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Wind of the fortieth latitudes: RGS round-the-world pilots returned from Patagonia

In mid-October, most of the territory of Russia enters the pre-winter season – fallen leaves rustle underfoot, cold lingering rains fall, and frosts begin at night. Meanwhile, in South America, spring is coming into its own more and more confidently, and the participants of the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk branch of the Russian Geographical Society are preparing to go to sea. The trimaran team will have to travel south to Cape Horn. Wintering in Argentina turned out to be intense: the crew strengthened the structure of the ship before a difficult voyage and friendship with the local population as part of the mission of “people’s diplomacy”, collected material for a documentary and a new “Lesson from the Ocean”, which will take place in November. To do this, Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin, as well as the head of the coastal headquarters of the circumnavigation of the world, Yulia Kalyuzhnaya, made an overland journey to the southern borders of the continent – to Patagonia.

Members expedition “On the way of Russian sailors around the world” shared their impressions of the trip with the readers of the website of the Russian Geographical Society.

– So our trip to the south of Argentina ended. And the thought arises: how to describe in one word what we saw? And very simply – the wind. I have seen and felt the wind many times. There is the wind of the Arctic, the wind of the Pacific Ocean, the wind of the Atlantic. There is a mountain wind – Sayan, Kuznetsk, Altai. There is a wind from the Baltic and the North Sea. There is a wind in the Canaries and Cape Verde. There is the coastal Brazilian trade wind and the “sudestada” … There are many more different air currents that I have personally experienced. But never have I felt the wind like in Patagonia. This is the same “wind of the fortieth latitudes” – cold, exhausting and inexorable. The wind that blows without ceasing for thousands of years. And you just have to come to terms with it, breathe it in with a full breast and … then I don’t know yet. In November, we will meet him at sea, and then we’ll see! — admitted Stanislav Berezkin.

The Russians went to Patagonia from the Argentine city of Mendoza along the longest and most picturesque road in Argentina – Ruta Quarenta (Ruta 40). Along the way, beautiful landscapes, interesting discoveries and unexpected adventures awaited them.

– The navigator stubbornly led us to the 51st route. I shut up my inner voice, succumbed to the navigator, and instead of the 51st we ran into the Chilean border. Straight – Chile, left – a dead end, back – 30 km of return and 140 km of dirt road. But it was worth it. After two hours of shaking, a completely magical view opened up from the lighthouse of Cape Virgenes. And that very wind of the southern border of the “roaring forties”, already warm, spring, but so strong that you can lie on it. Wind tangling scarves, hair and speech. Soft pre-sunset sunlight, turquoise Atlantic, and the edge of the earth a couple of miles to the south – an absolutely magical feeling – admitted Berezkin.

It was Cape Virgenes that the famous navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached on October 21, 1520, before discovering one of the longest straits of our planet, which later received his name. The lighthouse at Cape Virgins, as the name Cabo Virgenes is translated from Spanish, was built in 1904. This is the extreme southeastern point of continental Argentina. From here, the stern and gloomy Strait of Magellan leads to the west, which for a long time remained the only way from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

The mountain ranges of the Andes and the blue ice of one of the most beautiful glaciers of the earth, Perito Moreno, made an indelible impression on the round-the-world travelers of the Russian Geographical Society. It originates in the mountains on the Chilean-Argentine border and moves towards Lake Lago Argentino at a speed of about 600 m per year. Approximately once every four years, the ice tongue slides into the lake waters and creates a natural dam that divides the reservoir into two parts. In the half without flow, the level can rise by 30 m and create tremendous pressure on the bridge. Sooner or later, the water breaks the barrier and breaks free, crushing the ice vise.

– Incredible spectacle, splendor! There is a sense of natural power in everything. For me, as a geographer, such concepts as the age of a glacier are important. It is believed that Perito Moreno is more than 30 thousand years old, and it is important that the glacier maintains its balance, despite the massive melting of glaciers around the world – noted Yulia Kalyuzhnaya.

The expedition members of the Russian Geographical Society also visited the Tombo Nature Reserve, where the largest colony of Magellanic penguins lives, and the Valdes Peninsula, off the coast of which many whales and sea lions live. We saw the wintering place of Magellan – the bay of St. Julian. Here, at the pier, a copy of his caravel “Victoria” is moored.

– A lot of impressions, a lot of shooting videos and photos. Pampas, glaciers, Andes, amazing animals – Magellanic penguins, guanacos, whales, elephant seals and sea lions. Places associated with the great journey of Magellan, meetings with interesting people. Steppe, ocean, Strait of Magellan. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a real miracle! Andes is amazing! — Yevgeny Kovalevsky confessed.

The team of the circumnavigation returned from Patagonia on the evening of October 17th. There are many important events ahead. This is the end of the preparation of the trimaran for going to sea, and the opening of an exhibition of photographs, and participation in the international educational campaign of the Russian Geographical Society – Geographical dictation.

– On October 30, we are planning a “hat-trick” together with the Tomsk branch of the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian House in Buenos Aires. On the territory of the San Fernando club, the opening of a photo exhibition by Stanislav Beryozkin, Geographical dictation for Argentines and the sailing of the trimaran to the south will take place, — Evgeny Kovalevsky shared his plans.

July 1, 2021 Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin went along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Krusenstern (1803–1806), Yuri Lisyansky (1803–1806), Otto Kotzebue (1815–1818, 1823–1826), Vasily Golovnin (1817–1819), Fyodor Litke (1826– 1829), Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev (1819–1921). The international project of the Tomsk regional branch of the Russian Geographical Society “On the way of Russian sailors around the world” is dedicated to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia’s leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation. on the expedition website.

Alexander Zhirnov

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