Summer Wintering in Argentina: the Crew of the RGS’ Circumnavigation Arrives in Buenos Aires

Розовый цвет аргентинских небес. Фото участников экспедиции

On the morning of June 12, the trimaran Russian Ocean Way reached the coast of Argentina. In this country, where winter begins in June, the crew of the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society is going to stay for the next three months. Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin will be preparing for one of the most important stages of the voyage – going to the Pacific Ocean around Cape Horn.

The beginning of winter in the Southern hemisphere seriously complicates the life and work of the crew. The speed of the trimaran in difficult weather conditions has noticeably decreased. On a vessel of this design, it is almost impossible to hide from salt spray and waves – you constantly have to get wet; even warm clothes do not save you from the cold.

“It's incredibly difficult. Wind, humidity, wet all the time. We cough, get runny noses, there is nowhere to warm up. The temperature in our tent is the same as outside. Only there is no wind in it. But we will manage,” assured Evgeny Kovalevsky.


В холодном тумане южных морей. Фото участников экспедиции

At approximately 5:15 local time, the crew completed an 11-hour crossing from the Uruguayan Colonia del Sacramento along the west coast of the giant La Plata estuary. Anchored a mile away from San Fernando Yacht Club on the outskirts of Buenos Aires – the capital of Argentina. The air temperature at that time did not exceed 3°C .

“We got there three or four hours sooner than expected. Night. It’ll be getting light in a couple of hours. A huge reddish moon made mooring easier. We'll wait until morning. Next, we plan to move to the yacht club," Kovalevsky said in an interview with the editor of the RGS’ website.

During the entire crossing, the travelers were remembering the warm welcome they’d received at the Russian Embassy in Uruguay. Stanislav Berezkin and Evgeny Kovalevsky visited an old mansion in Montevideo, which used to belong to the Uruguayan art connoisseur Fernando Darno and is a local landmark. Since 1955, the building has been owned by our country.


В посольстве России в Уругвае. Фото участников экспедиции

The crew of the RGS’ expedition took part in the celebrations of Russia Day that were being held at the embassy. The circumnavigators talked with the Russian ambassador to Uruguay Andrey Budaev, singer from the Moscow State Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre Evgenia Pirshina, told about their journey and the mission of friendship between peoples of different countries to representatives of the press and the diplomatic corps.

“The crew of the trimaran Russian Ocean Way thanks the Russian Embassy for the help and support of the expedition. There is a saying in Russia: ‘Houses and walls help.’ The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Uruguay is a native home, whose architectural and artistic image, as well as the professionalism and cordiality of Russian diplomats, help friendship between our peoples," Evgeny Kovalevsky stressed.

In Argentina, at first, not only the weather turned out to be cool, but also the reception of local authorities. The crew of the trimaran was "visited" by four boats at once: three from the partidos of San Fernando and San Isidro, another, from the immigration department.

“The longest ‘legalization’ has ended today – it lasted more than a day. It all started yesterday. When approaching San Fernando at 5:30 in the morning, we decided to anchor until dawn, so as not to poke into the harbor packed with yachts in the dark. Woke up at 7:30. After eating scrambled eggs and washing them down with mate, we noticed a partido boat with ‘flashers’. All right, welcome, take a look around. But they didn't want to take a look around. The boat accompanied us all the way to the harbor, then stood next to us and, as it turned out, called the partido of San Fernando. An hour later, the second boat arrived. Our questions of ‘when will it be over?’ were always answered with ‘one moment.’ Then another boat came, then another. ‘One moment’ had been going on for four hours, when we were asked ‘How long will you be fixing your vessel?’", said Stanislav Berezkin.

In response, the Russians asked why they were being detained for the fourth hour, and promised to call their consul.

“It seems that it was the call to the consul that made them move. After that, we were escorted to the partido. On the way, they asked us where we would live, and received the answer ‘on the boat.’ The partido tried to fine us. It is unclear why; the charging document was not provided. Then they made a mistake in the date of entry, corrected it. Then they put us in a pickup truck, took us to customs and left. Unlike the partido, the customs took our word for it. They recorded the parking place, gave a certificate of importation, asked to provide the courtesy letter tomorrow (that is, today). The document was given by the yacht club, and at lunch the customs was satisfied. We are Argentines for the next 90 days, and then we will see. I'm learning Spanish," Berezkin shared.

On the morning of June 13, the Russians met with the commodore and director of San Fernando Yacht Club Luis Cesar Martinez Castro. His attitude to the circumnavigators was completely different: he stressed that "we are all sailors here," and promised help.

“We have resolved the matter of fixing the trimaran, preparing it for further sailing, and passing Cape Horn at the shipyard of the yacht club,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.


С новыми друзьями в Аргентине. Фото участников экспедиции

The Russians accepted Luis Castro as a shore crew member. Another new friend of the circumnavigators, Sebastian, helped with trips to local banks. Fixing the trimaran requires funds. However, the circumnavigators have not been able to get Argentine pesos using the Union Pay card from any of the local credit institutions.

The summer wintering in Argentina began with difficulties. We wish good luck to our travelers! They have a lot of important and difficult things ahead of them, but we are sure that they will cope!

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