Hello there, we are still alive and floating, currently on the outskirts of Ascunion, the capital of Paraguay. We have not been near the Internet for about a month, which explains why we did not send Seasons Greetings ' a bit late, never-the-less we wish you a prosperous, peaceful and healthy 2007. Last visit to the internet we only managed to answer a few letters and ran out of time before saying what we were up to, so this time we are sending this before anwereing any mail, we are not ignoring you just slow.
We arrived at the confluemnce of the Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana on 14 December, The Paraguay River forms the border between Argentina and Paraguay and is very different in character from the Parana River; it is muddier, narrower, less current, easier to navigate but it has even bigger weed islands and debris in the water, like half trees etc. We spent Christmas in side river, Rio Tebicuari, a river running across Paraguay; a peaceful anchorage (thanks to Just-do-it) where we were safe from a bad weather system coming up from Argentina. It was almost deserted, except for a local family who rowed past on Christmas day and a few cows coming down to drink. Sobering thought to think that it must have been much the same 2000 year ago! The mosquitoes grew more numerous once we got to the border of Paraguay, as did other insects and therfore the birds. It seemed incongruous that the dusk insect chorus was serious competion to the chorus sung by Kings College, broadcast on the BBC on Christmas Eve. As it is a border we find ourselves anchoring in either Argentina or Paraguay, eventually we put up 2 courtesy flags so no one would be upset.
After spending Christmas in Paraguay, we arrived in Formosa in Argentina for New Year. The folks there were very friendly and we were priveliged to share the start of the New Year with Roberto and family, all of whom sail (some even started in the womb!).
Finally we exited Argentina 10 Janauary, 2 days before the 8 months temporary importation was due to expire. This was at Rio Pilcomayo, a river which forms the northen border of Argentina with Paraguay. We are currently on the other side of the river, which is a suburb on the outskirts of Ascunion at the Yacht and Golf Club. We are at Km1615/871 Mls from Buenos Aires (25.22 S-057.38 W) and it only took 7 months!
Its a bit of an anti-climax finally arriving here, after all the dreaming, planning and struggling against the current. The weather is very hot Min.23, Max 35C average with 90% humidity, and as we have to disappear below at dusk to avoid the mosquitoes, its not exactly paradise. Cruising really is maintance in exotic places; since our arrival here Jess has hardly had his head out of the engine. A diesel leak which was causing us to use twice the amount of diesel was finally fixed, the stern gland needed new packing and the engine mountings, which have been shaking us apart have been Sika-fixed.
What now? Not sure. First thing will be to return down the river, hoping that we will not go aground too often, then we will figure something out and let you know. We still listen to the South African Maritime Radio Net but poor copy at the moment. We are grateful for the radio contact with the Patagonia Radio Net who have encouraged us up the river (8164 kHz 1200UTC) and who we were able to talk to on both Christmas and New Year, as well as our Ham friend Mario LU1JCJ. (Peri-Peri may be interested to know that Six-Pack is sailing around the Horn and avoiding ice at the moment.) Love from us both, Heather & Jess.