Saturday, October 3, 2015

East Wind Blows

East wind blows.  The weather is so good.  The sun shines and Elias says there's not a cloud in the sky and I say you're right.  Not a single one.  When people normally say that there's at least a few somewhere down around the horizon.  But not today.

Not a single one.  Beagle Channel
Or the day after.

We have considerations.  Who doesn't I suppose.

Our considerations are number one above everything else especially in the can you believe it Beagle Channel: wind.

East winds blow.

What you hear about the place is west.  West wind.  With modifiers.  Like howling.  And remorseless.  The Beagle Channel is scene to a certain amount of bragadoccio from afar.  People write between the lines of their posts.  I am an expert sailor.  And these are demanding conditions.

All that fades when you're actually here.  The winter-over crowd is very low key.  Maybe bragadoccio comes with the summer.

But still September has a reputation.  Remorseless.  Howling.  West.

We are going west.  As soon as I get my work done I tell the unassuming people every time they ask. Just as soon.  The magic day gets pushed back.  As we knew it would be and we're not fussed.  We have some time.

As soon as I get my work done
Meanwhile September is magic.  East winds blow.  No winds blow.  Snowy days still starry nights.  We could have left a dozen times I tell the particularly unassuming chap next to us.

Considerations.  What if.  What if we sailed to Namibia? What if we chartered in Alaska?  What if the research funding comes through?  What if we keep going?

East winds blow.

Meanwhile: plot twist

Saturday, September 26, 2015

La Cueca

The eighteenth of September is Chile's Independence Day.

In Puerto Williams, at least, the celebration is a serious affair.  Three nights of dancing, and a long weekend of serious eating (and more-or-less serious drinking).

The centerpiece, as you can see from these pics, is the performance of the Chilean national dance, la cueca.  To be Chilean, you must be able to dance the cueca, a friend tells us.

Spurs are optional, though a good idea.  The handkerchief is mandatory.

People practice for the event,  and dress the part.  The men are dressed as huasos - Chilean cowboys. The women, I'm not sure.  Perhaps they're huasas?

People dance with the perfect match of spirit and seriousness.  It seems like a tradition that is fully alive, at least here in the sticks.

Some of the other yachties who came down with us this first night stayed until three in the morning and danced their own versions of the cueca.  For the Galactic crew, leaving at nine thirty for a very delayed boys' bed time of ten o'clock felt like quite enough.


We ventured back on Saturday for dinner at a very un-Chilean early hour.  There was no dancing and the crowds were sparse, but there were games for the kids and we could all eat some Chilean food.  Plus, I got to try the terremoto - the "earthquake" - a Chilean favorite that features white wine, grenadine, and ice cream.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

El Niño in the South

Alisa shovels.  Eric "helps"
For a while I've been wondering what a strong Niño might mean for winds during our coming summer in the South Atlantic.

I haven't found any information about that.  But we seem to be having one effect already - we're enjoying an incredibly snowy spring in Puerto Williams.

People tell us that snow in September is rare down here, and we're having snowy day after snowy day.  Which is exactly the weather we would choose for what is odds-on to be our only season in Puerto Williams.

We don't have skis, which would really put things over the top.  But someone did lend us a sled, which the boys are predictably delirious over.  And recess during the school week has devolved into father-sons snowball fights on the Micalvi.

Every day, it seems, we awake to a fresh dump.  Alisa has been impressing our neighbors with her assiduous shoveling of the deck.  We figure it's the Alaskan thing to do - we are the people who shovel snow.

Summer seems improbably far away.  And that's fine with us.

Below - cowabunga!