Overland to Buenos aires

Our TTL coach for Montevideo was due to depart at 23:30 but we didn't board until 00:15.

Brazil and Uruguay have a very considerate approach to overnight travellers. One's passport is held by the coach conductor who takes care of all formalities. A declaration is completed at checkin so at borders crossings sleeping passengers are not disturbed.

TTL are not as luxurious as the premium Argentine coach services but their coach was comfortable and the staff very helpful and considerate.

It was an uneventful overnight trip. We passed smoothly through Brazilian and Uruguayan border posts either side of Chuy, stopped at Punta del Este and arrived in Montevideo (Tres Cruces) more or less on time .

I took a Collectivo down to Montevideo Harbour. It was very hot and
Buquebus was a bit chaotic. The self serve checkins did not work and they were having repeated computer malfunctions at the checking desks.

Upstairs prior to boarding it was all a bit of a zoo. Eventually boarding started but large areas of the ferry were cordoned off with the result that there were not quite enough seats made available for all on board.

Uruguayan navy base in Montevideo.

Departure was around 13:00 and three hours later we arrived in a very hot Buenos Aires.

Overland to Buenos Aires

Spent the day de-rigging the boat preparing her for a short layup. The senior marinero indicated that they might want to move Kiriwina at some point. This is not ideal as I know of at least one boat that has been damaged in the process.

I said I preferred that the boat be moved while I was there but nothing happened.

There seems to be a problem with my Sterling digital battery charger. When connected to shore power it emits a continuous clicking but does not charge.

Kiriwina on her mooring at Rio Grande YC.

I left the club at 18:00 and stopped en route to book a ticket from Montevideo to Buenos Aires. In the end I chose BuqueBus. If only because they were the quickest option with a direct high speed ferry to Buenos Aires. Cost Arg$407 (£66).

Embaixador regional coach left Rio Grande at 20:00. It is a stopping service and the trip up to Pelotas took a bit over and hour.

This left we with a couple of hours in Pelotas coach station before catching a TTl coach to Montevideo. It was a rainy night with very few people waiting.


Unusual spiral walkway at Pelotas coach station.

Rio Grande

First job today was to complete clearance formalities. Policia Federal (Immigration) are located centrally, quite close to the club. I spent about 30 minutes there including waiting time. Then I walked down to the Receita Federal in the harbour area about 40 minutes away. At 11:50 I was just a tad too late to get in before the lunch break.

A convenient city bus leaves just outside and I returned to the centre where the bus stops are spread around a central park.

Plaza Tamandare, Rio Grande.



Mural de Agueda just nearby.

I had lunch at Planetarios, a pay by kilo restaurant which offers free wifi. Then I took a bus back to the Receita. Depending on the bus company fares in the central area are between R$2-3.

At the Receita I was seen straight away and then given a lift up to the Capitania by a friendly port agent.

Immaculate office of the Capitaina dos Portos, Rio Grande.

At the Capitania they were very quick and we ended up discussing the merits of sailing up Lagoa dos Patos Porto Alegre.

Afterwards I walked back to the bus station to book a ticket up to Pelotas R$8.70 (£3.30) and from there on to Montevideo R$164 (£62.50).

Rio Grande

After a very relaxing sleep I got up early to tidy the boat and have a closer look at the failed shaft coupling.

It was possible to slide the shaft back and forth with the coupling having no grip at all. This was not supposed to happen. After the last failure I had the Yanmar dealer in Galmpton repair the coupling.

The standard unit is secured with four allen bolts and a "key" which is supposed to locate in a recess on the shaft. None of these appear to have worked and I was unable to tighten the allen bolts. In Galmpton the engineer added a grub screw as added security. This appeared to be functional.

After tightening the grub screw as much as I dared I tested the engine and the coupling held. After weighing anchor at 09:40 we slowly got under way.

Rio Grande shipyard.

After a few minutes I increased the revs a bit and the coupling failed again. The process was repeated with another failure after 5 minutes. After tightening the grub screw a third time I resolved to proceed at minimum revs. The coupling held.

Conditions were more or less perfect with a gentle breeze giving an extra half a knot with the yankee deployed.
At 11:10, approaching inner harbour buoy #01 with 4 miles to go the coupling was holding.

Lots of floating weed patches.

