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Date: 10 Jul 2016 02:42:05
Title: Day 18 Perfect sailing in Canal Cockburn

54:16.23S 71:46.62W

There is a photo of Caleta Brecknock in the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Nautical Guide. Dappled sunshine lights up the cream coloured cliffs and the water in the cove is like a mirror. Nothing like our experience of choppy water, towering dark clouds, non-stop rain and wind to blow your hat off. The positive side was that the wind generator fully charged the batteries.

I was tempted to stay longer, until the sun shone again, but the forecast of moderate north-westerly winds (10-15 knots) was ideal for rounding Peninsula Brecknock, potentially the most difficult section of our journey through the channels so far. 

We got up to a drizzly dark morning. The only blessing was that there was no wind, we didn’t fancy Caramor banging against the rocks on her anchor while we brought in the four lines. It was still gloomy when we set off and the rain was lashing down.

After rejoining Canal Ocasion, we plodded under engine for four miles to the entrance of Canal Cockburn. Out at sea there was a narrow band of blue sky. The wind increased enough for us to sail but it was practically on our nose, from the north. Gradually the bright sky got nearer, the high level clouds were moving north, in completely the opposite direction to the wind at sea level! 

Blue sky approaching

Shortly after, we were basking in bright sunshine and the wind had gone more easterly, freeing us to tack up Canal Cockburn on perfect flat water. Admittedly it was the opposite tack to what we had expected from the forecast but we weren’t going to complain. Behind us the clouds still hung low over Peninsula Brecknock, no sunshine in the caleta today.

Franco delighted to be sailing in sunshine

Caramor was hailed on the VHF and asked to identify herself. Franco didn’t quite catch the call sign and kept calling them what sounded like “Bugger-mar”, the closest approximation of what he thought their name was. It turned out to be one of the Chilean Navy’s sea patrol vessels. They didn’t take offence, neither were they concerned that our next anchorage, Caleta Cluedo, is up an unauthorised channel.

The jagged mountains of the mainland appeared over the hills of Isla Clarence as we approached the entrance to Seno Duntze (which leads to Canal Acwalisnan). The shores on the lee side of the island were covered in tall trees. We reached our destination around 4pm with enough daylight to find trees to tie to. Franco tells me our ‘batting average’ has increased to 27%.

Jagged mountains on the mainland

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