We are met by Martin Beaton, a delightfully humorous, gentleman who not only helped us refuel our tanks in the increasing wind but has a warm flask of tea and homemade cake from his wife Jane!! As we sip our tea and look around us the view is pretty spectacular. Weddell has a wild rugged feel to it but is beautiful at the same time. Martin and his wife live alone in this remote part of the islands for 6 months of the year and love the undisturbed, uncomplicated lifestyle. Once we have finished our tea, with an extra slice of cake for our journey, we board our plane, wave goodbye to Martin. We start our engine, readjust our lifejackets and taxi to the end of the runway. Our plane starts making weird noises, as we do our run up, I can’t believe it, what now! We turn off the engines and start again this time all is well and we lift off now towards initially Rio Grande where plan to do our first port of paperwork drama and then on to Ushuaia. When we reach our water crossing we keep a close eye on the ground speed, and we both agreed if it drops below 90 we may be in some trouble. We figured despite extra fuel there may be a point of which if the headwind becomes too much we may have to turn back to Weddell Island. But so far so good we stay at 90-100nm of ground speed. I worry a little about the weird noise the engine made on takeoff, but then forget about it as I watch the wind whip the waves forcefully and notice the many white caps down below us.
The wind died down as we progressed along our route and the leg was actually really enjoyable, our ground speed remained at 90 knots and we started to hear the Argentina air traffic controllers as we got closer into their range. Back to Spanish speaking airports we were tried to contact Comodoro Approach but after a while we came in range with Rio Grande tower who handed us to the Ushuaia Tower. We flew over the most incredible snowcapped mountains I have ever seen in my life, which had the most stunning deep blue ice lakes and glaciers between them. This is something I have only seen in travel magazines or documentaries. As we soared around the Andes, words could not describe the outstanding beauty these mountains have. We see the crossed the beagle channel and are now Tierra del Fuego province. We first land at the big international airport at Ushuaia where people are confused and baffled where this little 172 Cessna has come from. Our intention is to fly to the aero club which is two minutes away after getting our paperwork done, and get fuel, as we have been directed to do so by our Comodoro Friends, who also say we can also park our plane in the club’s hangar. We explain all this to the customs and immigration people but they are still puzzled with why we have landed here and what we were doing in the Malvinas. Language barriers do not help as none of them speak English and we of course don’t speak Spanish, after Chris shows them an Argentina newspaper article of our flight they seem to lighten up. Luckily a security or flight planning guy called Nicholas (Nico) arrives; he speaks English and is a member of the Ushuaia aero club, the place we want to fly to. Nico explains that unfortunately there is no room in the aero club’s hangar for our plane but the Navy Base hangar right next door is happy to let us keep our airplane there at a cost. With help from him and some translating we are on our way!! We still need fuel, so we head for the aero club, and on arriving at the aero club we are greeted by two young men who immediately in clear English welcomes us to Ushuaia. We have a chat about our journey and they have seen articles about us and our journey in their papers and also on the TV. The current political climate is a bit messed up at the moment in Argentina, and there is friction between the Falklands, UK and Argentina. We have been staying clear away from getting involved having made friends in both Argentina and the Falklands. But some articles in the UK and Argentina press got it all wrong!! They said we were flying in a jet plane THAT had to be escorted into Port Stanley for our own safety by the two typhoons, and others say we were intercepted as we were suspected of wrong doing. We had to put them right as both stories was utter b……t and we did not want to be involved in political propaganda. We all had a laugh about the ridiculous stories they had read, they help us refuel, chatted to us about the local area and wished us good luck for the rest of our trip.