HOME About Sapphire Sailing Notes Constellations Contact Us OUR VOYAGE British Isles Atlantic Islands Atlantic Crossing Brazil Argentina Falkland Islands Southern Chile Northern Chile Peru GALLERY Boats People Places Scenery Wildlife Videos
RSS Subscribe with Bloglines


Table of Contents

Seno Pia, Brazo Noroeste, Chile

Northern Chile

6 November 2005

Theresa and Carla Daniella We went sailing today on Rataplan with Raymond and Carla, and Co and Carla from Lotus. We met about half a dozen Chilean friends of Raymond and Carla too. As is usual for here the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed hours sailing around the bay. We had never sailed on a cat before and found the motion to be very different to a monohull. There was lots of food and drink and a cacophony of chatter in Spanish, Dutch, English and Spanglish!

4 November 2005

Carla's Birthday Daniella and Ninoska We were delighted yesterday to see that Co and Carla from Lotus (friends we met in Valdivia) had arrived. They too anchored outside and were coming in today. We saw them get the anchor up and prepare to enter. The club sent a marinero out to guide them in. We could not believe our eyes as we watched him pilot Lotus out of the channel and right onto the rocks. It was just awful. They were stuck fast and Lotus was sitting high in the water rolling from side to side. Carla and Raymond saw this happen and within a minute grabbed people from various boats (including us) to board Rataplan. The lines were off and Rataplan headed directly out to Lotus. Being a catamaran, Rataplan has a significantly more shallow draft so could afford to leave the channel. Carla drove while Raymond took a halyard from Lotus and secured this to Rataplan's deck. They gently motored and so pulled Lotus' mast down towards the water. This in turn meant that the keel lifted sufficiently for Lotus to motor off the rocks. Lotus followed Rataplan and was lead safely to her berth. When everyone was tied up again we all went to see Co and Carla. They were fine though clearly shaken. It was also Carla's birthday - one she will not forget in a hurry. We all had drinks on board Lotus during the evening. Raymond and Carla had found a diver to visit Co and Carla the following day to check there was no damage done. Raymond and Carla are a wealth of information having spent so long here. They told us that earlier this year there was a very powerful earthquake inland here and that the water in the harbour rose and fell for about three days by about a metre an hour! We had noticed lots of broken pavement around the town, they said this too was from the various earthquakes. They also told us that these usually happen in June! (There turned out to be no significant damage done to Lotus)

2 November 2005

Iquique fishing boats Loveless Sealions We arrived in Iquique today having sailed a little passage from Tocopilla. We had intended to anchor after Tocopilla but when we dropped the anchor we realised the bottom was rocky. With no desire for a repeat of Caleta Tames we gave that idea up while we were ahead. The overnight passage was fine with only a very gentle breeze. Everything was very tranquil except for the occasional very loud grunt/roar from a passing sealion. The water in the port here is filthy as there is a huge fishing fleet. There are also lots and lots of sealions. Just outside the yacht club is a rocky pier and there are a few sealion colonies on that. To the south of the club is a small beach and each night dozens of male sealions gather here. These are the loveless sealions who are not allowed to join the dominant males in the harems on the pier. We anchored before entering the club as the entrance channel is narrow and shallow. We needed to wait for high water. When we did come in we were piloted in by two fishing boats who made sure that we entered safely. We met Carla and Raymond from the Dutch catamaran, Rataplan. They have been here for eight years.

31 October 2005

Caleta Tames Buzo Tocopilla We spent a very restless night at anchor in Caleta Tames. The boat was really rolling and as we had anchored in rock, the noise of the chain moving around on the rock was very loud. We woke just before 6 as we thought we heard the anchor suddenly dragging. We decided to leave as soon as it was light but had to wait for about 30 mins. As we brought the anchor in we realised the chain was caught around or in the rocks and it would not move. We were anchored in about 15 metres of water which was just too deep for us to dive down. (We carry only snorkelling gear - not scuba equipment.) We spent about three hours trying to free the anchor, unsuccessfully. We tried calling the Armada but received no answer. We thought that we might have to cut the anchor and chain free. We realised that if we did this we would probably not recover the equipment. Eventually we took the tender ashore. There were four tiny little fishing shacks on the shore. As we approached one little hut, we saw three men brushing their teeth by a tap outside. They froze (toothbrushes in their mouths) when they saw us. Clearly they did not receive many visitors. We explained our problem. One of them cheerfully announced that he was a "buzo" (diver). Within minutes he and his friend rowed their little fishing boat out to Sapphire. He actually had a diving compressor in the boat which was connected to a long hose with a regulator on the end. He put on his wetsuit and dived down. Within about 10 minutes the chain and anchor were free. We were extremely grateful. We gave the men a bottle of whisky and some money: they seemed very happy with that too. We left immediately and headed for Tocopilla. En route we saw whales. Tocopilla is an industrial port and is the main shipping port for the world's largest open pit copper mine. The anchorage was fine - in sand! Tocopilla is situated at the foot of some very large desert mountains. Cut into the side of the mountains is the railway for transporting the mining products. It is an incredible feat of engineering.

27 October 2005

Mejillones Up early today as we needed to make 60 miles to a good anchorage. With a gentle wind behind us the motion was so gentle that I went below to take a shower. When I came out I could hear Kev speaking to someone. It was the yacht Hallelujah - this was the first yacht we had seen on passage since Telem in the Beagle. Kev spoke to Raphael, the skipper. The yacht was heading south to Qintero, the home port. We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn to the sound of AC/DC and Kev's dancing - very special... We anchored behind Isla Magdelena which was a perfectly sheltered spot with great holding.

23 October 2005

Cifunco anchorage Cifunco Another easy and thoroughly enjoyable day sail to Cifuncho. The view of the Atacama from the anchorage is just beautiful. We anchored and went for a walk (or scramble through the dirt and rock) to the top of one of the hills by the anchorage. The view was breathtaking and well worth the effort. Today was the first hot day that we have had in ages and it was lovely. Both in shorts for most of the day. The weather seems to be getting markedly more benign almost each day. The water is getting warmer daily but at 17°C is still not warm enough to tempt me. We saw some huge dolphins today. They were not interested in the boat but swam across our bows slowly. I think they were about 2 metres long.We looked for them in our sealife book and we think they might be Burmeister's porpoises.

20 October 2005

Trimming Three Sealions Yesterday we shopped for fresh food and collected our laundry from the old lady who is the town's lavandaria. First she gave me "presents" of shells and a bottle covered in sand..then she gave me the bill for £17! I nearly choked. Then again, she had ironed everything - even the socks! Today we cleared out with the armada which was the usual tedium. We gave a box of chocolates to Hugo, the yacht club handy man. He rowed over to the boat with two beautiful potted plants for us, they were desert flowers. Kev broke out his shorts for the first time in ages to display his fine British pins!.

17 October 2005

Caldera A long day sail today, we had the motor on all day as we needed to arrive in Caldera before dark and the wind was light. We arrived with no problem though and were pleasantly surprised to be met by Vicky and Umberto (who run the yacht club) in a tender as they directed us to a mooring buoy. This is the first time we have moored on a buoy since Scilly. In theory we are now out of the limit of the northerly winds.. Caldera is a historic desert town. The main business here is shipping ores from the surrounding mining region. The town's buildings are literally built on the edge of the desert. The yacht club is very friendly. We were followed for most of the day by a Royal Albatross.

