31 december 2010

Towards civilization

Our way (the white line) from the entrance after Gulfo des Penas to Caleta Yvonne

Caleta Yvonne

Drying up

Cocking away

Shades of grey

Lines ashore

Another grey day

Two knots current

We decided to stay in Caleta Puerto Francisco for another day, partly to rest from the overnight sail over Gulfo den Penas but also to explore the beautiful anchorage/lagoon. So the second day we sat out hoping to see more of the dolphins and seal as we had seen coming in but the excursion in the dinghy only offered the beautiful sceneries that were surrounding us. We also had to tome the excursion in between the rain that was coming down. We went all the way to the narrow entrance and it was easy on the way out since the tide carried us but Milo had to struggle a bit on the way back fighting a two knot current. In the narrow we could see lines hanging from the trees, something we saw frequently in other protected Caletas. It is the fishermen who leave them hanging so when they come in the just grab them for their anchorage.

On Nov ember 3 we started the trip to our next Caleta, Puerto Island, a bit more than 20 nautical miles to the south. After a short overnight stay we got up early to cover 37 miles to Caleta Yvonne. We motored the whole stretch since the wind from behind was not consistently strong enough for sailing. The rain clouds were lingering around us in the mountains on either side of the canal, but they did not venture out in the canal towards our position. So in spite of overcast it became one of the more dry days we have had in a long time.

Glacier or not

Caleta Yvonne is situated at the mouth of an Estero where a glacier is reaching down to. It was around 20 miles to the glacier and no good anchorages in the area so we had to get back to Caleta Yvonne before night fall. We talked about going but decided against it. Partly because we were short on time and there would be more glaciers further down. But most importantly the wind was supposed to shift to the south and the anchorage was only good for winds from north to southwest. So we decided to push on the following day a short distance (16 miles) to Caleta Vittorio, that was protected from all winds but from east. It was raining so we started waiting for it to stop but soon realized it would be one of those Patagonian rain days were there are no breaks from the moisture. Again not enough wind to sail so we motored along in shades of grey. Just before we reached the anchorage the wind built up with a lot of squalls with heavy gusts. So for the first time so far we did not succeed in our anchorage procedure at the first try. The first choice was tucked in in a very narrow bay in the Caleta which made it hardly any room for swinging. So the shore line had to be secured fast in the shifting wind (and the anchor had grip the first try). The anchor did not bite so we decided to anchor a bit outside the narrow bay. And soon we were tucked away with anchor and two lines ashore at the same time as the squally wind faded away. And we are now only a short day trip from getting in contact with civilization again, Puerto Eden is just around the corner, a small fishing village that according to rumors now also have Internet facility (and possibilities for taking showers).

Drying out

Since it was a short distance we had time in the afternoon to start the heater and dry our foul weather gear and bed clothing, something that basically needs to be done every day. Milo has a stainless steel bar inside the toilet were we hang or gear for drip drying before they are dry enough to bring in to the saloon for a more proper drying procedure closer to the heater. We also had a good meal with some of the staple food we stored. The gourmet dinner was noodles with a pasta sauce consisting of a ready base (this one with pepper) and additional fried onions, aborigine, carrots and tomatoes (and sometimes canned mushrooms).

Milo has also been asked to partly take over the short wave radio community Patagonia network for a while when Wolfgang is going on vacation. He will travel around Chile for two to three weeks but wants the network to live in his absent, so Milo and Ian, an Australian that now is close to our destination in the Beagle Channel, will handle it together. Right now there are only the two of us and one other boat in the area it seems (at least hooked up to the network). Occasionally we have a couple of boats and a land based person, Bob, from the Falkland Islands hooking up with the network. That is a treat since he can sit by the computer and give us good weather reports. But he is not on every day due to his work. So in spite of her lethal morning mood she heroically is up by nine o'clock every morning. And there are few boats around, even fishing boats are scarce and we have not seen a sailing boat since way before Gulfo de Penas.

On our way to civilization

The morning in Caleta Vittorio was beautiful. The rain clouds were lingering on and hanging very low so even smaller not so high mountains had a "halo" of clouds surrounding the top, and it was dead calm. The reflections in the water made the magic surrounding look even more intriguing. It was shades in grey in the most spectacular way. So we set off what we hoped to be a fast and easy trip to Puerto Eden in calm and cloudy weather. We past the first navigation aids for a long time and could see on the red boy that we had a couple of knots current with us. But soon we were going to be met by a southerly gale hitting us on the nose with increasing seas, affecting the decision if we should go in to the port or not since it did not have a good protection from southerly winds. But that is for next entry.

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