Turkish bulker "Duden" gutted by fire lying at her berth in Rio Grande. Her cargo of urea caught fire off the Brazilian coast and she was towed in by the Brazilian navy. She is currently under arrest and abandoned by her owners.

The old port.

Maritime museum.

Refurbished Hungarian Ganz crane.

More of the old port.

One mile to go and the coupling is still holding. Speed under power around 1 knot.

Maritime museum dock with Rio Grande Yacht Club beyond.

Entry buoys to Rio Grand Yacht Club.

Arrival at Rio Grand Yacht Club. It is quite shallow at the entrance. I had 1.3-1.5 metres.

Conditions remained benign and I ghosted into a visitor berth at 13:40. Phew!

This is a very attractive club. Some of the wooden docks are a bit tired but the facilities in general are very good. The cost is R$1(£0.40) per foot per day which for Kiriwina is R$28 (£10.70) per day. The Real has appreciated some 30% since I first arrived almost three years ago. Brazil certainly seems more expensive now.

Passage to Rio Grande

At midnight the seas were still rough and the wind was steady at SSE F7. Kiriwina was romping along with about half the staysail deployed.

At 04:00 conditions had improved somewhat. Till now we had been keeping at least 25 miles off the coast. We altered to a northerly course directly for Rio Grande. Now deploying 3/4 of the staysail.

Conditions continued to ease. At 08:00 it was fine and sunny with the wind S-SW F5. The staysail was taken in and 3/4 yankee deployed.

At 12:00 we were having a lovely sail. Moderate seas, long swell. Wind S-SW F5. Full Yankee.

By 16:00 I began to wonder if we would loose the wind. After easing to F2 for a while it settled back to F4 Rio Grande was visible on the horizon and we were running under full main and yankee.

At 18:00 we were just over 4 miles of the harbour entrance with a falling wind and slight sea and swell. Our approach lay to the south and west of the main ship channel and we diverted into the fairway at the harbour entrance.

Number 6 fairway buoy at Rio Grande in very favourable conditions.

Big ship exiting the harbour.

Overview: Rio Grande harbour entrance.

West breakwater.

East breakwater.

At the entrance there was a strong flood tide. Just inside Kiriwina's shaft coupling began to fail.

Starboard buoy with strong tidal tail inside the breakwaters.

However, there is ample space outside the ship channel on either side for small craft to anchor. Fortunately I was able to nurse the coupling until we reached a safe anchorage well inside the outer harbour. At 20:15 the coupling failed completely and we anchored of a shipyard clear of the chip channel in 4.3 metres.

I attempted to call harbour control and Rio grande pilots on channel 16 but got no reply.

Outer harbour container berths.

Sunset over the shipyard.

Rio Grande outer harbour looking seaward.

We seemed safe enough so I decided to stay put for the night and see what tomorrow brings.

Trip log 215 miles.
Passage time 2 days and 2 hours. No bad considering that we lay ahull for around 7 hours.

Passage to Rio Grande

Throughout the night we had winds from SE through SW F2-4. The barometer dropped from 1002 to 1000. At 04:00 we were off Cabo Polonia and running under full yankee with one reef in the main.

By 0800 things had deteriorated a bit. I was experiencing my first full gale at sea on Kiriwina. The yankee was furled and we were flying along under the main with three reefs.

If anything we were going a bit too fast with speeds often in excess of 6 knots. The wind was SSE 35 knots and increasing. With the seas and swell building Kiriwina sometimes slid down a wave and on occasion a gust would cause her to lean over and dig her quarter in resulting in her shipping water in the cockpit. This water was slow to drain at times.

Basically we had too much sail up. At 10:45 with windspeed reaching 40 knots in gusts I decided to stow the main and lie ahull for a while. This involved climbing up onto the cabin, securing the sail while ensuring nothing got tangled or fouled. The helm was lashed to leeward.

With this Kiriwina settled down with the wind slightly forward of the beam at a speed of 0.2 to 0.3 knots through the water. Her speed over the ground speed was 2.5-3.0 knots.

It was a lot deeper than 9.8 metres.

Lying ahull in rough seas.

The helm lashed to leeward.

35 knots of wind and increasing.

Calming eddy created by Kiriwina's sideways motion through the water.

By 15:00 the seas were very rough with SSE winds between 35-40 knots. Kiriwina rode easily making good a course of 028º some 25 miles from the coast.

Still lying ahull with the helm lashed to leeward under a dark and gloomy sky.

Around 17:00 the wind eased slightly to between 30-35 knots. I decided to resume sailing and deployed half the staysail.

At 19:00 we were sailing comfortably under a clearing sky. Windspeed was dropping below 30 knots at times.


At 20:00 we were some 24 miles off Chuy on the Brazil/Uruguay border. By midnight the wind had eased to between 25-30 knots. Under half the staysail we were making just under 5 knots.

Passage to Rio Grande

It looked as though today might be the day to leave. The Uruguayan forecast was as follows.

Boletín Meteorológico Marino de la hora 15:00 UTC del 11/12/2010

Período de validez: 24 hs.
1. Aviso de temporal: se formula por rachas de viento del SE y S hasta la fuerza 8 (34 - 40 nudos) para Mar Territorial Uruguayo, Río de la Plata y Río Grande del Sur. Validez: desde las 20 UTC hasta el final del período.
Situación sinóptica correspondiente a la carta de las 12:00 UTC y su evolución:
Frente cálido se ubica en 27oS 58oW, 29oS 53oW y 30oS 50oW. Frente frío se ubica en 40oS 52oW, 38oS 55oW y 35oS 60oW y se desplaza al NE. Sistema de alta presión se aproxima por el SW de Provincia de Buenos Aires.
Mar Territorial Uruguayo
Vientos: N fuerza 5/3. Rotando al S y SE fuerza 5/7, rachas de fuerza 8. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso y cubierto, precipitaciones y tormentas aisladas. Visibilidad: buena a regular. Olas: 1.5 m. evolucionando a 3.5 m. Tendencia próximas 48 horas: vientos: SW y W fuerza 5/6, rachas de fuerza 7. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso, períodos de algo nuboso.

The question for me was whether I would get F5 or F7. In the end I decided to go reasoning that the weather was forecast to ease further north and we were going north.

Our stay of two weeks at La Paloma cost Urg$3208 (£103). Clearance out was slow and relaxed.

Back on board I singled up and in calm conditions eased off the berth at 17:00. The engine seemed to hesitate before giving full power after a screeching noise from below. At 17:15 we cleared the harbour and motor sailed east to clear the sandbanks lying north of La Paloma harbour.

At 18:50 we were well clear and continued under sail. A heavy rain squall passed over at 20:00 followed by SW winds F4-5. Later La Laloma radio called up enquiring as to our well being.

Towards midnight we were having a relaxed sail and the wind began to ease.


No chance to leave today but there just might be a weather window tomorrow. Meantime I decided to take bus ride up to Chuy on the Brazilian border.

Our bus took route 16 up to Rocha where there was a 15 minute layover.

An attractive central square surrounded by shops and businesses.

An attractive theatre....

...alongside a somewhat neglected cinema.

From Rocha our route continued along route 9 past Laguna de Castillo.

We passed through Castillo continued along route 9 past Laguna Negra to Punta del Diablo which is accessed via a dirt road leading down to the coast from route 9.

Colourful holiday homes in Punta del Diablo.

Punta del Diablo and the Atlantic beyond.

From Punta del Diablo we rejoined route 9 and continued on to Chuy passing the Uruguayan border post just south of the town.

Chuy straddles the Brazil/Uruguay border. This is its claim to fame but in reality there is little here to detain the visitor. There are a lot of duty free shops on the Uruguayan side but I saw little of interest.

The Border is on Avenida Uruguay/Brasil. This is the Uruguayan side..

..and this is the Brazilian side.

I had a late lunch and caught the return coach.


La Paloma

Still no sign of a weather window. Northerly and north easterly winds 15-20 knots continued for most of today.

These are forecast to moderate before giving way to southerly winds tomorrow. Sadly the window looks too narrow as strong northerlys are forecast for Rio Grande on friday.

Nancy ran out of time and returned to Buenos Aires today.

La Paloma

This weather really is a bit peculiar. We are pretty much getting alternating days of southerly and northerly winds.

This is unhelpful as we need 2-2.5 days to reach Rio Grande.

The forecast this evening was no better.

