Andean Condors

What a great day.

We set off at 1030 to climb into the range of mountains directly behind our little cove. A few drops of rain and gusty wind ,but it didn’t seem like any seriously bad weather was happening. This mountain range is called Cerros Concha Subercaseaux. Cerros= mountains, Concha =seashell, Subercaseaux= what? maybe it means fossilized or something.

The little cove in which we are anchored is called Caleta Mousse. Caleta= cove, Mousse= dessert treat or hair treatment. On the Patagonian Cruisers radio net this morning we heard from Michelle on the yacht “Theleme”. They are halfway from Puerto Montt to Easter Island. It turns out that they spent a few days here in this cove 2 years ago and they named it after their pet cat “Mousse”. I don’t know why. At any rate the name has stuck and is used in the “Italian Guide”. There are a couple of small Chilean dive boats here tonight- they refer to this anchorage simply as Fondeadero Santa Maria. Not very specific as the whole channel is called Santa Maria.

Our hiking route led us up quite quickly to a good viewpoint. Little patches of Nothofagus and Guaiteca Cypress forest with lots of moss and lichen underfoot. The mossy ground is much drier here, than on the other side of the mountains We could watch the gusts of wind come down and hit the sea surface with huge impact spreading out like a splash, turning the water white. I was just thinking ,”I’ll bet that this is condor country”, when Meredith exclaimed at some rather large black and white birds. Well , alright. The Andean Condor, three of them. Soaring and gliding and looking for food. Looking at us. That was pretty exciting. Very Big : same wingspan as the Wandering ALbatross , more or less THREE METRES. But the condor wings are very wide with huge finger-like primary feathers at the extremity.

We had a view to the east. It looked clear and sunny and FLAT. It really looks like we are on the east side of the Andes. This is weird. Like looking down from Crowsnest Pass. We are only a couple of hundred kilometers from the ATLANTIC coast. We are getting down to the pointy part of the ‘Southern Cone’.

To the west things were still looking stormy and wet.

After 3 hrs of uphill grinding we came onto a bare rock ridge leading up to a small pocket glacier. Lunchtime of bread , cream cheese, sausage , and water. The temperature dropped and hail and rain fell. We retreated downhill.

Later, the two small diveboats came into the caleta and anchored. The fishermen walked along the beach and I went ashore to chat. On one of the boats the dive compressor ( a small Honda 2 stroke) has died with major problems. They wondered if we have satellite phone. No , but we have HF radio. So tomorrow morning (Sunday today) they will come alongside us and will call the fishing company in Puerto Natales to send out a replacement compressor. They are diving for “alga” or seaweed , which seems to be a major cash product in Chile at the moment. They asked me if we liked Centolla (kingcrab), I asked them if the pope is catholic (kidding). So now we have finished a meal of Centolla , and have plenty for another big meal, along with some nice Cholgas (mussels). Deluxe.

One more thing : I am reading ‘High Fidelity’ by Nick Hornby. I saw the movie but hadn’t read the book. This is a very funny book. Laughing out loud, for me. Caleta Mousse Book Reviews.

Es suficiente, no?