The morning’s weather fax indicated fresh westerlies but nothing too strong.
I was tempted to stay for a day in the beautiful Caleta Morning, but all the
coves are beautiful so I decided I had best make the most of the reasonable
weather, we need to keep moving and there are undoubtedly going to be
significant periods where we will be forced to stay at anchor and
wait out strong winds before we get to Puerto Montt. Over breakfast I
cursed myself for not having topped up the propane bottle before leaving
Ushuaia, now I have something else to worry about which was totally avoidable.
Before we got underway I had one small job to do, yesterday in looking up at
the jib I had noticed a small bit of sunlight showing through a seam, a sure
sign that some stitching was coming loose. The aphorism, “a stitch in time saves
nine” could not be truer when applied to sails, a few loose stitches can soon
turn into a huge gaping hole requiring many hours of work to repair, especially
if it has to be done by hand, not to mention the disaster that might ensue from
a critical sail failing at the wrong moment. This small job was soon completed
and by 10 a.m. we had thrown off the convenient fishermen’s shore lines, motored
clear of the kelp and were heading back out into the channels. As we left the
caleta I cast an eye back to admire the scenery one more time, the still calm
water, the waterfall tumbling into the cove’s head, trees to the shoreline,
snow capped mountains behind, nature untouched by man (except of course for an
innocuous bit of rope tied to some trees).
Out in the Beagle Channel there was virtually no wind. Regardless we have to
conserve fuel as well as husband the old engine so I shut it down and we drifted
while we waited fro some wind. Initially we had a light easterly which I set the
sails square to, wing on wing, the jib poled out to one side, the main guyed out
on the other. This didn’t last for too long,the wind died completely and
for a while we were drifting backwards in the almost ever present easterly
current in the channels. Then a puff of wind once again from the east had us
regaining the lost yards - we certainly would not have covered a mile by this
stage. Once more the large glacier to the north of us passed by for the third
time. The breeze ever so modestly increased such that I even tried the wind vane
for a while. But this didn’t last long either, looking ahead I could see some
white caps. Now this meant either a tidal disturbance or some wind coming
towards us. I knew it could not have been the foprmer in these waters
so I had to assume it was some wind - from the west. I dropped the pole,
sheeted in the sails and fell off to starboard and waited. Sure enough within a
few minutes, after a short calm, the wind arrived. The wind was against us, back
to tacking mode but we were moving at last. The wind freshened requiring a reef
in the main and a partially furled the jib for about two hours but as we
approached our destination for the night it started to ease again and I set full
sail again to keep our speed up. The seno (sound) has a bar across it,
apparently an ancient moraine caused by the glaciers a long time ago so while
the sound is large the navigable entrance is small. The cruising guide as well
as giving a recommended GPS position also had a nice sketch to indicate the safe
water, it is nice not to be totally dependant on GPS.
Once inside the sound the water deepened again to over a 100 meters. I
persisted in trying to sail for a while but the wind was just too fluky, with
mostly no wind at all. Grateful for having a functioning motor I turned it on
and motored the last few miles to where we are now.
On arrival I followed the book, dropped the anchor in the recommended
position, put the dinghy in the water and ran a couple of lines ashore to the
trees. Now I wish I could say this all went smoothly and in a seamanlike manner,
but I have to confess that I have yet to sort out a satisfactory way of handling
these long shore lines without getting them in a hopeless tangle. Many boats
have reels on deck, which is a good solution if you live down this way but not
so good if you mostly cross oceans as Sylph and her crew do. I have coiled these
lines in various ways, tying them up so as to prevent them getting into a mess
but as yet to no avail. An extra person would of course make a
difference, they could feed the line out while I rowed ashore but as I don’t
have one of these convenient additions on board we shall have to devise a system
which BC and I can handle alone. We will work it out.
And the anchorage is once again beautiful. We could be anchored in a small
lake, surrounded on all sides, steep mountains climb to the east and south of
us, a small forested spit of land protects us to the west, and a large glacier
tortuously writhes down the ice capped mountains to the north of us.
Tomorrow we shall have a rest day.
All is well.
A rest day tomorrow, good idea skipper! Certainly today, while an improvement
on yesterday, was anything but restful. All is peaceful now however, the skipper
even gave me something other than hard tack for dinner, actually quite tasty. So
in all not too bad a day, Now if he would only turn the heater on. Oh well, I
will just curl up in the V-berth for a quiet …