Boletín Meteorológico Marino de la hora 15:00 UTC del 05/12/2010

Período de validez: 24 hs. 1. Aviso de temporal: se prevén vientos equivalentes a la fuerza 8 de la escala Beaufort (34 - 40 kt) del NW para
la Provincia de Buenos Aires. Validez: desde las 03 UTC de mañana.
2. Aviso de visibilidad restringida: no se formula.
Situación sinóptica correspondiente a la carta de las 12:00 UTC y su evolución:
Sistema de alta presión con centro de valores superiores a 1018 hPa se ubica en 38oS 58oW se desplaza al NE. Frente frío se ubica en 35oS 50oW, 37oS 43oW, 40oS 35oW y se desplaza al ENE.
Mar Territorial Uruguayo
Vientos: sector S fuerza 6/4, amainando a variables fuerza 2/3. Afirmándose mañana del sector N fuerza 4/6. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso y claro, períodos de nuboso mañana. Visibilidad: buena. Olas: 1.5 m evolucionando hasta 3.5 m.
Tendencia próximas 48 horas: vientos: sector N fuerza 4/6, ocasionales rachas de fuerza 7. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso y claro evolucionando a nuboso.
Río Grande del Sur
Vientos: sector S fuerza 6/4 rotando al NE fuerza 2/3. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso, períodos de nuboso. Visibilidad: buena. Olas: 1.5 evolucionando hasta 4.0 m.

It was a lovely sunny day here. Not to hot and perfect for a walk along the beach.

Cabo Polonia

A brisk northerly this morning meant we would not be sailing today. We decided to visit Cabo Polonia some 50km up the coast.

There is a regular bus service from the coach station in La Paloma.

The bus stop for Cabo Polonia is actually some 7km from the cape. On has the choice of taking a very old 4wd shuttle (Urg$150 return) or walking. We chose to walk.

Goats on route.

Most or the route is over grassy dunes. The 4wd's make a bit of a mess of the terrain. Visitors and or residents are allowed access using their own 4wd's. Cabo Polonia is in the distance.

Dunes extending to the south.

Beach shack two km from the cape.

Sheltered beach on the leeward side of Cabo Polonia. The more expensive and better kept houses are on this side.

The beach gives way to rocks.

First attempt at an I-Phone panorama.

The northern side is much more heavily built with hostels, posadas shops, a shuttle station and a wide variety of private accommodation split between holiday homes and alternative lifestyle permanents. There is no mains electricity but I saw only a few wind generators and one solar heater.

There is a small fishing fleet. Boats are pulled clear of high water on skids.

Northern more exposed beach.

North facing houses on the shore battling erosion.

Most dwellings are small.

Fresh water is drawn from wells.

Many of the houses are home builds.

This was one of the smallest.

The lighthouse...

...with vicious shoals beyond.

A smarter house overlooking the leeward beach.

We caught a 4wd shuttle back. They are mostly heavily converted army surplus that have seen better days. On our trip the suspension bottomed regularly during a very bouncy ride. I preferred walking.

Back in La Paloma the latest forecast indicated a change to southerly winds for 24 hours then back to northerlys. No point in sailing with a south wind only to run into an F6 northerly 24 hours later.

La Pedrera

It was a marginal call this morning. This was the forecast.

Mar Territorial Uruguayo
Vientos: sector S fuerza 3/5, Ocasionalmente 6 amainando. Luego al SE y E fuerza 3/4. Luego al N fuerza 4/5. Asociadas a tormentas probables rachas de fuerza 7/8. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso y algo nuboso. Visibilidad: buena. Olas: 2.5 – 1.5 m.
Tendencia próximas 48 horas: vientos: NW fuerza 3/2, periodos de variables y de calma afirmandose. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso y claro, nuboso al final de periodo.

Río Grande del Sur
Vientos: N fuerza 5/3. rotando al S y SE fuerza 4/6. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso con algos precipitaciones. Probable tormentas al sur del área. Visibilidad: buena. Olas: 3.0 – 1.5 m.

Rio Grande is 210 miles away. Just over two days for Kiriwina at 4 knots. According to satellite pictures the storms were away in the south.

At 09:00 it looked to be blowing F6 outside the harbour. The weather changes rapidly here and I felt the window of opportunity was a bit narrow. We stayed.

Instead we walked 8.5 kilometers barefoot along the beach to nearby La Pedrera. Nice beach and a discreet little resort at La Pedrera.

Remains of the chinese ship "Cathay" wrecked here in 1977.

Nancy and the beach with La Paloma in the distance.

La Paloma

Overnight the forecast northerly of around 25 knots arrived. It made for a slightly more bumpy evening on our mooring.

A calm spell around mid morning gave way to a strong north westerly of 25-30 knots. We are completely sheltered from this wind.

A french single hander arrived this afternoon. With 20 knots plus blowing across the mooring it was difficult to berth. There were five Uruguayan officials standing around but none attempted to help. Another french skipper tried to help by rowing out a buoy line. He was stopped by a very officious and unhelpful Prefectura noncom who threw a hissy fit on the grounds that a lifejacket was not being worn. After bout of chaos a lifejacket was produced and the lines were run out. No thanks to the Hidrografia, Prefectura or Aduana.

I've never seen this type of official down here before. His conduct contrasts with the remarks by President Mujica yesterday about the need for training and investment in developing tourism.

Later we walked the outer breakwater. This seal was taking a nap.

A dangerous rocky shoal extends some way out to sea on the southern harbour approach.

The forecast for tomorrow and beyond. North, back to south. Not helpful. We will be here for a few days yet.

Mar Territorial Uruguayo
Vientos: N fuerza 4/5, períodos de variables fuerza 2. Rotando al S fuerza 5/6. Ocasionales rachas fuerza 8 asociadas a tormentas. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: nuboso, períodos de cubierto con precipitaciones y tormentas. Mejorando mañana.
Visibilidad: buena, períodos de regular. Olas: 1.5 - 2.5 m. Tendencia próximas 48 horas: vientos: S fuerza 5/6 al sector N fuerza 3/4. Nubosidad y fenómenos asociados: algo nuboso y claro.

A Presidential Visit

A northerly force 7 is forecast within the next 18 hours so we won't be leaving today.

On the way into town we noticed a guard of honour at the naval helicopter station adjacent to the harbour.

A naval helicopter swooped in and landed and we assumed it was merely a high ranking officer paying a visit. Not so. Senor
José Mujica, Presidente de la República Oriental del Uruguay was coming to visit.

We thought we would tag along and see what was happening. A new breakwater to the west of the harbour had just been completed at a cost of US$6.4 million. The first stage in a plan to redevelop the harbour and infrastructure.

This chap who, I assume, is the presidential chief of staff was giving an introductory speech. We were waved in by naval police and were front row centre to view proceedings.

Next up the Intendente (Mayor) de Rocha praising the project and welcoming visiting dignitaries.

President Mujica waiting his turn on stage. He is the stocky grey haired chap in sunglasses just left of centre. He looks like a cuddly grandad and seems very approachable.

A fishing boat entering La Paloma harbour as the speeches continue.

Next up Alejandro Ruibal
. Operations director of construction company Saceem who built the breakwater.

Then we heard from the Minister of Works, Enrique Pintado.

Meantime some muscle and two ribbon girls waited in the wings.

Now it was time to introduce Senor Presidente.....

The cameras clicked and whirred as he moved forward.

Not wanting to stand and deliver he took the microphone, sat down on the edge of the stage, and talked about continuity of infrastructure projects and the work they bring to communities across Uruguay.

Lots of media in attendance. TV, radio and press.

The chief of staff looked pleased with proceedings.

The new breakwater being officially opened today.

The ribbon cutting ceremony with pieces being distributed to the dignitaries present.

Time for a photo op as a beaming ribbon girl holds her tray and scissors.

El Presidente takes a walk on the breakwater.

The president receiving an explanation of the project. He has now donned a New York baseball cap.

The chap in the foreground had a wire coming out of his left ear and rarely moved more than a metre away from the President. He also discreetly squeezed out of the way anybody impeding presidential progress.

This is the problem the breakwater is meant to solve. Massive silting over many years has left this dock dry and unusable.

As explanations continue a Prefectura rib patrols in the background.

Nancy got to extend saludos to the President and shake his hand. Sadly, due to a photographer malfunction only her shoulder appears in the photo.

More admirers take the opportunity for a photo op.

The show is pretty much over and visitors start to leave. The muscle keep a close eye on the President.

This is not a pretentious presidency. The presidential Mitsubishi Lancer awaits.

President Mujica jumps into the front seat with the driver and off they go.

Some local fireman also attended.

