 - 09 - 12 Argentina, boats of the world