Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What Happened Next

Caleta Brecknock
It would take some real writing to get this part of the trip down.

After we left the Straits of Magellan we cut down Canal Cochrane, took the briefest look at the open Pacific, and ducked back into the protection of the canales - Canal Ocasión and Canal Brecknock - the road to the Beagle Channel.
Brecknock - see the mast?

And Brecknock again

Love that deck stack on a cold morning
Now we were in Fireland - Tierra del Fuego.  And it was our own Tierra del Fuego.  There were some centolla boats around, and every morning we came up on the Patagonia cruisers' net and emailed our position to the armada.  But we seemed to be carrying our own envelope of solitude around with us.  From anchorage to anchorage.  Through crystal day after crystal day.

Winter came in for real on our second morning in Caleta Brecknock, and it never left.

IDing something in the marine mammal field guide.  You can tell who's spending their day on deck and who's spending their day down below

We approach the whole undertaking with humility - we are confident, but we assume nothing.

We have a four-point approach: be well prepared, make good decisions, make it look easy, have a blast.

So far it's worked out.  The kids had a blast, I had a blast, Alisa had a blast.

I can't say enough about choosing winter for our first visit to the far south.  Winter makes everything lonely and mysterious, the way Patagonia should be.

And, well.  The feeling of moving through these places independently?  The feeling of choosing our pace and taking responsibility for everything?  The feeling of dreaming about a trip like this and the doing it, and finding yourself equal to it?

It's no wonder that people find the sailing life so hard to give up.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

After Natales

The view from Caleta Mousse at dawn

Classically, the thing we did first after we left Puerto Natales was that we waited for the weather to improve.

We were very glad not to be waiting for the weather to improve in the indifferent protection of Natales itself.  Caleta Mousse is a fine place.  Even if we did find it very hard to leave.

Now that we've got poor internet access in Puerto Williams (what is it with traveling and getting online? Is it just me?), I'll share some pic from that time.  All these are from between Puerto Natales and the Straits of Magellan.  (Once upon a time I used to have time for making maps for the blog, but it's not going to happen again for the foreseeable future!)

A nice refreshing walk for the family - waiting for weather in Caleta Mousse

Galactic in Caleta Mousse.

Here and below - just before entering Puerto Profundo, our last anchorage north of the Straits of Magellan, and conditions have reached spontaneous liftoff.  That's a williwaw above, and just general windiness below.  Any wonder that we nearly planted the stern on a rock while tying into Profundo?

Above - Puerto Profundo.  A four-point tie and we're snug as can be.

We were holed up in Profundo for six days waiting for weather to get into the Straits of Magellan, but had the consolation of great walking during that time.  Above - something we completely missed out on by sailing away from Alaska - getting little kids rugged up for going outside on a cold day.

Here and below - once you're outside, it's worth it.

Sailing into the Straits of Magellan on a day worth waiting for.

The Straits.  Too good.

Stay tuned for next installment, when the pics get...better.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Poppin' the Dom

We drew a new line on our globe today.

That's the inflatable globe that hangs above the chart table on Galactic.

It has every one of our passages around the Pacific drawn on it - the Pelagic years in black and the Galactic years in red. Today we added the line from Valdivia, our landfall in Chile, to Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world. We're tied to the Micalvi, a half-sunk supply ship built in the 1920s that serves as the tie-up for yachts here - "the uttermost yacht club in the world".

And north of us - the entire length of Patagonia. Every line that we draw on the globe merits a celebration, is a little testament to another grand adventure for the family. This one is no different and we dug out a bottle of champagne from the bottom of the fridge when we drew the line.

Going south in Patagonia during the winter turned out to be a complete joy. We went faster than we would have over the last wonderful month, spurred on by considerations outside Patagonia. As always, we get what time we can.

If we're lucky enough, we hope to have another stint of sailing in Fireland during the coming Austral spring and summer.

For now, we're in that sudden transition of being temporarily done, having given up the dreamlike state of being forever on the move through fantastic terrain. We're starting to come to grips with what is on offer in this place, what it will give us and ask of us in return.