Cerro Bandera / 54 58.53 S 067 37.86 W
Alongside Puerto Williams
Today dawned sunny and calm, an excellent day for a hike. The cruising guide for the area by Rolfo and Ardrizzi is very extensive and recommended some hikes nearby. The climb to the peak of Cerro Bandera at 920 meters has a well marked trail and could be completed in about six hours, so I decided this would be a good bit of exercise for my boat bound sea legs. The guide’s directions were pretty good and I had soon passed the statue of the Virgin Mary (idolatrous Catholics!), then the beaver dams and the small reservoir which serves the town, and was on the climb up the mountainside. Autumn is now upon us and the trees are starting to turn orange and crimson, making for a colourful trek through bush and forest. Eventually, after listening to my heart pound in my ears at several points (I need to exercise more), we got above the tree line and into rocky terrain only inhabited by some lichens, moss, some hardy grasses, a few insects and a species of small bird. Even these became very scarce as I got closer to the peak, only patches of a very small dark green plant remained, barely an inch high, its hard dry stems clung to the stones, what it lived on goodness knows. A few patches of snow had survived the summer and lay about here and there, but on the peak it was all scree. To the north lay Beagle Channel, Puerto Williams was at my feet, in the distance Ushuaia, and all around towered steep snow capped spires. I will confess the austere beauty was overwhelming and, at the risk of hyperbole, I could have fallen on my knees and wept. The thought crossed my atheist mind that perhaps Saint Augustine was right, God is an experience, not something to be reasoned about.
I took some photos with my new camera (not of course that a photo can convey the experience of a climb and the views seen as one’s reward). Unfortunately I am told that the internet facility here is very slow and expensive and that it is just not practical to upload photos, so they will have to wait awhile.
Back to the boat and down to earth, at about 3 p.m. I completed my laundry, hand washed in a bucket, and went to the Port Captain’s office where the essential Zarpe was issued. The next leg to Puerto Montt is 1100 miles of mostly channels.
We sail tomorrow at nine.
All is well.
The skipper has been away for most of the day and when he returned he looked a little wobbly. I hope he hasn’t taken to the bottle, it’s hard enough to get a good feed around here as it is. But what a glorious day for getting some serious work done out on the patio, I mean cockpit, my old grey coat just soaks up the sun’s rays perfectly. Just thinking about it is enough to make me … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.