Beagle Channel

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 6 Feb 2010 20:41
Position: 55 01.18 S 066 55.6 W
At anchor Caleta Banner, Beagle Channel
Wind: North F4 Moderate breeze
Weather: Overcast, cool

It has been a long 24 hours since leaving Bahia Thetis yesterday morning. Obviously we got through the lLe Maire Strait OK despite having a headwind and wind against tide. By avoiding the overfall areas it actually wasn't too bad at all. Then it was a long overnight sail along the south coast of Tierra Del Fuego. With somewhat blustery conditions I stayed fairly close to the coast which meant near constant lookout attending to navigation, especially as the wind frequently changed direction and strength, which in turn of course meant no sleep.

At about 8 this morning we made the entrance to Beagle Channel leaving the long two meter Southern Ocean swell behind us a we did so.

The wind looked good for a while and I was enjoying the sail, sails sheeted in flat, gunwale dipping into the water, and spray whipping over the bow, but after about an hour it decided to go light and fluky and after persisting in messing about for a bit I at last decided to resort to the engine in order to make a refuge before evening. In doing engine checks I noticed that the fuel filter bowl was almost full of water. Bother! I thought it best to change the filter before running the motor for any length of time so this became the next job. Given the navigational constraints and variable winds and my fatigued state this was a little stressful. I ended up getting quite a bit of diesel over the place and dropped a bolt from the filter into the bilge, these things happen when trying to hurry, especially when a little tired. I regret to admit that my response was less than restrained. Still we got it done and back together and ran the engine for a while to ensure there was no air in the system. And now at some stage as I must look into why I had so much water in the fuel. I have my suspicions. Another little job to add to the list.

At about 11 we were drifting along in the fading wind and I was just getting my self ready for a long stint of motoring when I heard SY Jenny calling on the VHF. It was nice to here Jan's voice. Jenny is now in Puerto Williams which is the Chilean port in the region. In the course of our little gam Jan mentioned an anchorage Caleta Banner. I was not sure where this was but when we had finished talking I looked it up and it turned out it was no more than 200 yards away just to the south of me. It is on the Chilean side of the channel so strictly speaking not available to me until we clear out of Argentina and clear in with Chile. Which is why I had not considered it. Now with it so close before me I thought what the heck, I will claim extenuating circumstance - weather, fatigue, engine problems, sick cat, etc. if any authority figures come snooping around. Hopefully we will be able to have a rest and be on our way again before this happens.

Now the wind has picked up quite fresh from the north, actually the worst direction for this particular anchorage but the holding is good, the swell minimal and we are sitting comfortably. Now it is time for a bit more of a snooze.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I am with the skipper on this one, in fact I am way ahead of you skipper . . . Zzzzzzzz