At Anchor Bahia Tongoy

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 6 Dec 2010 00:07

Position: 30 17.80 S 071 35.77 W
Course: 040 Speed: 5 knots
Wind Sou’ west F3-4 Gentle to Moderate Breeze
Weather: Mostly sunny, warm

Days Run: 26 miles

We made good time as we approached Punta Langua de Vaca (Tongue of Cow - with a fluent Spanish speaker on board I now know what all these things mean) rounding it a little after 23.00. Bahia Tongoy is a wide bay open to the north and providing good shelter from the south. I was hoping to sail to anchor in the southwest corner and was very pleased that despite the late hour and her obvious tiredness Martina was happy to attempt to sail while there was some wind. A kindred spirit. But a little after midnight we had to concede defeat as a short way into the bay the wind died and left us drifting. We started the engine, motored the remaining three miles to anchor four cables of the beach and once satisfied that we were secure, a little after 1 a.m., we retired below for a good night’s sleep.

I was awoken by an alarm at 7 announcing the arrival of the morning’s weather fax. Once that was sorted out I climbed back into my bunk where Martina’s beautiful smile greeted me. We talked, she looked at some of my books that line the V berth and we ended up discussing Joyce’s Ulysses, in particular Molly Bloom’s soliloquy. What bliss!

Later we arose for breakfast, the wind had now swung into the north and was sending a light chop into the bay, Sylph bobbed and curtseyed to it, but unfortunately Martina’s tummy did not appreciate it so she popped a seasickness tablet and retired to the starboard settee. We talked some more, now about poetry. I read her John Donne’s “The Sunne Rising”. Martina’s joy in my explanation and her understanding of the poem filled my heart with great happiness.

After a filling pancake lunch and a bit of a clean up I got the dinghy into the water and fitted the outboard. The outboard had not been used for quite a while, it started no problems but the float valve must have been stuck because it immediately started leaking fuel. It took me a short while to clean the carburettor then we headed ashore for the beach which stretched for about eight kilometres to the east of where Sylph was anchored. Once ashore we pulled the dinghy above the high water mark and started out for a good leg stretch. The beach is firm and flat, behind it the landscape dry and brown dotted with numerous short hardy bushes. To the west lay a small settlement, a short jetty poking out into the bay, presumably a fishing village, to the east lay the township of Tongoy, and about half way along the beach were some white buildings protected by a heavy barbed wire fence. I pondered its purpose. The bay is marked on the chart as a submarine exercise area so I suspect the bay might be an underwater sound range for the Chilean fleet and the unmarked white painted buildings perhaps housed the recording station. We walked three kilometres, Sylph invisible in the distance, we wrote each other’s names in the sand, then hiked back to the dinghy. A small surf had built up, we pushed the dinghy past it, the aging but thus far reliable Yamaha outboard started first pull and now we are back on board and it is time for dinner.

All is well.

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