Sun and Mountains

We left Caleta Moonlight Shadow at 1000 hrs and motored in flat glassy calm and sunshine across Canal Collingwood to Canal Hariet. A light thermal wind filled in , and we were able to sail . The glaciated craggy peaks of Cordillera Sarmiehto werte not far away to the east , rearing above some low bare rock islands in the foreground. Thirty miles south the complex icy peaks of Monte Burney were visible.

Today was even warmer than yesterday- it was HOT and we are sunburned. Ridiculous. Meredith had a lapse of judgement ,and it had been a while since her last shower, so that she actually plunged into the ocean at this beach anchorage. Twelve degrees Celsius is way too cold for me , and it turns out it was too cold for her as well.

We are anchored off a sandy beach on the east side of Isla Newton in Caleta Columbine at 51 53.3 S 73 42.25 W. Not protected to the south , but the chances of a south wind are slim, and we have a great view of all the mountains.

It was deluxe this afternoon , sunny sailing in 12 knots of wind , wing and wing , self steering doing its job, while Meredith drilled me on Spanish verb conjugations and sentence structure. Does it get any better?

Nearly Solstice

It is 0620 and the sun is just peeking over the trees into the cove. At 2230 last night when I put down my book it was broad daylight. This morning the cove is a millpond, as it was last night. Extraordinary. I am reading Eric Shipton’s account of Skyring and Kirke’s explorations in these very waters in the early 1800’s. The book is called ‘Tierra del Fuego : The Fatal Lodestone”.

Skyring and Kirke were in the first Beagle expedition , before Darwin’s expedition. They were to survey the waters between Magellan Strait and Golfo de Penas. They were hoping to find a navigational shortcut from Skyring Water up to this area. Their final hope to look into was Last Hope Inlet (Seno Ultima Esperanza).

We sailed from Puerto Bueno yesterday in a light breeze down Canal Sarmiento. We had views to the east of the south end of the southern Patagonoan Icecap , and distant SE views of the Torres del Paine area. Shipton also dsicusses Sarmiento in his book. Sarmiento was a polymath but not a nice guy. He systematically hunted down the last of the Incas and killed them. Thusly he was cursed, and in his subsequent explorations he suffered a lot of bad luck and disaster. “Sarmiento’s Luck” is a phrase that arose from his efforts.

In all of these accounts of explorations of these waters the authors continually discuss how the weather conditions made life miserable and dangerous. So now I am waiting for the hammer to drop. Our weather has been mixed , but often pretty tolerable. Would I want to be rowing around in an open boat and camping in the wet bush? NO thanks. The baro has started a slow downward slide , and we are expecting some poor weather tonight and tomorrow.

We have been 3 months since Valdivia, and one month since Puerto Chacabuco. Another week and we shall be at Puerto Natales where we can re-supply. After we have visited Torres del Paine , from Puerto Natales, we will continue south and east crossing Magellan Strait and into Beagle Channel, to arrive in Puerto Williams by late March. Hopefully after sneaking a look at the Horn itself.

‘Abrazo’ came up on the radio yesterday , but without any discussion of his trials of the day before.

So far in the crab trap , No Crabs.

Birds :Thorn-Tailed Rayadito, Speckled Teal, Dark-Faced GroundTyrant, Rufous Chested Dotterel/Plover lots of Ashy-Headed Geese.

Our connection to the the Sailmail Station (near Valdivia) is a bit sketchy now , so I will go out and use an oar to swing the boat around so that the aft wire antenna ( near the backstay) is facing to the north.

We are in Caleta Moonlight Shadow at 51 33.4S 74 04.7 W