Ice Thwarts Glacier Trip – Last Party With Dawnbreaker Set Up
Position: Caleta Beaulieu, Seno Pia Eastern Arm
Date: 25 February 2012
Yesterday we spent a lazy day in Caleta Beaulieu overlooking the glacier ahead of us and listening to the rushing of the waterfall down the high steep cliff immediately behind us. The evening before we had heard long thunder-like rumbles from the glacier at the head of the fjord. Clearly a lot of ice was thundering from the ice cliff into the water, and by yesterday morning it had made its way down the fjord towards our anchorage.
Andrew took the kayak off to have a closer look at the nearer glacier and found some of the going quite tough, negotiating his way through the blocks of unyielding ice. Late afternoon and the sun had reappeared so we untied Mina2 and started making our way the full three miles up to the end of this arm of the fjord to have a look at the glacier that had caused all the noise and all the ice. We got half way before the ice became so thick we decided to turn back and have another go today, hoping that the ice would by then have dispersed.
In the evening we drank a toast to James, my nephew – Linda and John’s eldest – and his new wife Kat on this, their wedding day, as the evening sun threw a pinky-red glow over the mountain tops all around, making them look like their peaks were on fire.
A couple of times a day I have to send an email to the Chilean Armada reporting our position – one of the requirements of the permit they issue to cruise this area. But at the same time we send and receive all our other emails as well. We had heard from Dawnbreaker that they were heading in this direction on their way west up to Valdivia on the Pacific coast of Chile.
When Linda, John and I arrived in Stanley in the Falkland Islands three months ago after our gruelling storm-force passage from Buenos Aires it was only minutes before Lars and Bob from Dawnbreaker – the only other visiting yacht in Stanley – came round, introduced themselves, told us where all the pubs were and suggested we get together for a drink. Within a couple of hours we had the whole crew of Dawnbreaker on board Mina2 for an anchor nip to end all anchor nips of potent Brazilian caipirinhas (we provided the cachaça and they provided the limes). The tone of our relationship was set.
Lars and I had one strong bond from the outset. We were both embarking on the adventure of our lifetime. We had spent decades dreaming and years preparing for our trip down to the deep south, across Drake Passage and into the icy paradise wilderness of Antarctica – our own personal Everest. Since our first meeting in the Falkland Islands our paths have crossed and re-crossed time and time again, in Antarctica, Ushuaia, Puerto Williams and in the fjords of Tierra Del Fuego. They have stolen from us; we have hacked their blog and we have enjoyed numerous riotous evenings together. As they now head west and Mina2 heads east, this would be our final chance to get together for one last time. We have arranged a rendezvous for this evening in Caleta Cinco Estrellas in Seno Tres Brazos just a few miles across the channel from where we are now. Just to be on the safe side, Dolly Mk4 will be untied from the backstay and put somewhere beyond piratical temptation. It will, I hope and expect, be an evening to remember. Don’t expect a blog too early tomorrow.