Montevideo, Uruguay

Trip Start Dec 07, 2007
Trip End Dec 25, 2007

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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Monday, December 10, 2007

The captain managed to make the 126 mile trip last all night, from Buenos Aires to Montevideo.  We arrived around 6:00 am and tours will offload around 9:00.  The morning started out bright and sunny, but by the time we got onto the tour and had made our first stop at Independence Square, the wind was picking up and the clouds were scuttling in.  The rain begins and keeps at it in fits and starts throughout the day.  Some parts of our tour were met with shards of sunshine while other parts were dampened with rain.

We took the city tour and saw parts of the old city, visited the ox cart and mule train wagon sculptures, heard about the last four aboriginals that were taken to Europe where they died, passed through a 'well-to-do' community and then back to the ship. 

That afternoon, the sun finally broke through and helped dry things out.  We then set sail for Pueto Madryn.  We pulled out of the harbour and headed out to sea through the shallow, narrow channel that links the harbour with the open sea.  Passing out through the channel we pass the sunken German battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

During World War II, a famous incident involving the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee took place in Punta del Este, 200 km from Montevideo. After the Battle of the River Plate with the British navy on December 13, 1939, the Graf Spee retreated to Montevideo's port, which was considered neutral. To avoid risking the crew in what he thought would be a losing battle, Captain Hans Langsdorff scuttled the ship on December 17. Langsdorff committed suicide two days later. On 10 February 2006, the eagle figurehead of the Admiral Graf Spee was recovered. To protect the feelings of those still sensitive to Nazi Germany, the swastika on the figurehead was covered as it was pulled from the water.

As we were nearing the mouth of the channel, a tug and barge cross our path, headed to Buenos Aires.  As we near, the cable breaks between the barge and tug, and as the ship is still ramping up to cruising speed there is no escape from ramming the barge.  The captain hits is square in the stern, knocking containers and cars into the sea and crushing some of the other containers.  The crew on the barge rush to bow to get away from the damage and potential danger.

We are unable to stop the ship and so continue out to the mouth of the channel and there drop anchor.  A pilot ship comes out to assess the damage to the boat and determines that repairs may be required.  With the debris from the barge now blocking the channel, the Port Authority of Montevideo closes the harbour and the channel, until it can be cleared and assessed safe.  This has trapped the Celebrity Infinity in dock.

We'll have to wait and see what happens and when we will be able to continue our journey.
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