21 Feb. Rio Gallegos, Argentine
There has not been much to report in the past couple of days because we have just been hauling distance through country much the same as in the past reports. One night was spent in a rather nice seaside town, San Julian, that had put some effort into improving the look of their space. There was a scale replica of the Nao Victoria, the only surviving ship from Magellan's armada of 1519, sent from Spain to search for a sea passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Of the five ships and 265 men only one ship and 18 returned to Spain. The Armada sheltered in the bay of San Julian. It is an extremely well done exhibit and we were pleased we visited it. Not so well done however is a tribute to the airmen of the Argentinian Air Force involved in the Malvinas (Falklands) war. In itself the old jet (Mk5 Mirage) is OK but the fuselage is emblazoned with the names of three Royal Navy ships presumably claimed as kills. A Google search shows all three ships survived the war.
Today we attended a BBQ on a sheep farm. The wife is from Hastings and met her Argentinian husband while studying at Lincoln University. It is a huge farm and has been in the family for a number of generation – the ancestors being the source of sheep farming in Patagonia. Stocking rate 4 ha per sheep. It was a delightful afternoon.
Tomorrow we fit tyres to a couple of bikes and make our way further south. With two border crossing in store I think it will be a long day. It is also generally much colder now to the extent that our hostel has the heaters going during the day. The farmers told us that the coldest they ever experienced in winter was -27 degrees. Ouch.