Days run: 30 nm
Today we got an early start to the day, for we are now starting our
journey through the Chilean Canals in earnest, and are embarking upon the last
leg of Sylph’s world voyage. Once through the Chilean canals we will be
into the Pacific Ocean, the last ocean (mind you a rather large one) that we
have to cross. After breakfast and a few last minute chores we slipped from our
neighbours alongside the Micalvi and were clear of the inlet just after nine. I
called up Pto Williams Radio as required and advised them of my intentions and
requested permission to proceed. Well the first thing they came back with was
that I am not allowed to anchor in the place I had nominated as my destination
for the evening. “Hmm, I wonder why?” I thought and offered an alternative
nearby cove. Nope, that one is not allowed either. Nor the next I proffered.
“OK,” I asked, “where can I anchor?” It seems the only place that is permitted
on Isla Navarino is Pto Williams and Pto Navarino. Great, now they tell me! I
plucked an ETA out of the air for Pto Navarino, which in hindsight bore no
credibility whatsoever but seemed to satisfy the radio operator and we continued
on our way.
Our first sail with the Chilean courtesy flag hoisted in the spreaders had us
covering the same territory we have previously sailed twice before. Initially we
had light headwinds and while Sylph’s performance is much improved with the new
mainsail, we are still working with an old headsail and being an older style
heavy displacement boat do not point as well or foot as fast as many of our
lighter fin keeled brethren. So it was not too long before a nice sleek French
aluminium sloop, the Norvik, which had been a neighbour of ours for a couple of
days, overtook us on their way to Ushuaia. We took photos of each other and will
exchange them later via email. I hope old Sylph comes out looking half as good
as Norvik did with her beautifully cut spectra sails - the rust stains
on the spare jib we are currently using definitely will not
present Sylph to her best.
Later in the afternoon the wind swung into the east which meant a quarter
run, wing on wing, down the channel. I seriously contemplated continuing
overnight to make the best use of the fair breeze but on looking ahead through
my charts decided this would be unwise as once a little way past Ushuaia the
scale becomes rather on the small side which is not very conducive to safe
navigation at night. So, as the sun approached the western horizon, I found a
nearby anchorage, Caleta Santa Rosa, and headed for it for the night (even if it
isn’t on the very short list of approved anchorages). The entrance into the cove
is extremely narrow and as I approached and studied the chartlet in the cruising
guide I decided it looked eminently feasible to enter under sail.
After almost sailing straight past the small entrance I dropped the jib and
reached in under main alone with an ideal breeze. Rocks were mere meters
away on either side and kelp slid along the hull to port as we shot through the
small gap which was the cove‘s entrance. I tightened up a little as we entered,
washed off a little speed and as we approached the centre, dropped the mainsail
and then the anchor. A very satisfying way to end the day's sailing.
Now I have to send our position report into the Chilean Navy. What will I say
I wonder? I guess I will make something up. Apparently it is common practice for
yachts to anchor pretty much where they please even where it isn’t permitted and
then report their actual position without causing any problems. It sure is a
strange system the authorities run here and I can see I am going to take a while
to get used to it. Reminds me of a photo I saw once of a lawn which
students were walking over and picnicking upon, and a police man standing right
beside a sign which said “Do Not Walk on the Grass.” The point being it is not
necessarily the stated rules that are important in a culture but rather the
unwritten ones, which of course for an outsider can take a while to work
Now I am enjoying a nice can of Boddington draught, a small present from
Roger. Thanks Roger.
All is well.
The things | have to do to score a little bit of fish. I am sure I pitch my
complaints at just to the right frequency to make a human’s ear ache, but it
seems to have little effect on the skipper, perhaps he is deaf as well as …
well maybe I had best not go too far. After all eventually I did get a little
bit of tuna this evening, not the most delicious morsel that has passed by my
canines but better than the hardtack I am daily forced to devour.
Speaking of fish,
In response to your email below. Maybe you would like to clarify what I can
only assume is an unintended ambiguity in your missive. Are you implying that
you are good company and I am not. I am sure this is just a very poorly
expressed sentiment on your part, and very un-English I might add. In the
interest of continuing peaceful trans-Atlantic relations I will assume you were
drunk on tea, toast and marmalade after your return to merry old England.
As you would know, my President (God Bless America) has recently been awarded
the Nobel peace prize, but even such a gracious diplomat as our President can
only go so far in overlooking such serious slights to the our sovereign dignity.
Let it not be said that I am rattling sabres, but please, either send some fish
or choose your wording more thoughtfully (preferably the former, then say
whatever you like).
Bob (the Cat)
And now I am going to do what I like ……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz