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Date: 27 Aug 2016 02:40:36
Title: Day 13 From the ‘Womb’ to Caleta Neruda

50:06.58S 74:41.78W

Harry Flatters today, not a breath, not a ripple. Before setting off, we decided to take some soundings of our anchorage and another possible one nearby to contribute to the next edition of the Royal Cruising Club’s Pilot for the area.

Franco taking a sounding

You poke the machine in the water, press a button and hey, presto, the reading tells you the depth. No messing about with lead lines anymore.

The blue sky didn’t last long, clouds were gathering. The forecast for the Golfo de Penas is for gusts of 100 knots on Sunday, winds stronger than we endured in Husvik, South Georgia this summer and not an experience we are keen to repeat. The Golfo de Penas is still a long way away and the big picture suggests we won’t face anything as powerful but we are keen to stay in anchorages that are very sheltered.

Canal Pitt is behind us and today we sailed through the very pretty Canal Tres Cerros (Chanel of the Three Hills). It passes between lots of scenic small islands and joins the main shipping route at the start of Canal Wide. With the water so still, it was easy to spot wildlife, unfortunately the few otter-like sightings turned out to be seals. 

Canal ‘Wide’ is as the name suggests and although we will probably have headwinds over the next few days, the broader channel means we won’t need to tack as often, ‘thank god for small mercies’, as they say.

As we motored up the short inlet, named after the Noble Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, we were surprised to see a derelict shelter on the shore. Although there were no boats in the anchorage, for a moment I thought I saw someone sat at the table.

Fishermen’s derelict camp

The camp was abandoned some time ago, possibly when the red tide started affecting the southern channels and making mussels deadly to humans. Although it looks like it has been ransacked, the cooking pots are still hanging from the trees.

Life underwater, however, is thriving; a whole extended family of centolla (king crab) live in a couple of large kelp fronds. Luckily for them and for me, they were too small for Franco’s dinner, otherwise there is a strong possibility he would have pushed me out of the dinghy, expecting me to dive (Yaghan style) for his tea.

Centolla in their natural habitat

“I’d like to be,
under the sea,
in a centolla’s garden
in the shade.”

(with apologies to The Beatles)

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