Boating the Beagle with Faith

With some friends in tow we all went for an adventure along the Beagle Channel out from Ushuaia in the big catamaran from Canoero. It was an amazing trip past islands filled with birds and seals and the famous Lighthouse at the End of the World. We made it down to the penguins and saw hundreds of them before stopping briefly at Harberton Ranch to let off and board some new passengers. This was the last port of call and we quickly made our way back along the channel to our home port in Ushuaia. Fantastic sights and overall fun time that is not reflected well in this tiny and short, poorly made video. It seems I’d forgotten momentarily how to use the video program. All the same, a memory worth keeping.

Ongoing Repairs

Fixed the Renault 12 again today. As I was working on the starter motor I saw the engine mount had let go completely. So after buying all of the missing bolts, nuts, and washers, today was spent putting it all back together again. Never has the engine sat so perfectly now!

While the engine protection plate underneath was still off, I took advantage of the access, and sealed up the leaking exhaust flange gasket. This time I think it will work.

Finally, after all of this, and changing over our front wheel for one without snow tyres, it was time to fix the starter motor — the main and primary reason for which I started working today.

The problem here was that there was a piece missing from the motor. An important piece. It was the part that caused the gear to engage and, more importantly, to disengage. Acting like a hinge, it was only a piece of hard rubber, but without it nothing worked.

So I made it out of wood. Taking a piece of wood, an electric saw, grinder, chisels, and vernier calipers, I set to work to create something I had never seen so it would do something very precise.

The end result was two pieces of wood carefully crafted to have a gap between them, yet to interlock in place so as to not move or dislodge in use. It worked.

Now I have the starter motor back in the car working perfectly. One more thing fixed. The Renault 12 is ready to roll again.

Moving South

My journey here was long and slow. The bus was delayed 8 hours so instead of boarding at 7pm as expected, I boarded at 3am and we left at 3.40am in the morning. Terrible. I got no sleep until 5am in the morning as we were constantly told the bus would only be another couple of hours each time.

Seeing my friends off at the terminal

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Flash Visit to Buenos Aires

For two days I visited Buenos Aires. The reason? To retrieve my permanent residency that I have been waiting almost 6 months for. The result? They told me it was not ready yet and I needed to come back in another two months. So after travelling the 18 hours to get to Buenos Aires, I spent a night there and returned the next day.

Bus travel

After the jump there are some photos from my visit…

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Swine Flu in Argentina

It seems that the whole world is buzzing with the phrase, “Swine Flu,” and for good reason. A rather potent flu virus that emerged out of Mexico seems to be reaching to every corner of the world. Here in Argentina the first cases arrived in Buenos Aires and since then they have been unstoppable. In my town of Puerto Madryn it arrived through a doctor who had returned from a journey to Mexico.

Puerto Madryn city

The main street of Puerto Madryn.

Each town and city has a similar story. One person came back and did not know they had it, and before it could be contained, more people had contracted it. Until it was too prolific to be controlled. As this flu continues to sweep through most (if not all) the towns in Argentina, some cities are realising that they need to take drastic measures to try and contain it.

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A Train at High Tide

Weaving my way through the crowded Florida Street Mall, it was hard to think of anything other than getting back to my room. The last few days had seen me flat on my back from a nasty flu and even though I thought my strength had returned, this outing had proved otherwise. Any remaining strength was waning quickly as I struggled through the heart of Buenos Aires in the middle of peak hour. This was the last place I really wanted to be right now.

Reaching the entrance to the subway I allowed my feet to slide lazily down the steps while holding onto the side rail and concentrating on staying upright. Passing through the turnstiles it becomes clear that coming here was probably a bad idea. People lined against the edge of the platform from one end to the other. The masses waiting for a train stood in silence, forming a wall over five bodies deep, and a nervousness filled the air while the people waited impatiently for the train to arrive.

The sardines in a can

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Tales of Travel in Argentina

It was 3.50pm by the time I called the taxi agency again. Where was that taxi that they had promised me for 3.45? My bus was leaving at 4.07pm and with a 10 minute drive from here to the terminal, time was getting tight. It shouldn’t have been this way, as I had already arranged everything, which would have given me plenty of time to get down there. Now, as the phone rang, I wondered what had happened to my driver.

The same young girl who had taken my first call and booked the taxi answered the phone again. I introduced myself, “Hi, I’m from the Quintas,” I said, “and I would like to know where my taxi is?” The moment I finished those words, there was a gasp and then a flurry of activity on the other side of the telephone, before she squeaked, “Oh! The Quintas! Yes! The Quintas! Oh my…! I’m sending a car now!” and with that she hung up.

Looking at Madryn city from the Quintas

The view of Puerto Madryn City from the Quintas. It is normally a 10 minute drive to town.

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My Flight Left Without Me

qantas jet

Ok, well, it’s like this… I’m still in Australia even though my flight left (without me) over 9 hours ago.

Tell me about it. Talk about crazy stuff! My bags are still packed, I have a Brazilian visa in my passport (that will never get used), and had all of my travel organized, even down to people I’m staying with and everything. And now I’m not going…
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