Aproaching the Beagle Channel

Lars Alfredson
Wed 7 Dec 2011 15:15
Pos 54:54.78S 65:59.13 Puerto Espanol

06122011 Cont.. The Beagle Channel - Approaches

As the day progresses the winds return and the seas steepen. Fifty knots just off the beam has us doing 18.8 knots surfing down the now three metre seas, exhilarating but not very comfortable. My bunk is unusable as were on a starboard tack and although I could handle the angle the pounding up and down would launch me skyward and onto the deck in a flash.

We have seen land for a while and now we alter course to the West into the approaches to the Beagle Channel. At last the seas decrease in the lea of the land but now we experience the "Ratha" (Or Woolies as they say in the Falklands),winds that gust down mountains and send the toe rail underwater as we lurch over.

Turning North into Puerto Espanol both seas and wind drop as we head into the anchorage. The Light at the entrance is not working and ahead we see a flashing strobe light which turn out to be a yacht already at anchor.

Pilot Book advises that this is a very useful anchorage for boats en-route to or from the Beagle Channel. It lies midway between Peurto Hoppner and the first usable anchorage in the Beagle, breaking the trip into two day hops of approximately 55 miles. There is no shelter from the East or South East and West winds can blow with extreme force. Onshore there is an old abandonded, steam powered saw mill, the engine still has the makers plaque

The bay is surrounded by mountains with strips of unmelted snow near their peaks and trees covering the lower slopes. There is an enormous kelp bed to the West where a river enters the bay. Ahead, we anchor in seven metres of water where we can hear the waves breaking on the beach as the yacht lies to a light breeze and a calm sea.

Anchordram, dinner and bed ready tomorrow and another day of fun and adventure! The forecast shows winds of 25 to 30 knots on the nose so a day of bouncing rather than rock and roll.

Bob the Blog.