Good to be at Anchor

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 14 Sep 2010 20:30

At anchor Bahia Corral
Wind: North, F3, gentle
Weather: partly cloudy, mild

Last night the wind howled and I was so happy to be snug in my bunk at anchor. My concerns about the anchorage were unfounded, we joggled around a bit at times, especially when the tide was ebbing, but it was very minor and nothing like it would have been if we had been out at sea trying to hold our own against the strong northerlies.

By morning the worst of it was over and the day dawned calm and clear. I did a few odd jobs, including repairing a light that has been a nuisance forever. I have pulled it apart several times in the past looking for the faulty connection without any success. This morning I pulled it apart once again, this time including the switch, something I haven’t thought to do before and lo and behold, there was the loose wire, a small screw just needed tightening. Unbelievable - the light must have had that fault ever since I purchased it some 12 years ago. So that was definitely a minor win and I thought something worth writing home about.

Then this afternoon I put the dinghy in the water, rowed ashore and went for a stroll around the island. The major attraction was the old fort at the northern end of the island which used to guard the entrance to Bahia Corral. This is the only major port worth speaking of between Valparaiso and Ancud so it was of significant strategic concern when Chile was Spanish territory and the likes of Francisco Draquez was roaming around, bloody Ingles pirates. Obviously I have arrived outside the tourist season, everything (not that there is very much here) was closed and when I got to the fort the doors were ‘locked’ up with a piece of rope with one half hitch in it. I looked around, no one about, didn’t seem to be a problem so I slipped the hitch and slipped in through the doors. The fort is obviously long past its prime but there was enough left to get a good idea of how it worked. It is located on a promontory overlooking the bay's entrance. The seaward side is simply cliff where the guns used to be, one large cannon remains. The land side is secured with a wall isolating the headland from the rest of the island obviously to protect the fort from assault by troops if they somehow made it past the cannons and landed on the island somewhere. Inside the walls were the remains of a church and a couple of buildings, only a few walls remained. Nonetheless very interesting. I shall post some photos when I can. As I left I made sure to tie up the ‘lock’ again. A sign said the entrance fee was 700 pesos, so I deposited about this sum in the donation box inside the open doored wooden church standing opposite.

The island is only small so the rest of the walk took less than an hour. Some interesting local architecture caught my interest, a couple of houses were built with a great deal of imagination but it seemed little in the way of any sound engineering principles in mind, don’t think they would pass any building code that I know of. One half overgrown soccer field, and by half I mean one half is well trimmed and the other half is a paddock, stood on the far side of the island, the goal posts rusting forlornly at each end. I would be very surprised indeed if there were enough men on the island to field one football team, maybe that is why only half the field is mown.

Back on board, the wind is still from the north, should back more westerly tomorrow so plan to sail in the morning with the ebb tide.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Peace and quiet, slept all night, slept all day, wonderful. But no tuna. And you never know what is going to happen next around here so better get in a few more just in case …. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz