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A Postcard from the Argentine Desert

I’m not sure what we expected from the Argentine coast south of the River Plate. Certainly, we knew that it was a windswept place, and we knew that there were few settlements. Having visited it twenty years ago, we knew that Valdez – the peninsula which shelters the famous whale breeding ground – is a waterless wasteland of rock and sand; but what we hadn’t realised is that the whole of the country from this point south is similarly dry,…

A Postcard from San Blas

We spent more than a week in Mar del Plata before the weather finally changed in our favour and presented us with the opportunity to continue south – but before embarking on the tale of our next little hop, we’d like to share a couple of photos of some of the people who we met in that port. In our last postcard we mentioned an old codger who’s been fishing here since he was 14. Now aged 90, Attilo is…

The Fastest Dug-out Canoes in the World

This is the fourth and final article in our series about the traditional boats we saw in our time in Brazil. See also the previous articles: Dug-Out Canoes on the Bahia, Modern Canoe Building in Brazil, and Bluewater Rafting (traditional Brazilian ‘Jangadas’). The thing about dug-outs is that every one is unique. They aren’t built to a plan, they’re built according to the size of the tree. Still, each builder does set out with an image in his mind of…

A Postcard from Mar del Plata

The winds in the region of the River Plate follow a predictable pattern, swinging perpetually around the clock, but the speed with which they swing is very variable. Eager to avoid having to slog into a south-easterly, we left the estauary while the wind was still in the east and still blowing quite strongly (f6), and so we had a hard beat out into the sea. As Mollymawk galloped across the uneven plain, the greasy grey-green waters washed over our…

Happy Families

What would make you really happy? Maybe you’re already as happy as could be, but it seems that a lot of people aren’t. A lot of people have their eyes set on attaining or achieving a certain something which will make their life complete. When we’re small that something might be a shiny new bicycle, but as we grow up we get more ambitious: we want a house, we want a car, we want a holiday in the sun… In…