And there he goes. The presidential helicopter heading south west to Montevideo.

It was very hot. We went to the beach.

Back at the harbour a view of the silting from the other side.

Boat Maintenance - La Paloma

Calm and cool this morning but a strong northerly is due soon.

First job was to tackle the Jabsco toilet pump and see if my theoretical modifications will work.

Sadly these pumps, excellent functionally, are probably not strong enough for live aboard use. This is the third failure I have had to deal with on this 12 year old pump. Firstly in 2008 a cracked water inlet manifold was sealed and built up with epoxy. Then the same repair was needed in August 2010 with the water outlet manifold. So far so good.

This repair was a bit more complex. The top pump housing is attached to the base with 6 self tapping screws. These screw into six studs which are placed under stress with screw removal and tightening and general flexing of the pump when in use.

The joint had started leaking when in use indicating a bad seal. Assuming some gentle screw tightening would solve matters I felt something give. A stud had sheared and close inspection revealed two others with large cracks around the base.

What to do. I might be able to get a new pump in Montevideo but Buenos Aires is the more likely source.

I decided to try a modification. IMHO self tapping screws are evil things and their frequent use on fittings where maintenance requires removal is, IMHO, not helpful. I decided to drill the stud holes out to a diameter slightly larger than the stock screws which would be replaced by nuts and bolts. The studs would then serve a positioning function with the load being borne by the two pump housings.

A walk up to the local ferreteria produced galvanised bolts of the right size. I can source stainless ones later.

All went well and the joint seemed watertight. On reassembly the pump worked perfectly with just a trickle seeping past the seal. A bit of gentle tightening produced a water tight pump. Fingers crossed.

At Punta del Este my hitherto trusty Autohelm tiller pilot ceased functioning. The cause was traced to some corrosion on the connector pins.

After a putting some hours on the engine after replacing the stern gland seal some tightening of the gland was needed to stem a fast drip into the bilge.

Seen on a roundabout on the back way into town.

A nice calm sea now. No sign yet of the northerly wind.

La Paloma lighthouse.

La Paloma

This morning a problem developed with our toilet pump. Too much water was leaking from the top housing. Normally, tightening the screws a tad solves this problem. This time I felt something give.

A mounting stud had sheared off. Oh dear. No spare pump and without a pump we have no toilet. Hmmm. Nearest replacement? Probably Buneos Aires.

We walked into town past the old La Paloma station sadly disused but with the tracks and platform still more or less intact.

Looks like the weather will be unhelpful for a few days so we checked bus timetables in case it was necessary to source a new pump in BsAs.

We found out today that a yacht was wrecked on sunday night in Punta del Este, the same night we were having a robust ride up the Uruguayan coast.

Punta del Este to La Paloma

At one stage the wind dropped down to 11 knots and I considered carrying on. At daylight it was back up to 20 knots.

At 06:20 we steered for La Paloma. It was an uneventful straightforward approach but mooring was a bit pragmatic. Hidrografia staff stood on the dock waving about but with 20 knots blowing across the dock it was extremely difficult to get a line on a mooring buoy and nudge in to get bow lines ashore. At some ports Hidrografia staff assist but not here. Fortunately a french skipper jumped in a dinghy and ran our line to the buoy.

The buoys here are steel, low down with no fendering at all. Not at all friendly to GRP boats. At check in I was reprimanded by the Prefectura for not calling in before entering the harbour. These radio encounters involve lengthy questioning at a time when one is concentrating on navigating the boat into harbour and I mentioned this to the Prefectura. Nothing further was said.

Passage time 21hrs 20 min. Distance 58.21 miles.

Punta del Este to La Paloma

The forecast today was for the calm weather to give way to SE F4-6. I decided to take advantage and go.

First we had to check out. At 10:15 I was in the Hidrografia office ready to pay. They informed me that check out after 10:00 meant paying another day. There was no notice of this on the web site, rate sheet or in the office. Nor were we told about it beforehand. I was not happy and after a brief chat they relented provided we left quickly. Silly really as no other Hidrografia port I have visited tries this and the port was pretty empty in any case.

It was still calm as we rounded Punta del Este and steered NE up the coast.

About 16:00 it began to blow. 10, 15, 20 up to 28 knots. We were fly along having steadily reduced sail to the staysail and 3 reefs in the main.

