Friday December 15th, 2000

Location

Alongside the yacht club dock, Ushuaia. Southern Argentina


Since arriving in Tierra del Fuego from New Zealand we have spent time in Puerto Williams, Chile - the most southern town in the world, and are now in Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southern city in the world. Both places look onto the Beagle Canal. Puerto Williams looks north, and Ushuaia looks south. Both are surrounded by snow-clad mountains. Both share the Beagle Canal as a waterway. But one that is divided down the middle by an invisible red line.

So, for us to cruise in Chile, we must first of all enter Chile, then apply for a cruising permit, outlining in detail our planned itinerary. To then pickup a new member of the crew or family coming to join us means leaving Chile with passports stamped etc, and entering Argentina at Ushuaia, customs, immigration etc. To go back to cruising in Chile we then need to check out of Argentina (passports stamped etc) and motor the 30 miles eastwards down the Beagle Canal to Puerto Williams and check in again, passports stamped/health/agriculture, and then to apply for a further cruising permit. This obtained we are free to cruise Chilean waters as per our permit, but we have to go back to Puerto Williams at the end of the time, check in, clear out for Argentina, and go the 30 miles back to Ushuaia if we wish to drop people off/pick up new film crew etc. Then, as the best cruising is in Chile - without a doubt one of the most magnificent cruising areas I have been fortunate enough to visit, it is back to Puerto Williams again and repeat the process.

At first it sounds onerous - but when in Rome! And the officials on both sides of the Canal, in both countries are so friendly that it is a pleasure to deal with them. It just means allowing enough time in the planning stages to take account of this too-ing and fro-ing.