Day 16 Caleta Macias to Caleta Brecknock

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Thu 7 Jul 2016 22:18
54:32.69S  71:54.65W

Franco’s ear when it comes to engine pitch has always amazed me, the slightest change of note and he tunes in. This ability has averted the odd disaster.

Despite a forecast for snow and very reduced visibility, it was a glorious dawn that greeted us as we stepped outside onto a slightly icy deck. Three lines to retrieve takes a little longer but we were off by 8:40.

Sunrise over Peninsula Edwards from Caleta Macias

The wind was too light to sail so we motored (again). Friends told us we would be motoring 90% of the time and so far they weren’t far wrong, we have had the engine running 80% of the time. Hopefully our sailing ratio will increase as we get further north and daylight hours increase. 

The landscape of Canal Brecknock is my favourite so far; tiny archipelagos, large snow capped peninsulas, glimpses of the open ocean between islands, and lochs running deep into the heart of Tierra del Fuego. According to the chart, there is only 300m separating Seno Aragay from the western arm of Seno Chasco. If we could drag Caramor over the ridge, we would save 11 nautical miles. Having  now measured the distance, I’m not sure it would be worth the humungous effort! 

Reading other peoples’ accounts of their journeys through the channels, I don’t think my appreciation of Brecknock is shared. Franco’s comment was “glacier scoured bare rock and bonsai trees”. 

Our route today followed the alternative shipping lane, around the north of Isla Georgiana before joining up with the main Brecknock Channel, north of Isla London. We were able to sail two miles out of the six on this section before the wind died completely again. We then turned right up Canal Ocasion. Not sure what the original ‘occasion’ was but we will celebrate with a glass of wine and pavlova.

I put the kettle on and as Franco had gone to the heads (the loo for you landlubbers), I stood in the companionway keeping a look out. My mind must have wandered off into the vastness of Patagonia, when suddenly I heard a high pitch whine, which seemed to be coming from the back of the boat. I stepped into the cockpit to investigate, the noise got louder. It sounded to me as if the propeller was about to fall off. Down below, Franco came waddling out of the heads with his waterproofs around his ankles and yelled “Colin is going crazy”. I didn’t quite catch what he said but it sounded urgent, so I put the engine into neutral and dashed to look over to the side. Meanwhile Franco turned the kettle off.

We turned off the main channel into Seno Occasion. It looked forbidding. Caleta Brecknock was right at the end, below huge towering cliffs of dark bare rock and we anchored with four lines to stunted trees on the shore. 

Heading towards Caleta Brecknock