Day 89 Soft Canalexit
It’s all change now! From Isla Talcán which was close to the mainland, we have crossed over to Isla Buta Chauques, an outlier from the large island of Chiloé. In the process we passed surreptitiously from the Golfo de Corcovado into the Golfo de Ancud.
Isolote Nihuel, a volcanic plug?
Just 40 nautical miles but what a difference it has made! A pleasant pastoral landscape grazed by sheep and cattle has replaced the wilderness. We are recognising many plants from other parts of the world: gorse, bramble, fox glove and eucalyptus which have been introduced over the past few centuries. Bright fuchsia flowers liven up the hedgerows but this is a plant that travelled the other way, a native of South America, it was introduced to European gardens. Looking out across the countryside, I feel overwhelmed by the number of trees and shrubs that I have never seen before. Down south it was easy, millions of trees but all of the same make (Nothofagus betuloïdes).
A diverse woodland landscape
It isn’t just nature that has changed, there are people who live and work here, some even own cars (you have to wonder why on a tiny island) while others travel on horseback (a thick blanket instead of a saddle and stirrups).
Orchard with beasties (Kath really misses here chickens – F)
Sailing these waters has its challenges, the tidal range around these islands is 6-7 metres, similar to the tides at home. However after months of very small tidal ranges it takes some getting used to again. When the tide goes out, it looks like someone has pulled the plug out. A dry channel will become perfectly navigable in a few hours time. It keeps us on our toes.
Caramor about to disappear down the plughole
We have certainly made the most of the south-westerlies to make progress but they won’t last for ever and by Sunday the weather will be changing. Maybe, just maybe, we will reach Puerto Montt before.
Barn with an old dug-out canoe converted into a water trough