Lalo, the Director of Cedenas, Cmdr Guerrero of the Naval Armada, and Rene came out to Sparrow with bread and gifts, to retrieve the dinghy they had loaned me, and with a starting battery. They were gracious and lovely as always, and I was sad to have to leave them.
The starting battery was necessary due to a big mistake I made. The last few days had been without sun, and I had been charging all my devices and not looking at the battery meter. I ran the battery down to the point where the engine wouldn’t start. With lithium that means REALLY low. Sparrow left with a jump starter, but it succumbed to sea water on the way down. Sparrow also has charging options: sail off and use the hydrogenerator, or even wait for the sun to shine. I could have sailed off the mooring. Still, it was a humiliating lesson. Making mistakes is a huge component of sailing and I still make them all the time. The trick is to keep them from being major or life threatening. Natures way of keeping us on our toes.
Speaking of mistakes, I had another near-miss departing. I untied the last line and Sparrow started to move. Much more quickly than I anticipated. I panicked and rushed aft on the boat she was rafted to and had to make a little leap, clutching the lifelines to get back aboard. Then rush back to the engine controls to put her into gear as the shore was fast approaching. Not the smooth departure of my dreams. Then of course I ran over a big patch of kelp.
I had hoped to head West to see some glaciers, but the weather would have none of it. 25 knots on the nose and Sparrow’s 20hp engine is just not up to the task. I don’t recall wanting a big honking engine with a three bladed propeller to match before. So unfortunately no glaciers for Sparrow this trip. As I write I am passing Isle de Estados on my way east after a long sleepless night going through the Beagle Channel. I shall gybe soon to pass south and east of the Falklands. The weather looks good for the next few days, but there are two lows coming off Argentina later next week that I shall have to keep an eye on.