It was an angry disturbed sea and much more uncomfortable than expected with quite violent boat motion.

It looks better downwind.

The forecast indicated moderating conditions over night. The wind dropped at times but was mostly above 20 knots. with the outlook uncertain I decided to divert in and wait for conditions to improve. At around 21:00 we hove to to wait for daylight. It was a very uncomfortable night bouncing about off La Paloma.

Punta Ballena

This morning we moved on to a dock mooring. The difference here between mooring on a buoy (Urg$292) and on the dock (Urg$372) is about 30%. In some other Hidrografia ports it is 100%.

They got a bit snippy with us saying that the berth we had chosen was reserved and we would have to move. It turned out that the Hidrografia use USA Channel 20 whereas our Channel 20 is European. They heard us call but we could not hear them.

It turned out that the berth was vacant after all and we stayed.

No wind today so we rented a scooter and drove 20km out to Punta Ballena.

Nancy at Punta Ballena with Punta del Este in the background.

It is a lovely spot and we had a spectacular day to visit.

An old fishermans cottage tucked in among the rocks.

Punta Ballena is home to
CasaPueblo. The museum/workshop of the Uruguayan artist Carlos Páez Vilaró.

A gorgeous location and a beautifully eccentric building constructed over many years.

The building is an expression of his never ending conflict with the tyranny of the straight line.

Some of his paintings are on display.

A micro cinema screens an introductory video.

There is a hotel included in the site...

...complete with gardens and a pool.

Late afternoon terrace view west towards Piriapolis.

This makes the fifth none linear artist/architect I have come across. The others being Gaudi in Barcelona,
Hundertwasser in Vienna, César Manrique on Lanzarote and Antonio Padron also on Lanzarote.

Back in Punta del Este we had a red sunset over the marina.

Montevideo to Punta del Este

Throughout the early hours we made good progress but at daybreak the wind began to die away. At 08:00 we were ghosting along under light airs and by 09:30 we were becalmed.

We decided to motor for a while but after three hours with no sign of wind we diverted to Punta del Este at 13:00.

Skyline Punta del Este.

Isla Gorriti off Punta del Este.

Punta Del Este moorings.

Looking for a buoy.

We got no reponse to our VHF calls to the Hidrografia and port control so we just picked up a vacant buoy at 15:20.

Fisherman sell their freshly cleaned catch on the marina quay. Seals come alongside and sometimes jump on the quay for some easy food.

Feeding time for seagulls as well.

Atlantic shoreline at Punta de Este.

Total distance: 75.6 miles. Passage time: 28 hours 20 minutes.

Montevideo to Punta del Este

We left YC Uruguayo at 11:00 under a light ESE breeze and began slowly tacking to the east. Northerlys were forecast.

Smart residential area to the east of Buceo.

Progress was very very slow until the wind backed and increased to N4 around midnight.


A tourism day today.

We took the bus into Montevideo and down to the old port area where we had lunch in the market.

Reminders of the Graf Spee are not infrequent in Montevideo.

One of many fine buildings scattered around Montevideo.


We took a chance on the wind this afternoon and ventured out into a gentle south easterly . The forecast westerly change did not transpire and the south easterly increased to over 20 knots whipping up short steep seas giving a very uncomfortable ride.

There being no hurry we returned to Buceo.


A lovely sunny day in Montevideo today.

Exhibit of vintage Peugeot cars at shopping Montevideo.

Looking eastward over Buceo harbour.

Late this afternoon I took the bus up to Tres Cruces coach station where Nancy was due to arrive from Buenos Aires.


Midnight saw us approaching Montevideo and at 00:25 the Graf Spee wreck buoy was close abeam to starboard.

We crossed Montevideo ship channel at 01:30 and at 03:40 anchored in 3 metres off Playa Pocitos, Buceo, Montevideo.

Moon setting over Montevideo.

Playa Pocitos anchorage.

There was no particular hurry and I slept late. At 10:30 we weighed anchor and proceeded towards Buceo harbour and Yacht Club Uruguayo.

Looking back through the entrance to Buceo harbour.

Yacht Club Uruguayo building and moorings.

A welcoming marinero assisted with picking up a visitor buoy and at 11:00 we were all fast at Yacht Club Uruguayo.

Total Distance 120.37 miles. Passage time to anchorage 37hrs 40min.