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.


2020 07 12 – Chile, COVID facts

UPDATED 2020 07 14

This post presents current facts about COVID in Chile and its southern part, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Cabo de Hornos.

For visitors. The international flights resumed mid june (Iberia, LATAM, Air France, etc). National flights are maintained but less frequent, e.g., Santiago – Punta Arenas: only 2 weekly flights. In the south of Chile, the ferries are working.

In summary, you can travel now or wait until October, when the situation may be almost normal. Read below before taking a decision.

COVID. Chile national figures, July 12, 2020. 1.273.627 tests,  312000 positive cases,  24000 active cases, 6881 dead. Source gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales

COVID. Regional figures for Southern Chile, July 11. 1545 cases, 17 dead. Puerto Williams 22 cases, zero active cases. Puerto Natales 50 cases (many of them active), Punta Arenas 1398 cases. Source: covid19entucomuna.cl

The peak of contagion was around June, 12- 14 and the number of daily cases decreases since then (see graphics below).

The pandemia stroke Chile at the worst moment: the beginning of austral autumn, i.e. the onset of pulmonary diseases and influenza.

Nonetheless, Chile performed honorably in comparison with other countries in terms of mortality (death/100.000 habitants). For example:


Country Population (millions) Death Death/100000 habitants
Portugal 10 m. 1646 16
Chile 19 m. 6881 36
USA 331 m. 132700 41
France 65 m. 29800 46
Sweden 10 m. 5500 55
Italy 60 m. 35000 58
Spain 45 m. 28400 63
UK 68 m. 44650 66

Population worldometers.info/demographics/.

Deaths who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

Source: gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales.

The government policy is 3-fold: 1) early actions  from 3rd week of march: closure of frontiers, quarantine, lock down. 2) selective actions: local sanitary cordons, local lock down, individual quarantine. 3) extensive testing (e.g. 3 times more tests in Chile than in France).

Current lock down (july 12): Santiago (metropolitan region), Valparaiso & Viña del Mar, Rencagua, Iquique, Antofagasta … Most of the territory is not in quarantine or lock down.

See gob.cl/coronavirus/cuarentena for a map.

Current sanitary cordons: Punta Arenas, Puerto Williams, Puerto Natales (to confirm).

Rules.  Wearing a facial mask is mandatory in streets, public transportation and closed places (shops, malls, offices). Curfew (nobody out between 2200h and 0500h). Sanitary passport for travelers (self-filled questionaire +  temperature control).

To cross a  sanitary cordon: in general, previous autorization and medical checkup. Then according to local regulations, PCR test and/or quarantine.

In the Cape Horn district (Puerto Williams). From 2020 07 17, on your arrival, a PCR test is performed at the city hospital, and you wait for the results in lock down at your  accomodation.

See gob.cl/coronavirus/documentos/ for travel requisite and documents.

Contact your own consulate for howtos.


Lock down zones gob.cl/coronavirus/cuarentena

Travel documents gob.cl/coronavirus/documentos/

Regional figures covid19entucomuna.cl

National figures gob.cl/coronavirus/cifrasoficiales.

Worldwide figures who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports

(warning about World Health Organization site: NOT TRUSTABLE. It is a mere compilation of countries official data,  often inaccurate, and poorly presented).

2020 05 11 – Cape Horn after COVID

Why do we sail around Cape Horn?

Big cities made us sick and stressed us. Cars may pollute but huge crowds are even worse.

We wanted to live far from autocratic governments and from their heavy, paralyzing laws.

We decided that living a great life in a stunning Nature  was better that wealth, comfort and boredom.

The pandemia has not changed anything.

In the austral spring, Sonabia will sail to Cape Horn like every year.

Sanitization. Since 2017, after every trip, we clean the boat with chlorogel and we send bed sheets and clothing to the laundry.

Only additions: desinfectant spray; a stock of masks in case somebody gets sick from COVID or anything else.

Cape Horn after the COVID? Cape Horn as it ever was.

Home page sonabia.org