"No Fair Wind For Us": the RGS Circumnavigation Arrives in Montevideo

Вечерний Монтевидео. Фото участников экспедиции

Weather conditions do not spoil the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society. Winter has already arrived in the Southern Hemisphere, with strong winds and frequent storms characteristic of this time of year. However, the sailing trimaran Russian Ocean Way continues to move south. On the evening of June 3, the vessel anchored in Montevideo. Stanislav Berezkin and Evgeny Kovalevsky shared their impressions of the capital of Uruguay with the readers of the RGS website.

Sailing to Montevideo from Punta del Este, where the Russians were waiting out the storm, took about 18 hours. However, the weather was not pleasant. Brazilian fuel also let them down.

“Set off on June 3 at 6 am. Heading for Montevideo, Uruguay. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the promised tailwind. We got headwind and head current, so the speed was about 2.5 knots. The engine was struggling; bad Brazilian fuel was the suspect. Stas offered to dock at the Port of Piriapolis and buy fuel. However, in Uruguay, the fuel is expensive – about two dollars per liter. We pooled all the local money that we had – we got 3030 pesos. This was enough for 35 liters," Kovalevsky said.

They had to walk about three kilometers with jerrycans to get fuel. But the world is not without kind people.

“Suddenly we see a car; the driver waves to us, ‘Come with me.’ That’s how we get to the gas station and refuel. The kind guy pours us 216 pesos more gasoline than we have the money for. We are going with Diego, that's the driver's name, back. He turned out to be a captain and, of course, having seen the ‘brothers in arms’, he helped as much as he could,” the circumnavigators told.


В гавани столицы Уругвая. Фото участников экспедиции

The trimaran arrived in Montevideo at 23:50 local time. The crew decided to get a good night's sleep until the morning after a hard voyage. They sailed for 18 hours, changing each other on watch every four hours. Fighting the headwind and the current takes a lot of effort.


Евгений Ковалевский и Станислав Берёзкин. Фото участников экспедиции.

In the morning, Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin went to inspect the capital of Uruguay. The city as a whole left a very pleasant impression. It somewhat resembles Europe. There are many interesting monuments here, but there are also enough strange structures, like a big head on a concrete pedestal. The cost of living is very high.

“The prices are about three times higher than in Russia, and twice as high as in Brazil,” said Kovalevsky.


Улицы Монтевидео. Фото участников экспедиции

Everyone is drinking local tea – mate. It seems that this is the main, brightest, and most healthy local tradition. People walk around with thermos flasks, "calabash" cups and straws with filters – "bombillas".

“People sit in pairs on benches, in cars, on the grass. Strolling around. Locals say that this is a national tradition in this region – in Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, and in the south of Brazil," Kovalevsky said.

Everywhere, they walk with dogs who are dressed in different outfits; a lot of people exercise. The local population is friendly and responsive.

“A lot of people run at any time of the day – some in shorts, some in warmer clothes. They play football, volleyball, basketball, American football, rugby, lawn tennis on grass and sand. Uruguay is a sports country, and the people here are friendly – everyone says hello. At the yacht club, many people come up to us, asking how they can help. Today they drove us to get fuel again, and one member of the club named Paulo even gave us a jerrycan," Evgeny Kovalevsky shared his impressions.


Спортивные баталии не затихают и поздним вечером. Фото участников экспедиции

Ahead, Argentina is waiting for the Russian circumnavigators. There they need to find a convenient harbor to prepare the vessel for one of the most important stages of the journey – the passage around Cape Horn.

“Today, June 6, 2022, we will be sailing along Uruguay to Juan Lacaze and then Colonia del Sacramento. In Colonia, we’ll ‘check out’ from Uruguay and go to Buenos Aires," Evgeny Kovalevsky shared the plans.

On July 1, 2021, Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin set off along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Kruzenshtern’s (1803-1806), Yuri Lisyansky’s (1803-1806), Otto Kotzebue’s (1815-1818, 1823-1826), Vasily Golovnin’s (1817-1819), Fedor Litke’s (1826-1829), Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev’s (1819-1921). The international project of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society "Following the paths of Russian explorers" is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia's leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation on the website of the expedition.

Alexander Zhirnov