Day 39 Five Shades of Grey

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Sun 31 Jul 2016 03:28
51:48.4S 72:36.01W

In the pre-dawn gloom, Caleta Cascada was a monochrome of shades of grey. The stillness shattered as a dolphin broke the surface, followed by an other, and an other … their breathing, the only sound in the muffled dampness of the fog.

‘Fog’ was not mentioned in the Navy weather forecast which had promised ‘no wind and clear skies’. Angostura Kirke lay ahead, a tight tidal funnel into the Golf of Almirante Montt. We thought we had got the tide times right, in fact we were nearly certain … Should we wait until the cloud lifted? The chart was accurate and the GPS position nearly exact. Although we wouldn’t see the transit beacons on the shore, there was enough visibility to make out the islands either side of the narrow passage and the markers on the electronic chart would help us line up.

The engine purred into life and belched diesel fumes. I winched up the anchor. The clatter of steel against bronze splintered the peace. I wondered what dolphins thought of boats, how ungraceful they must find them. As the anchored lifted from the water, they were there, five sleek bodies bounding around Caramor’s bow as Franco increased the revs.

There was still a little tide running against us, perfect. We could distinguish the dark shapes of the banks against the ashen sky and sea which merged together. We saw no one, even the radio was quiet, at last the ceaseless chatter of the fishermen had stopped. Our speed increased by half a knot as we passed the Isla Medio narrows, all good. We lined Caramor up and flushed through, our timing had been perfect, it was as close as it ever gets to slack water.

Caramor danced around in the eddy boils and as the shores retreated into the mist, we lost our bearings. I held the tiller in the centre and my perception was that we were travelling in a straight line but the compass indicated a 60˚ turn. The fog plays games with your mind, at times I thought we were yawing to the left, at others that Caramor was picking up speed and plunging toward an abyss. A dot on the nebulous horizon could be a gull sat on the water or a fishing boat heading straight for us. The last time we were in fog, we fretted about running into an iceberg, possibly a lesser danger than the erratic fishing boats and ferries navigating the Golfo Almirante Montt!

Golfo Almirante Montt viewed from Caramor

Our eyes ached from peering into the pea soup (not a speck of ham to be seen), occasionally a fishing boat would appear out of the murk, salute and vanish again. At last we reached our anchorage in Caleta Delano, near a salmon farm. The workers live in houses on the shore. 

The fog lifted after dark, revealing  a starry night. We long for a clear blue sky tomorrow.