Intrepid Argentine yachtsmen, Jorge Bertolino and Marcelo Gonzalez have left the Falkland Islands, in the yacht 'Mistico' and should reach Buenos Aires in 8 - 9 days time, weather permitting.
As they departed the two men spoke of the unexpected, "friendliness and kindness which we experienced throughout our weeks stay in the Islands. We were amazed by the warm attitude and approach by the Islanders who welcomed us".
Bertolino aged 46, the owner and captain of the yacht, and Gonzalez aged 37, visited the Argentine War Cemetery at Darwin and paid their own personal tribute to the Argentine servicemen who died in the 1982 War, and who are buried in the cemetery. They laid a small wreath of freshly cut lupins and calendulas, gifted to them by their local driver/guide.
In addition to being given a special discount on the cost of the journey to Darwin, the two men were also taken to an area south of Goose Green to view the remains of an Argentine Skyhawk aircraft, C248, which was shot down during the hostilities of 22 years ago. Primer Teniente Fausto Gavazzi died in the incident. Both men spent several hours viewing the aircraft wreckage which is spread over a wide area. "It was a special occasion for us, and left a lasting impression about the events of 1982", said Gonzalez.
Bertolino, a Civil Engineer, and Gonzalez a Marine Engineer, who both live in San Isidro, confessed to a fellow yachtsman living in the Islands, Andreas Short (the first ever Islander to sail from the Falklands to Europe and back), that they had been warned by their friends in Buenos Aires, that they faced hostility from the Islanders, and possible damage to the yacht, should they insist on making the 10 days journey to the Islands. The two men, who went ahead with their planned trip, despite the fears, said, "We found none of this whatsoever, in fact it was just the opposite with everyone, from the people on the dockside to those in the restaurants and shops, wanting to assist us and offer advice".
To comply with International regulations the yacht was required to fly the Falklands flag, as a courtesy gesture, while in port. Not having the required flag in Buenos Aires, Bertolino ingeniously obtain the design from the Internet, and duly arrived in Port Stanley bearing the Falklands flag and complying with traditional shipping procedures.
Bill Brown for MercoPress in Port Stanley.