16 October 2005

Pagonal Left Puerto Huasco for Caleta Pajonal. We enjoyed a sunny day and easy sail. As usual the wind blew up hard during the afternoon. We were worried about missing Pajonal as the previous anchorage had been incorrectly marked on the chart (and in the Admiralty Pilot, where the latitude was two miles north of the correct position). We need not have worried. The anchorage was hard to spot but was where it should have been. The shelter was excellent with a pretty sandy beach. There were various little houses and shacks off the beach. The landscape is bleak and really arid. It is very beautiful though. It looks like a painted backdrop to a western movie. We have seen very little wildlife apart from a few birds.

14 October 2005

bird on Damas Desert Flowers We arrived at Isla Damas yesterday. As we had spent a very uncomfortable night at anchor the night before, we decided to deploy for the first time our Rocker Stoppers - we had purchased these at the Southampton Boat Show years ago. I am pleased to say that they seem to work really well. When we woke we saw people on the beach - fishermen gathering seaweed. We saw big black dolphins swimming between the mainland and the island. We took a long walk ashore and climbed up to the beacon marking the island. Isla Damas is part of a national park and we had read that penguins breed here. We did not see any and certainly did not hear or smell any so I guess they have left. The island reminded us a little of Scilly. The vegetation was very different though, all the cacti were in bloom. We saw a huge fossil, possibly from a whale. There were a lot of little finch like birds and they were not at all shy, as well as gulls, cormorants and huge turkey vultures.

12 October 2005

nine of cups Left Coquimbo today. At first we had no wind and then gentle northerlies which swung to the SW. Anchored Totoralillo - our first two attempts to anchor failed but held on the third time. Here we were at the bottom of the Atacama Desert. The anchorage was surrounded by barren hills covered in rock and cacti. There were ruins of buildings and stone walls, I don't know what the walls were for. Yesterday afternoon the American yacht, Nine of Cups arrived in Coquimbo. It was great to meet them after "speaking" to them over email for so long. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon with David and Marcie as well as Lars and Lona from Papillon. David and Marcie were a wealth of information about Peru and Ecuador and they have introduced us to a Peruvian friend of theirs called Gonzalo. Nine of Cups is a very beautiful yacht. She is a 45ft Liberty Cutter (with aircon!). Kev was most impressed with their twin wind generators.

8 October 2005

Drake We decided to be tourists today and we walked to the Mirador de los Navigantes where there is a lovely view over the bay. There is a statue of Sir Francis Drake here as he used to hide out in the bay in order to ambush passing Spanish ships. His statue is complete with treasure chest! A local man told us that the mayor objected to having a statue of this pirate in the town so the name plaque has been removed and the statue is now that of the unknown navigator / sailor.

7 October 2005

Coquimbo Cross Coquimbo Fleet We arrived in Coquimbo yesterday and anchored off the little yacht club in Bahia Herradura (which means horseshoe in Espanol). The bay is exactly that shape and provides superb shelter. The yacht club is very pretty and also very friendly - it is also gratis to foreign yachts. We had to wait for a couple of hours for the Armada to visit us. That was great as we parked ourselves under the palm leaf umbrellas in front of the little bar and settled in. When the man turned up he told us we needed a new zarpe to continue north. We told him we did not and he seemed satisfied. I guess we will find out when we try to leave! We took a collectivo into the town which was very pretty, it looks to be a little centre surrounded on three sides by desert and on the fourth by the Pacific. We have noticed that in general the Chilean people are very fast drivers who seem to have an aversion to driving behind other vehicles. The driving school in the town is called "Mach One".

5 October 2005

Coquimbo Street Coquimbo Yacht Club We finally left Higuerillas yesterday and were glad to do so. It was just too expensive for a long stay. We sailed overnight to make the 170 miles before anchoring at Bahia Tongoy. The passage was a little rolly with a lot of swell left from the fronts that had passed through over the previous few days but we were fine. As I came to take the watch from Kevin during the 5th I saw a whale to starboard only about 50 m from us. He was slowly making his way south and seemed significantly less interested in us than we were in him. We also had the company of a pair of albatrosses for most of the 4th and 5th. The wind stayed behind us and was perfect, a steady 20-25 kts. As we rounded Punta Lengua de Vaca, the wind seemed to blow up rapidly to gale force. There was no swell at all in the bay though and we had read that the local wind at this point is often unusually strong.


30 September 2005

Bryn, Jean and Kev Bryn and Kev We had an unexpected surprise last night when our phone rang. It was Bryn, Kevin's uncle. We were confused as the number calling was Chilean. Bryn and Jean (who live in Sydney) had been in Salvador where Jean had been presenting at a medical conference. They had decided to take time after the conference to see some of South America and were in Santiago. Fortunately Santiago is not far from Viña (where we are). We met them today for lunch. It was great to see them as we had no idea they were here. After lunch we took a trip to Reñaca (one of Viña's prettier beach suburbs) and saw a colony of sealions basking in the sun. Bryn and Jean visited the boat briefly before taking the bus back to Santiago. We had a really lovely day catching up. Kevin has plans that we will meet again in Sydney for the next Ashes tour!

27 September 2005

Valparaiso Renaca Lord Thomas Cochrane The day after returning from Argentina we were asked to move the boat further into the marina as there was a regatta due to take place. We were delighted to do this as our new berth is much more secure with very little problem from the surge. After spending a couple of brilliantly sunny days working on Sapphire, we decided today to visit Valparaiso. The day was really cloudy and overcast and surprisingly cool. We took the Ascensor Artilleria up to the Naval Museum which was extremely well put together. Fortunately for us most of the explanations were in English as well as Spanish. The museum seems mostly to celebrate Chile's naval heroes including Bernado O'Higgins, Arturo Pratt and Kev's hero, Lord Thomas Cochrane. They had two rooms devoted to Lord Cochrane so Kev was in his element reading about his favourite naval officer. We noticed that there were lots of naval vessels in the port and a local man told us that this month the Armada will be working on a naval exercise with the US Navy and that there are also submarines in the harbour - something to look our for when heading north perhaps! We had lunch in a great little cafe called "The World Next Door" and then decided to head back. I thought that Valparaiso was quite seedy but then it is a large commercial port. The town is very steep and there are lots of funicular lifts or ascensors taking people up and down the hills. The many colourful buildings which have recently been given a facelift add a unique character to the city.

20 September 2005

The border between Chile and Argentina We took the bus into Argentina today as our visas were due to expire. To get to the border crossing the road winds through the Andes. The bus first passed through the Chilean wine country which was very green before climbing the mountain pass. We had only been driving for about an hour before the mighty Andes hove into view.

15 September 2005

Left Algarrobo again today (we tried to leave two days ago but with wind blew up from the north so we decided to head back) and had a delightful trip to Higuerillas. We motorsailed for a couple of hours but before long the wind filled in from the south and we had a very relaxing and sunny trip north. We were assisted with our mooring in Higuerillas. I had to visit the office upon arrival where we were told that the price has more than doubled since I contacted the marina from Puerto Montt. We will not spend the several weeks here that we had intended because, although the staff are helpful, it is too expensive and not very comfortable (there is a significant surge within the marina).

12 September 2005

San Pedro Kev and the Penguin Woke to a beautiful warm day today - the two of us still can't believe how lovely the weather is!(We have reliably informed that the hot shiny thing in the sky is indeed the sun!!) After doing a couple of loads of overdue clothes washing we went to the marina office to find out the price. (While I washed the clothes I watched the penguins and pelicans bathing near the boat - fantastic.) The area is lovely but the marina is expensive. Actually most of the boats in the marina seem to be small racing yachts many of which are sponsored by UBS - which is interesting as I can think of another yacht which would be a suitable beneficiary of some UBS sponsorship! We wandered into the town which is very pretty, very relaxed though quiet at the moment. It reminds me a little of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, or Cornwall. We sent a few emails and checked the forecast. The wind is due to swing to the north shortly so we have decided to leave tomorrow. I hope we get into Higeurillas before it does. We had lunch in a little restaurant and visited the Armada who now said we don't need a new zarpe..it is all confusing. Anyway this place is lovely and feels like a different country. It is incredible the difference the sunshine makes! Australia lost the Ashes today. (One of us is celebrating...)

10/11 September 2005

Algarrobo Marina Pelicans on the rock We set off from Coliumo this morning for Algarrobo just south of Valparaiso. This was to be an overnight passage of 200 miles. I saw lots of shooting stars and it has been a long time since that was the case. I realise that this is because it has been a long time since we sailed under clear skies. Again the wind was very strong for the 10th, and before long it picked up to gusting over 45kts and blowing a steady 35-40. However it was again from the south so was no problem. We flew along fairly comfortably. The wind calmed a lot overnight to average around 20 kts. During the day of the 11th we were delighted by the sight of thousands of seabirds - pelicans, cape petrels, giant petrels, gulls etc all flying and diving around the boat. It was magic. We arrived in Algarrobo after about 30 hours of sailing. We could smell penguins as we entered the bay. We anchored off the entrance and Kev took the tender in to arrange our entry. (They did not answer the radio.) The men brought Kev back out to us in the launch and one of them stayed on Sapphire to guide us in and help with the lines. We were really pleased to be tied up inside as the wind once again was howling. On one side of the marina is a wildlife sanctuary called Isla Pajaros Ninos where hundreds of pelicans, cormorants, gulls and penguins nest. This is a very special place. We watched the pelicans bathing in the marina and even pecking at their reflections in the boats. We received a visit from the Armada and unbelievably they want us to obtain a new zarpe before travelling our next 35 miles to Vina del Mar!

9 September 2005

Coliumo We received a weather forecast from our Shore Support Team (aka Myles and Marilyn) this morning and Kev even managed to speak to his parents. We set off to Coliumo only 50 miles north. We had a lot of wind - blowing 35-40 much of the time and gusting higher than that. Still the wind stayed behind us so there was no problem. We were none the less pleased to drop the anchor in Bahia Coliumo in front of the little fishing village and pine trees. The shelter was great and the wind dropped overnight.

7 September 2005

Sapphire on the run We finally left Valdivia today but not before a little debacle with the Armada. I called them on the radio to inform them of our impending departure and they asked us to wait on board for 15 mins for one of their boats to meet us. 3 hours and many radio calls later we were informed we needed to go into the office in the town. We were furious! We had timed our intended exit to use the ebb tide and to ensure our arrival before nightfall on the 8th, this was now not so certain. I still don't know why but they insisted on giving us a new zarpe - although our existing paper should have covered us to Iquique. It seems that different Armada offices follow slightly different procedures. We were both really annoyed at wasting the time. This done however we set off and found ourselves in a brisk SW wind. This was great for pushing us along to Caleta Trana some 175 miles away where we stopped after a 24 hour sail. During the evening we saw a lot of shipping.


26 August 2005

Valdivia Marsh Valdivia yacht club Two days ago was a rare day in Valdivia. The sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze so I decided to go for a walk into the town instead of taking the bus. It took about two hours but the countryside was just beautiful. There were black neck swans swimming through the marshes. Kev overtook me in the bus and we met up in the town. It has been pouring with rain ever since. We visited the fish market yesterday and there were among the huge range of seafood on offer, sea urchins. We were not brave enough to try them. The sealions were there as usual feasting on the scraps. We have a 200 litre barrel of fuel on the pontoon beside us and we need to decant this into our tanks. With the rain falling in buckets this is easier said than done.

16 August 2005

The Kuntsmann Brewery cormorant We took the bus today into town. When we returned to the boat we found that the wind had filled in from the south west and was against the tide. The boat was rocking and pitching wildly so we put as many fenders out as we could and took extra lines ashore. We were very concerned about a smaller keel boat berthed next to us as this boat was badly tied up with no fenders out and was almost jumping onto the pontoon in the waves. The boat's rigging was very loose and we were concerned that it would lose its mast. I went twice to the office to ask someone to look at the boat but no one came. Kev decided to take some of our spare lines and try to secure the smaller boat. As he boarded the smaller boat the mast did indeed come crashing down past his head. Luckily the mast missed him and Sapphire! That seemed to get the attention of the marina staff.

14 August 2005

Alwoplast Marina Tree birds Log Cormorants Valdivia Wreck Left Estero Chaular yesterday at around 0900. I was surprised to see the gulf still relatively lumpy despite a very quiet previous 12 hours. I felt seasick for the first 8 hours or so but Kev was fine. We motorsailed nearly all the way and the night was sparkling. Kev had to have his celebration whisky when we finally sailed north of 40S! We arrived at Alwoplast at lunchtime as we were sailing against the tide in the Rio Valdivia. The river is very tranquil and our berth is right in the river. We passed a wreck in the river. This was one of the casualties of an earthquake and tsunami that devastated this area in 1960. This quake destroyed the town which has since been rebuilt. It also caused a general subsidance of the land and so now Valdivia is surrounded by marsh land. Additionally the region is home to a temperate rainforest so there is a huge amount of birdlife including thousands of black necked swans in this very beautiful area. We were met by Co and Carla of Lotus who took our lines and helped us to secure the boat. After we had tied up and were relaxing on the boat the Armada came alongside us to check our papers. Unfortunately they did not ask permission, used no fenders and ended up ramming our boat. We were very annoyed but the Armada did not seem to think there was a problem. The only damage to Sapphire was a broken stanchion.

9 August 2005

Estero Chaular Baby Cormorant Spent the day on board as the wind was howling again. The boat was comfortable if a little cold. Myles and Marilyn have been a great help in sending us the forecasts from buoy weather. The wind died at around 4 and it was a difficult decision whether to stay or go. We poured ourselves a drink and then changed our minds. The drinks went down the sink and we decided to set off as there was hardly any wind at all. I quickly cooked food for the passage and we stowed everything away for sea and hauled the anchor up. We had only been gone for around 30 mins when we realised this was a bad decision as the swell was still very big and right on the nose.We were going nowhere. Also we found the bad weather had abated but not finished as we found the wind on the nose. We turned around and returned to the anchorage at Puerto Ingles. We passed through Canal Chacao yesterday and timed our passage to take advantage of the tide. This Canal divides Chiloe from the mainland to the north. We sped through with a gentle northerly wind and were doing more than 10.5 knots over the ground. At one stage we had more than 5 knots of tide with us.

7 August 2005

Oyster farms Don Jose Woke up today with the boat bucking madly so we had to move anchorages straight away. The wind had picked up during the night from the east, which is rare here. We had over 30kts blowing into the anchorage which had become a lee shore. We shifted to a southern anchorage only a couple of miles away. This was not great but was sheltered enough. We are not moving today and with a depressing familiarity we broke out the foul weather clothes ready to jump on deck suddenly if needed. We snugged down under blankets in the saloon and listened to the wind howling again. The weather improved later in the day and the evening was lovely. We moved anchorages again to one closer to the town. The anchorage was full of oyster farms and the views over the snowy volcanoes was brilliant. A break in the weather does wonders for the sprits!

Puerto Montt

6 August 2005

Calbuco Sunset Calbuco Fishermen Finally left Puerto Montt today. It was a sudden decision but the weather was lovely and we have just been in Puerto Montt for far too long. We only travelled around 20miles before anchoring in Puerto Calbuco, a tiny fishing village. Tomorrow we hope to pass through Canal Chacao. We rowed into town and when we came back there was a single sealion playing by the boat. The sun set and the snow on the surrounding mountains looked pink.

29 July 2005

Puerto_Varas_Guest_House Dinner at Puerto Varas We are still in Puerto Montt. We made a mistake in ordering a load of spares to be delivered here and have spent weeks waiting for them to arrive. During that time we watched a great weather window come and go which would have been ideal to get us north. However the delivery has arrived finally and the weather now is boisterous again so we are waiting for a break before heading north. During our time here we met Patrick (left). Patrick has family in Australia and the UK and used to play rugby for Chile so we had a lot to talk about. Patrick very kindly invited Kevin and me to dinner in the gorgeous guest house in near by Puerto Varas. Patrick is managing the conversion of this stunning property. We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Patrick's daughter Gail, her friend Francisco and Cecelia. This guest house is on the most ideal location right on the shores of Lago Llanquihue with views over the volcanoes. We had a wonderful evening in a VERY luxurious house with excellent company. I hope one day we can return Patrick's hospitality in Australia.

17 July 2005

knittinglady Since Marilyn and Myles departed we have been busy preparing the boat and ourselves for the next passage. We have enjoyed a great rest but have now pretty much exhausted the sights and entertainment offered here in Puerto Montt and are keen to head north to the sun.

28 June 2005

fort3 icecream We visited Fort Niebla this morning. This are the remains of a fort held by the Spanish. Fuerte Niebla was founded in 1645 and enabled the Spanish to catch potential invaders in crossfire over the river. The views were just beautiful and the place very tranquil. As we drove back to Puerto Montt the weather cleared and we were treated to an awesome view of the snow topped Volcan Osorno dominating Lago Llanquihue.

27 June 2005

sl11 riverboat After visiting the town of Pucon and Villarica, we arrived in Valdivia yesterday. Today we wandered around the fish market and saw dozens of sealions waiting to be fed. They seem to beg for scraps from the fishermen as they clean their catches - they are picky too often only eating the choicest parts! We discovered that Marilyn (Kev's mother) moves VERY fast in reverse, particularly when being chased by a large sealion! (Myles and I were happy to direct events from the safety of a large boat..) We had a very delicious coffee break in a chocolate restaurant. During the afternoon we took a river cruise to see some of Valdivia's surroundings. We stopped in a little town called Punucapa and saw the church and a cider brewery. We got a bit wet as it rained again! We visited the Kunstmann brewery for dinner which was a treat as well. Kev is determined to work his way through the various German influenced beers brewed in Valdivia.

24 June 2005

saltas4 castrohouses2 We had a wonderful day driving around Lago Llanquihue. We stopped at the Saltas or rapids near the base of Volcan Osorno which were impressive. These are booming white waterfalls over basalt columns. We drove through a very rough road to the ski “resort” higher up on the Volcano. There was not a lot of snow but the wind was howling so we had a hot drink whilst admiring the determination of the few hardy skiers who were waiting for a break in the weather in order to tackle the slopes of the volcano. From there the road (or pot holed dirt track) was a disaster and we made the miles slowly. We spent the night at a beautiful hotel which was a converted old house in Frutilla . Another lovely meal out and then back to our rooms. Kev and his dad stayed in the bar before grabbing a couple of hours sleep – they watched the rugby (3am) as the Lions were playing the All Blacks – NZ won (oops!).

22 June 2005

chiloeferry castrochurch Picked up our hire car today and we headed off to Castro in Chiloe. The trip there was straightforward and we took the car ferry over to Chiloe. The rain had set in for the day so the scenery was nothing special. We had lunch in Ancud before driving through the middle of the island to Castro. The hotel was very basic but clean. We had a great meal out in a restaurant on the river - delicious seafood. The building was a palafito which is typical of Castro's more traditional housing – built on stilts so the fishermen can literally park their boats at the back door. Chiloe is known for its wooden churches which are made from wooden shingles. The best example of this architecture is in Castro - it is a beautiful building inside and out.

17 June 2005

Myles and Marilyn arrived today – Kev met them at the airport and they all came back to the boat. It was lovely to see them and I suspect they were pleased to offload the bags of spares they had brought with them. We spend the afternoon opening our “Red Cross parcels” and then met them in their hotel for a lovely meal.

15 June 2005

Having spent three days in Puerto Montt we are slowly getting the boat cleaned up and orderly again. We have been busy cleaning, shopping and getting phones and emails sorted out. The marina staff here are very helpful. We had dinner last night with Rudi from Nije Leeve and Alex from Faster Horses. Rudi's engine broke and Alex lost his mast on the trip north so it seems we escaped lightly. We were thinking about driving to Bariloche to renew our visas but Alex mentioned that the pass is closed (through the mountains) due to snow. We have decided that is not worth the risk – the boarder might well be shut and we don't want to drive in those conditions – or get the bus for 8 hours. We will just pay to have our visas extended.

12 June 2005

monttsail Arrived AT LAST in Puerto Montt and we are very happy to be here. We had a good run up today though the weather was all over the place. Finally we can get ourselves and the boat organised again. We are staying at Marina del Sur for now where the facilities and especially the very hot showers are excellent!


11 June 2004

tow We were kept in Bahia Edwards yesterday due to bad weather but left today and managed 40 miles to Caleta Juan Pedro in Golfo de Ancud. The weather was very unsettled with what seemed like a train of squalls and fronts passing overhead and dumping their usual load of hail, rain and wind on us. The anchorage is pretty in a gentle way though not as spectacular as southern Chile. There are a few salmon farms in the anchorage.

9 June 2005

squall We left Puerto Quellon this morning with the intention of sailing overnight and arriving into Puerto Montt in the morning. We had a good forecast of southerly winds. Mother nature was not in a cooperative mood though and we ended up with about 25kts from the north. The sea state was foul and the boat was being picked up and dropped onto her side – not much fun. Although after a few hours the sea state settled down as the tide had turned and the wind had eased, the direction was still contrary so we decided to anchor in Bahia Edwards. Now we have 75 miles to go to Puerto Montt.

8 June 2005

quellon fishfarm We have had a really hectic two days but have achieved a lot! Had a minor panic at first as none of the fuel stations would take a credit card and the bank would not accept my visa cards for cash. Eventually we found an ATM which accepted my mastercard . The fuel station was the next stop and we filled the fuel tank and so the heater has more or less been on constantly ever since drying the boat out. The cold weather combined with the need for us to really economise on diesel has resulted in a lot of damp inside the boat. We bought a load of food and drink and made telephone calls home. I spoke to mum and was really pleased to be able to speak to Kate on the morning of the 8th (Australian time) as little Ethan James made his entry into the world only four hours later. We found a lavandaria and managed to get two months worth of washing done which is a real treat.

Puerto Aguirre to Boca del Guafo

6 June 2005

Melinka We set off today with a good forecast and had a great run over Boca del Guafo - having been delayed by bad weather in Puerto Meinka for several days. We had the tide with us for nearly all of the way and for a little while we even managed to sail without the engine. The afternoon was sunny and warm. The countryside is very different here to further south. There are no mountains to speak of though lots of soft green hills and plenty of fish farms. As we anchored off the town we heard lots of sirens and saw a house on fire just near the shore. We will stay here until we have filled our fuel tank and replenished our dangerously low wine supply.

29 May 2005

aguirre8 Finally escaped from Aguirre. We cleared out and promised to keep the Armada informed as to our whereabouts. We crossed Canal Moraleda and entered Canal Perez Sur. We managed to make good about 35 miles and anchored just before dark. It was good timing as the glass fell 10 mb in about 6 hrs and it was blowing a gale by midnight. The anchorage is very secure but we might be stuck again. We passed a group of sealions and they were hilarious. There were probably about 12 of them and they were all bobbing up to check us out. They looked like a little gang of kids huddled together. We were delighted to receive a SATC mail from Merv today who has started the OSTAR (Original Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race). We will be keen to follow his progress. (We since heard that he finished as first monohull on corrected time!)

27 May 2005

Weather still revolting but we decided to head off for the next anchorage only 6 miles away. As we left the anchorage I called Puerto Aguirre on VHF. They asked us to come in to the port. I explained that we could not as we were heading for Puerto Americano further north and on the other side of the channel. In the meantime we received a “Distress” message from Falmouth Coastguard, UK who had been informed that we were in difficulty. We assured them that we were fine (via Helen, Kevin's sister). The conversation with Aguirre went to and fro before we were ordered in “for inspection”. We were unhappy about this but decided we should not argue so in we went. It transpired that as we had estimated our arrival here to be some days earlier (when speaking to Faro San Pedro), the Armada had become increasingly concerned about us. We were late as the weather had been contrary so we had remained at anchor in Caleta Sepulchro - during one night there the barometer fell by 20mb and the weather was vile. During our time at Sepulchro we had emailed the Marine Rescue Coordination Centre informing them of our position (in the channels yachts are required to report their position frequently). Valparaiso did not relay this information to Aguirre and so we were informed that for the past few days there had been planes and boats looking for us!!! We had tried to call on the radio several times but had not been heard and we had not heard calls to us. The Armada boss in Aguirre was not happy with us but was placated and everything was sorted (after showing him a copy of the email we sent to Valparaiso). The Chilean Armada take the monitoring of vessels in their waters very seriously - for obvious reasons.

Canal Messier to Canal Darwin

24 May 2005

sepulchro We spent last night in Puerto Sergio which was an almost totally enclosed pool with thick vegetation on the shores and an abundance of bird life. I went on deck during the evening as there was a magnificent full moon and a clear sky. I could hear the birds calling to one another. Today we were not sure whether to leave as the forecast was for another front with strong northerlies. We decided that we could at least make a few miles so we were off. As it turned out we finished with Canal Darwin – assisted by a strong tide in our favour, and turned into Canal Moraleda. As we looked to the head of the mast we noticed that during the past week our windex / wind indicator had been blown away! The wind did pick up so we anchored in Caleta Sepulchro. As we turned into the little cove I noticed what looked like a temporary shack with a tin roof and plastic sheeting for walls. I was shocked and very humbled to see washing hanging out around the shack and smoke coming from a little chimney. People lived there. We dropped anchor and settled in for the afternoon. I went on deck to watch some hawks and saw a little rowing boat headed our way. It was the mother, father and two children from the shack. They clearly did not own much. They were selling crabs. I asked how much they wanted and they wanted cigarettes and “vino” or “pisco”. I gave them cigarettes and a bottle of local whiskey . We scored a bucket of crabs which should provide a delicious meal.

20 May 2005

When we left Caleta Cliff this morning the boat was like an ice-rink. She was covered with a layer of frost and ice and almost impossible to walk on. I noticed that as we were getting the anchor up, dozens of seagulls appeared from nowhere and just sat on the water watching us. It reminded me of “The Birds”. They are probably used to fishermen here. As we left the shelter of the anchorage we were pleased to see that the seas had calmed down considerably since yesterday. The day started beautifully with warm sunshine. Unfortunately the wind was right on the nose so we could not get as far as we had hoped and decided to head to Peninsula SkyRing. There was a frontal system arriving so it had begun to drizzle. We would not have had sufficient daylight to reach the next anchorage. Still, heading into Skyring meant that we could turn the engine off and sail in – under full sail! The first time in about four month that we have been able to do this!

19 May 2005

caboraper messier Puerto Eden was transformed this morning. When we came on deck the whole village was bathed in a gentle morning sunlight. The mountains were almost pink with the snow reflecting the sun. It was hard to believe that this little town was the same grey wet place of the previous two days. Having finished our jobs in Eden we decided to use the settled weather to make some progress up Canal Messier. We passed through Angostura Inglesa which hosts a statue of the Virgin Mary put there by fishermen. The pilot guide says that the locals worship here fervently. The weather stayed beautiful and for the first time since our arrival in the Beagle Channel we had the tide with us. We had a lovely motor sail up Canal Messier. The weather was so good that we decided to really grab the opportunity and cross the Golfo de Penas over night. This was a good decision as we arrived in Caleta Cliff on Peninsula de Taitao at about 1500 on the 19th. We still had the tide with us. The swell once we exited the channels was a rude shock. It was really quite large despite the relative lack of wind. The wind picked up with the sunrise today and we had about 20 kts from the south speeding us along. We saw dozens of birds including a royal albatross and pretty cape petrels. That little effort probably bought us a week in time saved. The night sailing was freezing cold though but well worth it.

Puerto Eden

16 May 2005

boardwalk edenchurch When we woke today the boat was warm – the first time we have woken to a warm boat in ages! What a treat. We headed off into town in the rain and walked around the boardwalk. We eventually found our bearings and found the man from whom we needed to buy fuel. To our dismay he only had 100litres of clean diesel. He was really helpful though and phoned to find us another 400 litres. We have made things hard for ourselves by forgetting to get cash from Puerto Williams. No one here takes a card (pop 150 so not surprising). We filled up and took 340 litres for $US390. Very expensive but necessary and the fuel was very clean contrary to reports. We found a couple of little food shops and also found a lady who would bake us some bread (we are running out of gas too). The school provides internet access but it was not working. We managed to fill with water as well so we did not stop all day. Kev phoned home and was pleased to speak to his folks. The school here has 14 kids and 3 teachers. The schoold building is large for 14 students but this is because they play inside - it rains most of the time here. The town looks very poor though all the children are beautifully groomed in smart uniforms. There are dogs, cats and chickens roaming everywhere – no cars, only boats and the board walk. The town is home to a community of indigenous people who make a living from shell fishing. Puerto Eden is part of the Bernardo O'Higgins national park. During the afternoon the rain cleared and I realised that we are surrounded by white snowy mountains. It is easy to become a little blasé to such lovely scenery here as it is the norm.

15 May 2005

Caleta-Maris_Stella Finally arrived in Puerto Eden!! We had a good run up from Stella Maris though the weather was fairly wet and cold. At least we did not have too much wind. En route I decided to give Sapphire a thorough clean inside. We passed about a dozen condors circling the land. I suppose some creature must have been injured. We were accompanied first by a pod of Peale's dolphins and then by a few curious sealions. They are incredibly graceful in the water. We completed formalities with the Armada man who was lovely. He put an English station on his television for us and his wife made us coffee and snacks. He was really helpful in answering our questions too. We moved then to anchor in front of the village and put the heater on straight away! We are both feeling really pleased and excited to be here now! During the night once the heater had really kicked in we both had really itchy and sore feet. Both of us have swollen feet with white patches on them. This is from the cold we think and wearing freezing boots!!

Canal Smyth to Canal Wide

12 May 2005

Left Caleta Alicia today at about 10.00. It took us two hours to clean the diesel off the deck and to mop most of the diesel out of the engine sump and bilges. (A lot ended up there as we repeatedly bled the system.) Job done and we were off. We kept the revs low and made slow progress. There was not a lot of wind but the swell and tide were a hindrance. It was a rainy, gloomy day but things brightened when we got a good look at two whales very close to the shore and about 50m from the boat. We also saw a lot of ice to starboard but this was well on the other side of the channel. As we reached Estero Dock (only 8 miles from Alicia) the wind picked up and we decided to call it a day. The anchorage is very fine as it offers a good look at the channel. We were glad to have a short day though without the heating (conserving fuel) the boat is freezing and quite wet through condensation. I am wrapped in two sets o f thermals as well as a thick fleece top and am still frozen! We had an emergency extra hot stew for dinner with half a bottle of hot pepper sauce in it. It was not very nice but did the job of warming us up. Kev drank his final St Peters Ale (very precious!) to celebrate our exit from the Furious Fifties.

11 May 2005

Left Finte today at last and had a good run though Canal Andres. We were not sure whether to continue up Canal Wide but as the wind had calmed down and we had time we decided to give it a go. BIG mistake. We ran out of fuel. We clearly did not expect this to happen but found ourselves bobbing in the middle of the channel with for once – no wind at all. We could not sail anywhere and did not relish the prospect of sitting until night when the wind would probably pick up as Canal Wide is notorious for ice. We had 100 litres spare in cans so emptied these into the tank and bled the engine. Still she would not start so we bled the injectors as well but with no luck. We had about an hour til dark and an anchorage nearby but we could not get to it. We lashed the tender to the side of Sapphire and used our little 4HP outboard to drive our 16 ton (loaded up) yacht into the anchorage. We got in with no problem and took three lines ashore as well as the anchor. With no wind we could not set the anchor properly. We were confident that the problem was just air in the system and so we continued to bleed the system. Eventually (and after several prayers!) it started. We were VERY relieved. We now have just over 50 miles to make with 100 litres of fuel. The boat smells of fuel now as we spilt a lot refuelling in the channel and bleeding the engine. We have a lot of cleaning up to do.

8 May 2005

FinteTrees Torres We were underway this morning before The Net. The morning began with rain and we were a little surprised at the number of bergy bits in the water as we approached and crossed Estrecho Peel. This is due to the number of glaciers in Peel. We decided to go through the narrows which would bring us into Canal Pitt. We had intended to stop at Steamer Duck Lagoon but by the time we arrived there we still had a couple of hours of daylight and the foul tide was beginning to significantly weaken so we decided to carry on to Caleta Finte. The afternoon was very unsettled with the odd shower but there was hardly any wind. We had a gentle run into Finte and what a lovely place it is. This is the sort of anchorage that really reminds me of why we are here. The water is deep dark green and the forest which overhangs the water is brilliantly lush and impenetrable. Though the wind was blowing about 20kts outside the entrance the surface of the water in the lagoon looked like a mirror. The only sound was the call of the birds. Overnight the wind began to howl again as a front passed overhead and the barometer took a nosedive (11mb in 9 hrs).

Estrecho de Magallanes

3 May 2005

Caleta-Darde endMagellan We received a promising forecast last night so today were up at 0230 and off as soon as we got the anchors up. We could not believe our luck as the wind was from the south and we had about 20 kts. This is very rare and just what we needed to get us comfortably out of Magellan. The morning was very cold and bleak with rain and sleet but the wind kept us going in the right direction. Leaving the Strait was no problem and there was no opposing swell. We had not dared hope for that. As we turned north at the entrance the shape of the island indicated the normal state of affairs with the western ends pounded flat and steep by the prevailing winds and seas. We called Fairway lighthouse as we passed and gave our details and ETA to Puerto Eden. The afternoon was beautiful with warmth in the sunshine. We decided to anchor further than we had planned in Caleta Darde. As we neared the anchorage we saw whales in the bay. We did not get close enough to them to see them clearly but they had a black dorsal fin. (Perhaps Fin Whales?) Caleta Darde was very pretty. A fully enclosed (almost) harbour with views of the snowy mountains in the background. We made about 75 miles today.

30 April 2005

We were up and off at 0230 today as the fishing boat and Sapphire were drifting very close to each other and we thought the chances of a collision were high. It turned out to be a fine decision as we had a gentle southerly wind and flat calm seas. I did not expect to enjoy Magellan but the weather was a gift and the scenery spectacular with huge glaciers on the port side and sealions to entertain us all day. They were not nearly as interested in us as we were in them, The water was like glass so it was easy to see the animals. We had a long day and kept going to Caleta Playa Parda which is a very scenic granite cove with snow capped mountains and waterfalls surrounding the boat. We were tempted to keep going as the possibility of calm seas at the western end of the Canal is a rarity. However our barometer had been plummeting and we knew a big blow was on the way. The anchorages along our route are not ones we are comfortable entering in the dark (due to rocks and kelp) and now we have less than10 hrs daylight. Sure enough the wind increased overnight. The sea area near us received 80 kts! We were very glad to be tucked up quietly in this magnificent setting. (Joshua Slocum stopped here years ago on his epic and engine-less voyage through these waters. Reading about his exploits and experiencing this area first hand impresses upon us what an amazing sailor he was. He had to wait for a full month for the weather to allow him to leave Magellan!)

Canal Ocasion to Canal Acwalisnan

29 April 2005

OBrian_tide kbrecknock We spent 6 days in Brecknock waiting for the weather to abate sufficiently for us to head out and nip around the corner back into sheltered waters.Today we entered Estrecho de Magallanes. We took the restricted route via Canal Acwalisnan because it is shorter and more sheltered than the approved route of Magdalena. As we passed through Paso O'Brian the current was amazing. It was almost white water with whirlpools. At one stage we had 7kts of tide with us. Shortly after this the waters calmed as they got deeper. I saw what looked to be waves breaking where I did not expect to see rocks. I checked through the binoculars and saw that it was two whales playing very close to the shores. I could not tell which species as we were not close enough. As we entered Magellan we had about 30 kts of wind and fairly lumpy seas though this calmed as we neared the north shore. A group of sealions briefly followed us and as we entered Bahia Wood two little birds landed on the boat and examined every surface before leaving. This was the first time in ages where we anchored without shorelines. We had time so we emptied the fuel from our cans into the main tank. As we did this a fishing boat came into the bay. I watched him throw his anchor over the side and then tear off at top speed. His anchor did not set and he came within a metre of us. We thought he wanted to come alongside for some reason so we put fenders out. He saw this as an invitation so tried to come alongside by ramming us! (Thankfully the fenders took the impact). The single line he tried to secure to us with snapped (we were not disappointed). I asked him what he wanted but I think he was drunk. He just left and re-anchored immediately off our stern. Kev rowed over to return the line to him and to give him a packet of cigarettes with a note telling him the depths (he did not know). Kev returned with a chicken the fisherman had given us!

Canal O'Brien to Canal Brecknock

22 April 2005

The wind was relatively quiet overnight so we were up and off by 0730 today. It took us a lot less time to get our lines off and tidy on board than it did to deploy them. The wind was strong but from a favourable direction so fortunately we could sail for most of the day. We crossed Bahia Desolada. This is an aptly named place if ever one existed . Bahia Desolada was named by Capt James Cook. Right by Desolada is Seno Ladrones (means Thieves' Sound in Spanish). This runs off Canal Ballenero. Both places were named by Capt Fitzroy . Capt Fitz Roy named these places to commemorate the theft of one of his boats from the area by the Indians. In retaliation for this theft Capt Fitzroy kidnapped a few indians and their children. The indians fled leaving the children! (The children were taken to England and “educated”.) Years later Captain Fitz Roy returned the young people to their families whilst on the survey vessel The Beagle. The weather was foul today with squalls flinging sleet at the boat every 10 mins or so. The visibility was limited but every now and then a granite island or hill would appear from the gloom. The wind was often 30-40 kts and very cold but we made good speed so kept going until we reached Seno Ocasion on Peninsular Brecknock. We saw quite a few sealions and for a very short while a curious few followed us jumping out of the water like dolphins. This was a very dramatic place in terms of scenery. All granite with a dusting of snow, the boat anchored (the anchor did not hold so we were moored with four lines) and surrounded by steep cliffs. There is a little waterfall here so we will fill our tanks again. We were also impressed by the fact that the barometer was much higher today (1015) and so today was the first time in ages that we did not get rained on!

20 April 2005

kevchannels We were forecast a lot of wind today (30-35kt) but decided to leave Caleta Silva and see what happened. The wind was not a problem and the first hour was great, we were motorsailing at over 6kts. After that though things went downhill with a filthy sea state, I guess the result of last night's strong winds. We were only making 1.5-2.5 kts under engine and had 10 miles to go to our preferred anchorage. We decided to call it a day as should the wind pick up further on we might be in trouble. This stretch of Canal Ballenero is quite exposed and certainly looked bleak enough today – the world was monochrome with the cloud and rain. We stopped in Fondeodero Plum in Puerto Fanny. Puerto Fanny is infamous for rachas and even in the light winds we found the entrance gusty. We eventually secured the boat with four shore lines as the anchor would not hold in the kelp. It was all a bit miserable as we were soaked. As we were tying the lines I saw a flash of blue streak across the water and realised it was a kingfisher who assumed a watchful position from a branch overhanging the water. This gave him a great bird's eye view of the fish in the anchorage.

Canal Beagle

18 April 2005

juliacondor Tfreezing Today's weather offered a marginal improvement on yesterday's so we were off for a hike. The Caleta and surrounding area are stunning, and made even better by a relative lack of the thick vegetation which makes walking difficult otherwise. When I stuck my head out of the hatch I saw that Sapphire was covered in a couple of inches of snow as was the rest of the area. It looked like a fairy tale scene – absolutely magic. We walked for a couple of hours before the weather took a turn for the worse and we hurried back to the boat. As we were looking down over the anchorage we saw a condor soaring over the boat. They are magnificent in flight. I would love to see one up close as they must be huge. We were back on board by 1300 and the weather had settled down so we decided to leave and make a run for the next anchorage less than 10 miles away. Sure enough as soon as we removed the first shoreline the wind was gusting 30 kts in the anchorage (which is very sheltered) and the snow and hail was blowing sideways. We decided not to ignore this so put the line back on and dived back into Sapphire with our coffee and hot water bottle!

17 April 2005

Left northern anchorage at Seno Pia today and picked our way through the ice to the entrance of the sound. It was not a problem. During the night a large iceberg had become caught on one of our shore lines. As we were off the entrance Ken called us on VHF. He was leaving Tres Brazos and confirmed that Caleta Julia was not occupied. The wintry weather has set in and it was a very cold run across the channel with snow flurries reducing visibility to only a few metres in front of the boat – we kept the radar on! We did see a snow-bow though. As we entered Julia we were pleased to find excellent shelter in a little pool. The first time we dropped the anchor though we managed to harvest an enormous clump of kelp which acted like a big drogue – under full throttle out of the anchorage to clear it we made only about 1.5 kts speed. Second attempt was a success and we spent a very cold though quiet day on board as the hail and snow poured down outside.

16 April 2005

We arrived in Seno Pia on the 14 and are still here. Yesterday we had lovely weather so decided to check out one of the walks suggested in the pilot. The walk ended up being a climb through thick undergrowth and then up a mud cliff to a great view – the view was much better than the walk! We took the tender out for a spin when we came back to look for dolphins. We found them, I think they are Chilean or Black dolphins. They are a lot smaller than the Peales dolphins that we usually see and not as gregarious. The afternoon brought unsettled weather so we stayed inside. I made fresh pumpkin soup which was lovely. We had seafood pasta with the fresh crab that Don and Vicky had given us for dinner. Yum!This morning we moved to the northern anchorage in the western arm. The morning was delightful with blue skies and light breezes. We intended to sail right up to the glacier before anchoring but we could see the weather about to turn so we headed into the anchorage and took two lines ashore. We came here as we were out of water and there is a little waterfall with which we can fill our tank. This took ages as we were pretty much empty. However full tanks meant much needed showers and clothes washing. As we were at the waterfall we noticed that all of a sudden the channel was full of bergy bits. This seemed strange as when we sailed past here when we first entered Seno Pia we saw lots of ice though there was very little in Beaulieu (our previous anchorage) and this morning there was hardly any here though this procession of little icebergs streaming away from the glacier seemed to start all at once. Maybe this was due to a change of tide.

11 April 2005

holandaterminus kevhike beaverdamchallenge glaciersplit We arrived in Caleta Olla yesterday and were pleased to see T Tauri Wind and Pelagic already there. Today we went on a great hike to the base of Ventisquero Holanda. Don and Vicky as well as Ken and his friend Dave invited us to join them on a route they had previously found. The walk was not high but a little challenging due to the very thick vegetation and beaver runs which were all over the place creating big holes under the long grass. It was a lot of fun though and I stopped every now and then to pick the berries and eat them. The Chaura berries were particularly nice – like little apples. I made sure that I found Calafate Berries as well as not only are these delicious (similar to blueberries) but legend has it that if you eat the Calafate Berry, you will return to Patagonia. We stopped for coffee in a cave used by the guanaco near a waterfall. The end of the walk took us right to the face of Ventisquero Holanda which was just beautiful. The edge of the glacier overhung the ground as though it was just ready to calve – in fact one huge chunk of ice did come crashing down while we were there. There was also a big boulder right by where we stopped for lunch – Ken pulled out a little hammer and chisel from his bag and began to harvest the garnets from the rock. They were literally sticking out of the boulder. He and Don cut a garnet out for me as it is my birth stone. It was a great thing to see. Just before lunch we spotted a lone guanaco checking us out. He was not impressed and left after a couple of minutes. We walked to where the glacier meets the lake and saw a huge crack in the end of the ice – soon that will fall off. We got a bit lost coming back but it was no problem. The ground was incredibly spongy and wet. The beavers have destroyed thousands of trees in this area. The swamp is full of dead trees sticking up like skeletons. It was a lovely hike as we got to see a real range in the vegetation and of course the glacier at the end was awesome.

9 April 2005

coloanebeavers Tcoloane We are still in Estero Coloane. Since we arrived here on 5th it has been pouring with rain and the wind has been pretty bad. It has been fine here, really secure though at more than one time the boat was deep in snow and ice from hail and sleet. It has been very cold. We have stayed on the boat until today mainly just reading. We took a turn each with Mark and Ruth from Thalassa II to invite the other for dinner on board. (We are rafted up to Thalassa II.)They are very nice people. Today finally the sky was clear when we woke so we took the tender to the biggest glacier and we could walk all the way to touch it. It was beautiful with all shades of blue and silver in it. After that we walked up to the lake into which the waterfalls from another glacier empty. It was pretty as it had iced up and was blocked by a beaver dam. The beavers have done a lot of damage to the trees in the area. We came back to the boat for lunch before heading off again for a walk to look over the whole anchorage and Brazo Sudoeste. After an hour though the rain returned so we gave up and came back to Sapphire for showers and dinner. Today was a lovely day. If the weather is ok we will leave here tomorrow though.

3 April 2005

sailsudoeste We were up and away at 0730 today. I put a call into the Alcamar at Navarino and then called Yamana as we approached. The children there were running along the beach waving their teddy bears at us. We waved back and soon they were joined by both parents all waving.Again we were blessed with wonderful weather with warm sunshine and mirror like waters. Sailing up the Beagle Kev spotted a glacier in the distance. It was very blue and I thought it was a lake. We entered Brazo Noroeste and as we did so, as if on cue we saw our first “bergy bit”. We passed Ventisquero Hollanda which tumbles into Caleta Olla and then we saw the magnificent Ventisquero Italia. This one was my favourite as when we passed we could hear the rumbling like thunder coming from the glacier. Ventisquero Romanche is retreating so there were waterfalls coming from under the ice. The south side of the channel was very different with no glaciers but lots of long thin waterfalls falling from the snow on the top. On the north side of the Channel the Cordillera Darwin is nothing short of magnificent. This is a chain of mountains in which the glaciers we saw were born. We noticed a navy ship following us and thought it was the Chileans making sure that we anchored where had said we would. It turned out to be an Argentine navy boat. He wanted to make sure he passed us correctly so called us up. It was funny as all the navy personnel were on deck waving to us. We decided to anchor in Caleta Voilier on Isla Gordon (not approved by the Armada yet). As we entered the anchorage the crystal reflections in the deep water erupted as about a dozen dolphins escorted us to our berth. After anchoring my first job was to “double glaze” our windows with cling film in an effort to reduce condensation.

Cabo de Hornos and Puerto Williams

28 March 2005

We left Ushuaia and returned to Puerto Williams. We enjoyed Ushuaia very much but were glad to be back here as Ushuaia is a little exposed adn a few days with 50kt gusts are not good for the nerves. One of the best things about Ushuaia was getting to meet so many people from the Patagonia Net. Malcolm Dickson was there in his beautiful boat which he designed and built. He sailed Sarau from Hobart with his son. He is a lovely man. We had a fast sail back here with a following wind and arrived this evening with Les and Ali from Islander ready to take our lines. It snowed on us today as we were sailing, the first time in a long time.

15 March 2005

We left Puerto Williams for Ushuaia in Argentina.

13 March 2005

Still in Puerto Williams. We did not leave for Ushuaia as easterlies have been forecast in which case Ushuaia would not be particularly secure. Yesterday was a sunny sparling day and we went for a wallk to check out the beaver dams near here. They were larger than I had imagined. As I had bought loads of food in preparation for the OCC party we had Phil and Julia from Illawong over for dinner. We had a good evening. Today is grey and raining but this little port is fillling up with boats from Ushuaia. I am glad that we stayed put.

10 March 2005

We have made the most of the peace and quiet here. We walked to Cerro Bandera and the view over the Beagle was lovely. We have made friends with John and Sally Melling from Taraki who are from Newton Ferrers. We have made a few inroads into the work we need to do on the boat but the list is endless. The Micalvi cat seems to have adopted our boat. He is actually very friendly but I suspect does the rounds of the boat and so is fed several times a day! We plan to leave here on Sat for Ushuaia to take part in the OCC bash there.

2 March 2005

We left Caleta Martial at 0600. I could hear more wind blowing through the rigging so was a little anxious as we were expecting to have to beat across the bay. Again, someone must have been looking out for us as the wind was behind us and we had a great sail before the wind died and we had to motorsail. By the time we were about halfway across the bay the wind filled in again but from the east so we had an easy passage north. We did find our stiff beat but it was not uncomfortable and was not for long. We had planned to head back to Toro but as the wind was easterly, the anchorage there would not have been secure. Additionally an easterly (relatively rare) would blow us easily back to Puerto Williams. We spoke to Sunstone and decided that this was another gift horse so we continued back to Puerto Williams. We were moored again at about 1900. Our arrival back was made that much more special as Bob from Belair (also an OCC boat) had heard me calling the Capitania on the radio and he along with the other boats here helped us squeeze into a tight berth and then invited us over to his boat. I did not realise that there was a party in progress on Belair- it was a great evening. Tom and Vicky even provided a bottle of champagne with which we enjoyed a toast to Cape Horn. It was the perfect finish to a perfect voyage.

1 March 2005

sapphirehorn sunstonehorn tkhorn hornpeters We were up at 0330 in order to be underway at 0400, having sailed to Puerto Toro the previous day. We followed Sunstone down the canal. This was a good thing as it was dark and they called us on the radio to warn us that they had nearly picked up a fishing line around their propeller. We had a mercifully simple crossing of Bahia Nassau which has a vicious reputation. I was amazed when we reached the archipelago of which the Horn is a part. It was magnificent. We had certainly made the correct decision. The sun was shining and the wind was light. These waters are rarely this benign. We had very light winds until we were south of Cabo de Hornos when it picked up to about 15 kts. There was still a noticable swell from the previous day's winds, which were gusting 70kts. We rounded the Horn at 1600 in the company of Tom and Vicky Jackson on their beautiful wooden boat, Sunstone. (Tom and Vicky are Roving Commodores of the OCC). We enjoyed a very gentle sail back to the anchorage at Caleta Martial accompanied by a little pod of dolphins where we saw two or three boats waiting to round the Horn the following day. We were fully aware that we had been outrageously fortunate to have this weather window. We had been told that two out of three attempts to round the Horn from Puerto Williams end in the boats turning back. One boat has tried and failed five times. We had certainly not planned to leave for the Horn this soon but we are learning to make the most of the weather opportunities in these parts. Once safely anchored Kev cracked open another of his precious St Peter's beers in celebration. We are delighted to have rounded the Horn but as we know the weather here can not be relied on, we will certainly relax once we have crossed Bahia Nassau again and are in the channels.

27 February 2005

williamsweather Today was a busy day in Puerto Williams with the arrival of several other OCC boats. Sunstone arrived and once they had settled in, Tom and Vicky came over for a coffee. Following them were Pen Azen, Belair and Taraki. We met the people from the other OCC boats in the Micalvi for a few drinks that evening. Don from T Tauri Winds has spotted a big high pressure area building over the region. The consensus has it that this is a great – and very rare – opportunity to round Cape Horn. Sunstone are interested so we will see what the weather looks like tomorrow before making a decision.

26 February 2005

puertowilliams1 We spend a really enjoyable night on Pelagic in the company of the three boats who helped us in yesterday. It was a Mexican night so we all brought a dish. (No one left hungry!) The other three boats have all spent a long time exploring these waters and have all rounded Cape Horn (two yachts and one motor vessel) so between the six people there was a wealth of knowledge and advice which was very welcome. We were told that roughly two out of thee attempts on "The Horn" by lots of boats end with the vessels turning back due to weather. We need to decide whether to try to round the Horn before or after Ushuaia.

25 February 2005

After trying to get to Ushuaia and finding the wind to be too strong to head into we decided to seek shelter in Puerto Williams. We had been in contact with several boats on the Patagonia Radio Net for weeks so we called Phil on Illawong who guided us in and we tied up to T Tauri Winds(owned by Don and Vicky). They took our lines for us which was a big help. We had a coffee in their cockpit and a stray cat (that adopts boats) befriended Kev until it scratched him and drew blood. We were visited by four officials who cleared us in with no problems and were very polite. We wandered into the town which is a real frontier town – actually more of a concrete slabs with some little shack like houses and shops around it. There were a lot of stray dogs. Ken on Pelagic told us that they shoot the dogs as they attack the calves. We will stay here for a few days before continuing to Ushuaia. During the afternoon more boats came in and now we are in the middle of a raft of six yachts. We went out for a meal during the evening and won't be doing that again. We both also managed to phone home for the first time in a while. After dinner we came back for drinks on the Micalvi (an ex Chilean Armada boat which has been run aground to provide shelter and is the yacht club.)and we drank Pisco Sours! Kev got a bit carried away and did not stumble back to the boat til after three! He felt quite sorry for himself the following morning.