2021 07 29 – Sonabia 2 floats

Sonabia 2 was launched yesterday in the port of Socoa, Iparralde, France (Basque Country).

Tricky, given the size of the boat, the narrow access and the shallow port, but everything went well, thanks to the Chantier Naval de Socoa (special thanks to the former manager, VF).

Then sailing with engine to Hendaye, where Sonabia 2 will be during the next weeks.

Program: extensive testing. Then if everything goes well, Cape Horn and Antarctica.

Almost 8 years since the start of the work. Special thanks to all the friends that helped us along the project, PC, OM, CT, JMA, JGT, PL, C&MP, MB and many others.

courtesy Sandrine


courtesy Sandrine

courtesy Teresa, Juan


courtesy Teresa, Juan


courtesy Thierry


courtesy Sandrine


courtesy Sandrine


courtesy Thierry


courtesy Thierry








2021-06-04 Puerto Williams, Snow and no COVID


Big snowfalls in Puerto Williams, Cabo de Hornos, Chile. More than 1 meter.

Sonabia, Pontoon Micalvi, Cabo de Hornos

(Courtesy Eduardo Cruz, CEDENA, Puerto Williams)


Some of the yachts that remained in Puerto Williams during COVID could sail to the glaciars and Antarctica. Other headed north west, towards Chile.

None could sail to Ushuaia, Argentina. Argentina and Uruguay are still closed for the yachts.

Sonabia remained in Micalvi, waiting for us.

NO COVID In Puerto Williams

Last week, zero COVID cases. Thanks to the sanitary cordon, extensive vaccination and the responsible behavior of the people.

The sanitary cordon is removed since June 04 2021. For the next month, a PCR is needed to travel to the Island.

Sources: Radio Navarino, Gob.cl/coronavirus


In spite of an extensive vaccination campaign (more than 70% of target population is vaccinated) Chile faces a high number of COVID cases.

Careless behavior during the austral summer? Variants? inefficient travel sanitary controls? Type of vaccine ? Anyway, here are the results


Source: gob.cl/coronavirus


Under construction in Socoa, Basque Country.  Thanks to the COVID we could work on the boat. Soon on the water.


2021 02 01 – COVID, 1-1=0, no Cape Horn for now

COVID , +1: since february 1 , 2021 Navarino Island is open to visitors, under strict sanitary control. The authorities propose a small set of safe activities: day trekking, short sailing trips in the Beagle Channel etc.

However, the island is under ‘preparación’mode, i.e., the sanitary level can change at any time.

COVID, -1. The french government decided to forbid trips outside Europe. No comment about the government’s capacity of anticipation and global strategy (absent in both cases).

In addition, until the vaccines provide global effects, the world situation is bad.

DECISION: no Cape Horn for now, possibly in September 2021.

Annex. Performance of several countries during the pandemia (death/100000 pop., the most significant figure)

New Zeland.......0.5
United Kingdom.143.4

Source WHO weekly epidemiological report 2021 01 27. Warning: compiled from country official data. (not always trustable)

2021 01 17 – Navarino Island – COVID update

After a lock down in December, Puerto Williams came back to level 2, i.e. a simple sanitary barrier. Tourism is still not allowed.

However, DAP Airlines resumed the flights Punta Arenas – Puerto Williams.

Besides, COVID figures increased markedly in Chile during the feasts. Currently the number of new daily cases is about 4000. Nothing dramatic in comparison with Europe and the USA, but …

Wait and see.

2020 12 10 – Navarino Island: lock down again.

Last week, 19 new cases in Puerto Williams. That is what we had the 2 first months.

Since today, quarantine and lock down. The access is not allowed for non residents.

However Chile is open to foreigners.  Requisites and forms: c19.cl

Information about the global COVID situation: gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales/

Local situation (by region and city) covid19entucomuna.cl/

Obviously, we postpone our sailing season. New horizon for Cape Horn navigation: february 2021 To be confirmed.

By the way, sailing in march and april is great, many calms after the equinox.


2020 11 23 – Chile, COVID: frontiers open today

Chile: the frontier opens to foreigners today, 2020 11 23. Entry point: Santiago Airport, condition: negative PCR. No quarantine is required.

Puerto Williams: the sanitary cordon is half open: external workers are currently arriving (end of november) and the public works resume (roads and streets, new pier, optical fiber etc.)

SONABIA: we plan to travel at the beginning of january, Cape Horn expeditions will start from January 15, 2021 (90% certain, confirmation ASAP).


2019 10 28 – Chile, Europe, COVID – hope and despair

CHILE: HOPE. For the first time since the second wave (mid-june), the number of daily cases was below 1000. In the south (Magallanes), less than 100 new cases. Let us wait for weekly figures and cross fingers.

PUERTO WILLIAMS: problem with fishing boats. Several fishing boats are in quarentine in the bay of Puerto Williams. There were also a few cases among the fishermen’s families.

Source Facebook 2020 10 17.

Explanation. There are between 1300 and 1400 boats in the south for the King Crab fishing season (Centolla) – source: not official. Most of these boats come from Punta Arenas where the contagion rates were high.

The season ends in December then the fishing boats sail home and the contagion may not spread further.

FRANCE AND SPAIN: DISPAIR.  I came back from Chile during the peak of the second wave, mid June. maximal precautions, wearing mask permanently, lockdown, etc.

Here, in the Basque Country, I was stunned by the number of tourists and the behavior of the people.

No mask, approximate hand washing, and a gregary behavior:private parties, streets and shops, public events, any opportunity is good to group together.

Most important, many people unconsciously come close to you instead of keeping a safe distance.

Result: second wave,  worst than ever. Lot of restrictions in Spain, and in France, confinement starting now for at least one month.

In other terms, the governments had the anticipation capacity of headless hens.

Well done, people, and thanks, governments.

2020-10-07 Chile, COVID: standby


At the beginning of october , the Chilean government announced that the current sanitary regulations are maintained for an undetermined period of time. See COVID facts in the next section

This implies that the fontiers are closed for non-residents, displacements between regions are restricted, quarantine for some cities, lock down, etc.

In the case of Puerto Williams (Cape Horn district), the access is restricted to inhabitants and essential workers.

Consequence: the Cape Horn expeditions that were scheduled from November are in standby.

We expect that the situation will normalize in January and February, i.e. austral summer and chilean vacations.


The situation in Chile is not critical, but the country cannot get rid of the virus.

After reaching a peak mid-june (onset of winter = “second wave” ), the number of new cases decreased steadily, but reached a plateau below which it does not fall.

Every day, there are between 1000 and 2000 new cases, PCRS are around 25.000 (the highest rate in South America) and deaths are between 25 and 100.

Source: www.gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales/

However, the epicentre of the desease is now in Punta Arenas. In spite of a strict quarantine, lock down at 2000 etc the contagion is uncontrolled.

Source: www.gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales/

Puerto Williams is currently preserved (2020-10-06: no active case) thanks to its natural sanitary cordon: the weekly ferry and the small plane are reserved to residents and essential workers.