A Disappointing Day

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 18 May 2010 21:56

Position: 51 44.61 S 074 04.64 W
At anchor Caleta Moonliight Shadow
Wind: Northwest F3-5 gentle to strong breeze
Weather: Overcast, some drizzle, cool.
Day’s Run: 9nm (20nm sailed)

I had high hopes for a good run today but was to be sadly disappointed. My forecasts indicated nor’ westerlies turning southwest later in the day.. I therefore weighed anchor as early as I could, at first light. Sunrise now being at 8.30, with two long shorelines to recover and the dinghy to stow this had us back out in the channels at 9.30 and once more punching into the northwest wind. While I expected headwinds they were fresher then I had hoped and as the day wore on showed no sign of switching into the southwest. At 1 pm we were adjacent Caleta Moonlight Shadow, the wind was still strong from the northwest and seemed to be freshening further, and the seas had become steep and short. The next possible shelter, Puerto Mayne, was 15 miles away and unless conditions changed suddenly and dramatically there was no way we were going to make there before dark. I looked longingly around, up at the sky, for a sign of any change, some sun shone feebly to the west, but I felt the risk was too great, we were in no position to navigate the channels at night except perhaps in the most benign conditions, and the ridge of high pressure I had been counting on to bring the southwesterlies was very tenuous, it probably was not going to last long and would soon switch back into the northwest fresher than ever. I decided to be content with the nine miles we had made thus far, started the engine, dropped sail and motored through the ten meter wide gap into the long narrow stretch of water which is Caleta Moonlight Shadow. The inlet is quite striking for its consistent width of about 40 meters, depth of 15 to 20 meters and its long straight northwest run of over two miles. The island into which the small sound penetrates is relatively low compared with the nearby terrain, perhaps 100 meters high, but of the same material, solid gray granite, though it is difficult to tell for it is completely covered in green foliage, and has a very primeval feel to it, green everywhere, including lots of ancient looking ferns, but not a splash of contrasting colour anywhere, a land made before flowers had evolved, or maybe the season is just wrong.

I had hoped to find somewhere I could anchor for the night but the combination of the narrowness of the sound and its depth meant there was nowhere that I felt we had sufficient room to swing in comfort, so once more it was drop anchor, out dinghy and out shorelines to some trees to get us tucked away safely into a tiny cove for the night.

And good to hear Jessica Watson has made it safely home, I still don’t approve, nonetheless a great achievement. Now we just have to hope Abby Sunderland gets home safe. Hope this nonsense will stop soon.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

How much longer? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.