Bad Experiences    
FRA sonabia-fra ESP


Airport police/customs

2017 - Traveling from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Bilbao (Spain)

Flights Punta Arenas - Santiago de Chile - Madrid - Bilbao with Latam and Iberia.

At Bilbao, the content of my luggage was scrambled, and something was missing: splicing needles. There were safely kept in a plastic tube, and only the thickest needle (which I never use) was left. The rest was "confiscated".

These needles are useful, expensive and hard to find. It seems that from the authorities point of view these splicing needles are dangerous weapons, even if the tip is rounded and cannot even penetrate the skin.

To Steal (Oxford Dictionary). To take something from a person, shop/store, etc. without permission and without intending to return it or pay for it

According to this definition, Airport Police/Customs are burglars.

Bad Providers - Stalok

They build swageless terminals for boat rigging and sell them worldwide.

Their web site claims that they are responsive. In fact, they are liars and arrogant. Read the story here.

My advice: buy Petersen Hi Mod terminals. I could observe in Puerto Williams (2017) that they are truly responsive (at least the Californian dealer).

The manipulative passenger

Céline D. comes to see me. She was told that I would bring her to to Cape Horn in exchange for the design of a flyer (poster). Wrong, I need a flyer as much as a giant teddy bear. I only need cash to pay Sonabia's debts.

But Céline is nice and the poor girl seems so disappointed ... I say yes. We thus travel to Cape Horn with Céline on board.

A few days later I learned that she had negotiated a trip to Antarctica on a sailboat for 1850 euros. She could have paid easily a few hundred euros to sail to Cape Horn, just like everyone else.

Conclusion: when a Celine-Cinderella comes to beg and manipulate, say NO. Remember that he or she has only one thing in mind: her (his) own interest.


Scammers - Nauticom

Nauticom sells boat equipment online.

In 2016, we bought them iridium prepaid cards, paid immediately (bank check debited on November 13, 2016). We never got the merchandises nor any kind of refund. What we got is a lot of lies, excuses etc. 

We got our money back in August 2017 by means of a Court Order. 10 month later and 50 euros poorer (50% of the bayliff fees).

We realized later that Nauticom scammed a lot of customers: for small purchases, they don't deliver the goods and don't refund either, expecting that the fooled person won't sue them for a few hundredth of euros.

See thread appel aux victimes de Nauticom on the french forum Hisse et Oh

Nauticom went under judicial dissolution on October 13, 2017. However, the owner of this scam company is still in business. The name is Samy Aoudia,

Nauticom is controlled by a Screen Company K2-INTERNATIONAL owned by SAMY AOUDIA. K2-INTERNATIONAL and Samy Aoudia currently control the companies Kamosis and WATTEO, selling boat equipment online, like Nauticom.

My advice: boycott Samy Aoudia and all his companies, Watteo, Kamosis, etc.

Basque Country

The lousiest mechanic shop: Itxas Argi Nautika, Hendaye

Summer 2013, Hendaye, technical zone. Miguel from Itxas Argi took off the sail drive of Sonabia to his shop, changed the propeller shaft seals and mounted back the sail drive.

During this operation I heard him shout "Sh. .. no matter, with the remaining ones it will hold". I deduced correctly that he screwed a bolt or something, but I never found it until recently.

Problem 1: the seals repair did not last. After 13 days sailing, the sail drive's oil was white with sea water. without apparent reason. 

The most likely explanation is that Miguel "forgot" to polish the shaft. This polishing is mandatory because any scratch left by a tangled rope will damage the seals again.

A costly error. Since 2015, water gets in the sail drive, the oil becomes white and I have to change it every few hours, a loss of time and money. Plus the continuous water entry ends up wasting the sail drive.

References: Sonabia logbook, explicit entry during trip mares del sur . Sonabia maintenance spreadsheet

Problem 2: the sail drive was not tightened correctly. In January 2018, during a trip to Cape Horn, the sail drive started to vibrate heavily. We turned back and got stuck in Caleta Margarita, unable to make it back to Puerto Williams without engine.

After the crew were aground, I found the problem: the sail drive was going loose from the engine.

There are 4 bolts and one of them had been damaged by Miguel, As a result, there are vibrations and the 3 remaining bolts finally went loose.

When he did it Miguel said nothing and instead he held the bolt in place with a bit of plastic.

References: Sonabia logbook entry, radio communication with Chilean coast guards, official inspection of the repair by the Chilean Navy in Puerto Williams (January 2017)

Dangerous and very costly. Currently, the sail drive has to be replaced in Puerto Williams. The total cost of the repair will be well above 3000 euros.

My advice: boycott Miguel and Itxas Argi.  I invite everybody to contact me for details

Navarino Island, Chile

Ferry: the expensive night

The Yaghan ferry from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams arrives around midnight. If you don't have accomodation, you may sleep onboard.

Problem: the company charges 26.000clp (more than 35US$, 30 euros) for the rest of the night.This is more expensive than the average accomodation in Puerto Williams.

My advice: make a reservation for the night of arrival or walk through the village and find somewhere to sleep.

Ushuaia transfer : the racket

Small boats cross the Beagle Channel between Ushuaia and Puerto Navarino, in Chile. Then a road transportation brings you to Puerto Williams.

Problem: the price is 120 US$. For a 30 minutes crossing. More expensive than the flight between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams.

My advice: avoid Ushuaia. It is a tourist trap.

FRA sonabia-fra ESP