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Date: 10 Oct 2016 22:22:37
Title: Three rainy days in Blaenau rolled into one

45:48.72S 74:28.15W

Caleta Millabu is a wonderful place, in reasonable winds. However it looks like it has the potential for nasty ‘rachas’ (vicious down draughts) in the strong winds/gales forecast the day after tomorrow. So despite my aversion to sailing in the rain, we need to move. The forecast for today was for force 5 north-westerlies but with that wind direction you get fronts which means rain and, in these parts, much stronger gusts. At least the wind was going our way.

This morning it was raining on a biblical scale, good thing we are already on a boat. As we were getting ready to leave a small coastal cargo vessel came into the inlet and anchored. I guessed that they were waiting for the weather to improve before moving out into the Golfo de Penas where it would soon be blowing a full gale and building up very nasty seas. Just in case he knew something we didn’t I downloaded the latest weather information … no change.

The ‘Isla Ballen’ at anchor

We hurtled along downwind with just a well reefed foresail. The wind was mostly ‘top end of a force 4’ (about 16 knots) but the gusts were frequently in the high twenties and one gust reached 40 knots. The rain was so heavy that at times it was difficult to tell whether the approaching spray a foot above the sea was caused by a gust of wind or heavier bands of rain. Rarely have I been so pleased that we bought the best wet weather gear we could get. 

Sailing past Isla Picnic

Eventually we turned into the sheltered side of Isla Guerrero and the wind moderated. We dropped the anchor and reversed into a little notch in the north west side of the little bay. I kept Caramor in position and fed out the lines while Kath did the hard work; rowing out with the lines, fighting her way through thick vegetation (cursing like a trooper) and securing them to a suitable tree. 

The pilot says that our new berth, Caleta Saudade is “hurricane proof”, and now that we are tucked into our tiny cove, with trees on three sides, I believe it. The rain just keeps on coming though, and as we sit tucking into hot tea and cheese on toast with the heater warming and drying the boat I give silent thanks that we are not in a tent.

Franco

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