Caleta Emalita

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 16 Apr 2010 23:07

Position: 54 52.96 S 070 27.94 W
At anchor Caleta Emalita, Isla O’Brien
Wind: WNW, F3-5 gentle to moderate breeze
Weather: Initially sunny, turning overcast, then rain. Cold.
Days run: 13 nm (17 nm sailed)

This morning I perused the weather fax very closely over my cup of tea. The barometer had fallen dramatically overnight and was sitting down at 979 mb and didn’t look like it wanted to budge. Unfortunately the reception was very poor so my weather fax needed a bit of imagination to interpret. Overnight the weather had been very gusty with little williwaws descending into the valley and tugging Sylph this way and that. As the sun rose the weather seemed to be clearing and with a little creative positive thinking I could get an acceptable interpretation out of the weather map so, with some hesitation, I decided to continue on our way figuring if it turned bad we could always turn back.

By the time I had cleaned up a little, completed engine checks, recovered our shore lines, got the dinghy on deck and weighed anchor it was gong on 10 o’clock. These small coves sure require a ot of work, especially for a single hander.

Once out into the channels the day was a lot better then I expected, the sun was shining, the breeze was from the northwest which was actually a pretty good angle and meant not too many tacks. It was a bit on the gusty side which with all the mountains around us is hardly surprising so for most of the day I had one reef in the main and about 60% jib, feathering through the worst gusts.

A bit after midday the weather ahead started to look grey and unpleasant, the barometer had dipped a little further to 978 mb, I furled a little extra jib and donned full foul weather gear. But it wasn’t too bad, after an initial gust which passed quickly (unlike the rain which came and stayed), the wind actually settled to a nice steady force three, a pleasant sailing breeze, though the cold rain was not so pleasant, and after a little pause just to be sure I took out the reef and unfurled the jib. We had some interesting navigation with quite a few small islands to negotiate but nothing too tricky and we managed to sail all the way apart from weighing and coming to anchor.

We arrived at our current location, Caleta Amalita in good time, by 2.30 p.m., which was just as well because it then took me a good hour and a half to set the shore lines so that I was satisfied, especially as the barometer is so low at the moment. I expect as this low pressure system moves through that the wind will back into the southwest and freshen quite a bit. We haven‘t experienced any dramatic weather in the channels yet, it will undoubtedly only be a matter of time until we do, and when that happens I want to be confident that we are as secure as possible. And my shore lines, despite my faking them into neat coils and figure of eights and using small lashings to keep it all in place, still behave like live pythons and seem to want to wrap themselves up in knots as soon as I go to use them. I think in part they need a bit of wearing in, but also suspect it is just the nature of three strand polyethylene rope (its big advantage is that it is light and floats). I reckon I may just about have it tamed by the time we are through the channels and into the Pacific.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

It’s stopped, Thank goodness! I think this is my worst time at sea so far. Nothing ever stays put for very long. One moment we are leaning one way, and I have just about got myself settled and then we will be leaning over the other way. And just to add interest, even when we are leaning one way every now and again we will lean over so far that it is very difficult just to hold on. I am a little old for all this nonsense. I have found the middle sideways settee is best for now. It is hardly an ideal sleeping position, but at least there I can be poised for whatever happens next. Poised? Poised is hardly the attitude I wish to adopt at this time of my life. Relaxed, settled, comfortable are much better words than poised.

Hardtack for dinner again!

The skipper has just it the heater. Time to use one of those better words, relax, get settled, comfortable even, and ….. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.