Day 24 North
Another sunny day, hurrah! The Navy’s forecast for 20 knots north-westerly winds was correct and Caramor flew across the ‘Paso Tamar’ gap at nearly 7 knots. We have in effect turned the corner and are now heading north. As we approached Fairway Island, the wind calmed down. I went below to call up the lighthouse on the the island to report our position. (The Chilean Navy requires all ships to radio the staffed lighthouses en route.) Franco said he didn’t think they were on air as he hadn’t heard them all morning. In fact they had hailed several ships but Franco hadn’t recognised their call sign ‘Faro Far Away’, he thought we’d been hearing some distant lighthouse. In the end the joke was on me because when I called up “Faro Fairway” (English pronunciation), I ended up speaking to “Faro Felix”! To Chilean ears, ‘fairway’ in English sounds more like ‘Fèlix’ in Spanish.
Fairway Island with the lighthouse dwelling, Strait of Magellan in the distance
As we approached the entrance to Canal Smyth, the wind funnelled down the channel, straight on the nose. Nevertheless we made good progress tacking to and fro at 4-5 knots. A Navy boat passed to port and a large tanker Albion Bay to starboard.
Albion Bay steaming up Canal Smyth
Two more tacks, within site of Puerto Profundo, we headed for Caleta Teokita. On the chart it looks like a long arm with a few bends. Franco said “that’s it, hard left”. I don’t usually question my skipper’s navigation but the notch he was indicating looked no wider than all the other kinks in the headland. “Are you sure?” I asked. Navigation in these waters is by pilotage, using a chart, a compass and your eyes. You must forget the GPS, it is completely out.
Usually Franco is the nervous one in these situations “Get away from that cliff, we are about to hit it”, said about a rock 50m away when we were in Portugal. But this time I found my mouth was dry and I was gulping apprehensively, as I steered for the slit in the cliffs. We passed through the entrance, it was very narrow, I don’t think there was room to turn Caramor around, and continued past a right bend, then a left until the inlet widened out into a pretty pool with a couple of small islands in the middle. It was very picturesque. Franco shouted “ice” from the bow and indeed the whole of the basin was frozen over.
Approach to Caleta Teokita - Gulp
Disappointingly, we wouldn’t be anchoring there as we don’t want to run the risk of being frozen in. Luckily there was an alternative anchorage in a smaller cove nearby.
The sun dropped behind the hill by 2pm and an hour later it was too cold to sit outside, leaving plenty of time to slow-roast a shoulder of lamb. Not a bad end to the day.
Caramor enjoying the view from Puerto Profundo