Sunday, January 7, 2001

Beagle Channel, Argentina II

“I’m just coming up here to ask how you’d like your steak cooked. It some really lovely meat we’ve got for the grill.”

Things are definitely looking up.

“Be careful what you say, we have to stay together for four weeks.”
“It’s not four weeks. It’s only 27 days.”

But who’s counting.

“Will we ever be this happy again?”
“Yeah, on the way home.”

We sit in the lingering evening sun, motoring out at a steady six knots through the Beagle Channel, away from Ushuaia. We drink red wine, conversations in three different languages ebb and flow across the narrow deck. Four of us have been to the same tiny Outback town in Australia, and all have a totally different spin. Only mine involves drunken footie fans, though.

We can smell the seal haulout before we can see it, a small series of rock spires just breasting the sea’s surface. We idly slowly closer, Sarah’s diesel purring , as cormorants waddle and flap and shriek in threat, though they can’t be bothered to bestir themselves to fly off. The seals seem even less inspired to move, more inclined to yawn and view us with indifferent eyes as we sidle back and forth.

The sun lingers past 10 pm, and Willemyn grills slabs of fine Argentine beef. Already a crew, we sit together on deck, huddled against the brisk wind coming down the channel, laughing easily. The moon, two days shy of full, rises above mountains still clinging to last winter’s snows. Clouds color from orange to pink and finally slate blue.

Storm clouds and showers gather around Ushuaia Bay, but the sky remains clear overhead for now.

I raise a glass of red wine and toast “Let’s go have some fun.”

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