18 January 2010

armed with two armadas


you might suspect that the Armada in Puerto Williams doesn't have much to do; the population here hovers around 2500, and most people are either related to Naval personnel or just passing through. But our appointment this afternoon proves otherwise: a Dutch couple with matching trekker-outfits, who have made their way from Holland over the past two years in their 13-meter boat and are planning to sail around the Cape; a small family of Britons whose small girl is mistranslating an admiral's instructions for obtaining visas for Antarctica; three wacky swimmers; and assorted others demanding attention for diverse needs. we finally make it into the map room with a small crew of willing sailors.

the Beagle, despite logistical issues for which we came entirely unprepared-- the Chilean Armada will support us, but only as far as the Argentinian border, which means that we have to prove our credentials not only to the Chileans, but also to the Argentinians who are in Ushuaia, many miles away on the other side of the Beagle-- seems eminently swimmable. the water is slightly warmer than the Strait of Magellan, surprisingly, and the place the Armada will have us swim is a much shorter distance than the 6k we ended up covering last January. On the flip side, we won't have showers or anywhere to warm up after the swim, so we'll have to come prepared to shiver violently in whatever warm items we have.

Once again, we're all amazed at the logistical genius of Lynne Cox, who went this far with absolutely no precedent.

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