Day 28 The English Narrow
Permission to leave port sought and granted from the Navy, we weighed anchor and ghosted out of Puerto Edén.
Puerto Edén Navy Base
The sun was warm and we peeled off the layers. If you look carefully, we even have a bit of a tan.
This is the life - Franco foot steering
It took five pleasant hours to sail 9.4 nautical miles, we weren’t going to beat any speed records! On the approaches to Angostura Inglès (the English Narrow), we decided to motor through as the additional speed of the current in the narrow gap would, in effect, cancel out our speed from the wind and Caramor would be much more difficult to steer. As it was, the wind died completely.This is the main shipping route and the Chilean Navy has drawn up a long list of sensible rules to avoid collisions in the narrows, plenty wide enough for a yacht but a tight squeeze for a tanker.
Angostura Inglès - the channel is left of the red marker
At the entrance we passed a work boat coming the other way and later a fishing boat (known as a ’lancha’) overtook us shortly after the narrowest point. It was painted blue.
In Edén we were struck by the bright yellow of the fishing boats. We joked that someone must have bought a job lot of paint and made a profit selling it off to his friends in the village. It turned out we were wrong. Yellow is the official colour for Puerto Edén fleet and each fisherman buys his own paint. Blue boats are from Punta Arenas and red from Puerto Natales.
Coming towards us was some sort of craft, through the binoculars it looked like the bow wave was washing over the deck. As it got closer we identified a ‘bote’ (the same kind of open boat as ’Jonathan’, the one I went fishing in) loaded up with firewood, it was so low in the water that we couldn’t tell the colour of the hull and the helmsmen was bailing continuously. Houses in southern Chile are very poorly insulated and the heating (and sometimes cooking) is from wood fuel which is cheap or free. In Edén, everyone has an area, sometimes several miles away, where they saw firewood.
Not wishing to motor further than we had to, we pulled into Caleta Vittorío for the night.