A Long Day

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Fri 4 Jun 2010 04:37

Position: 47 55.71 S 074 36.18 W
At anchor Caleta Hale
Wind: northwest F3 gentle breeze.
Weather: Overcast, some drizzle, cool
Day’s Run: 25 nm (50 nm sailed)

Today has been a long one. Last night we had anchored at the head of a long narrow cove and I had used the stern anchor to control our approach to the narrow head where I dropped the main anchor at short stay to hold the bows while I ran two shorelines to some trees. Consequently this morning there was a little more to do before we could get underway and it was not until 10 a.m. that we had cleared the Caleta and were once more out in the main channel, there to find almost a flat calm and a steady drizzle, not my favourite combination.

We motored for about an hour before I became thoroughly fed up with standing in the rain steering, instead I left Sylph to drift while I made some pancakes. Some wind arrived while devouring the fruits of my galley labour, and we continued to make slow progress against the relatively light headwind. We made the bay, Puerto Island, that I had intended as the evening’s stopover just on sunset but on entering found the buoy advertised in the cruising guide was not present and the water was otherwise to deep and the bay to open to be considered safe in a strong wind, which are in fact forecast for later tonight and tomorrow.

I motored around the bay a few times looking for a shallow spot in a suitable location but found none and decided we had best continue to the next Caleta some seven miles further to the north. The next couple of hours were spent tacking between the shores of Canal Messier in the dark, a solitary light blinked two flashes every 10 seconds and apart this reassuring aid to navigation the only other thing guiding me was the dark masses of and which could be discerned as we got close to them. I had a waypoint for the next cove, Caleta Hale, but as I got closer realised that the entrance was very narrow and was going to be difficult to find in the dark, especially as the scale of my charts made them next to useless when looking for something so small. Fortunately I was able to speak with Persimmon on the VHF radio. Persimmon had spent the last two nights there and Persimmon’s skipper, Ian, was able to provide me with a couple of additional GPS waypoints to help guide me in. These proved invaluable because as we got closer to the cove I felt like we were simply driving into a dark blank mass. I shone the spotlight around every so often but the beam was quickly swallowed up by the faint mist and its suffused white backscatter of light only served to ruin my night vision. Even when we were extremely close to the shore and within a hundred meters of the entrance I could barely make it out and ended up motoring in circles a few times before identifying the entrance. Then ever so gingerly I made the approach through the narrow passage and into the confines of the Caleta beyond. It was by no means big and in the dark night seemed much smaller, I will not have a full appreciation of its dimensions and exactly where we have anchored until morning. Once the anchor was down I got the dinghy in the water and ran a shoreline for some additional security and to limit Sylph’s swinging circle in the confined cove. Hopefully morning will reveal that I have got Sylph secured in a satisfactory manner, at least to get us through the night.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Another day of too much thissing and thatting, but at least the angles were within reasonable bounds and did not interfere excessively with my important business. The thissing and thatting went on for much longer than usual as well, my normal routine of sitting on the chart table around dinner time and making my needs known to the skipper in very clear terms was thrown into complete disarray, as he didn‘t cook until very late. Regrettably the change in routine did nothing to change the usual situation, still no tuna. And no heater either it seems this evening. Oh well, I am resilient, time for a bit more of a … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..