Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Live Bloggin' the Blast; or, Up All Night?

Elias baking "creation loaves" (his name)


This particular Monday night finds us standing anchor watch for the first time in the nearly eight years since we left Kodiak.

We were expecting strong westerlies tonight, but got something more than "strong".  Blasts of wind, water smoking, us heeling all over the place as we were blown through the anchorage.  We managed to get the inflatable on deck and deflated early enough, but we weren't quite quick enough at getting the engine started to motor into the wind and give the anchor a little help.  We dragged about a tenth of a mile before we started motoring into it.

We weren't the only ones caught by surprise - a commercial boat anchored near us had to get under way to reset their hook, and a couple of big working boats that must have been at the other side of the harbor came charging around, trying to get their anchors down, and eventually succeeding.

We ended up in 30 meters of water, which is a mite deep for anchoring when the water surface is smoking around you.   All thanks and praise to our 40 kilo Rocna, which did great considering the conditions, and reset quite quickly after dragging.  With a lesser anchor I'm sure we would have blown much further.

We also managed to get a second hook out without much drama.  We had already dragged into the deepest water around, and had tons of room downwind, AND the work boats kept their distance.  So all good thus far.

The boys slept through the whole thing.  How, I have no idea.

The irony is that we are only here, in the notorious anchorage of Puerto Natales, and not somewhere more sheltered, because we needed internet.  I've mostly been using it for my biology work, but now that I find myself up in the middle of the night, standing anchor watch, I can take advantage of the chance to post some recent pics.

There's nothing sillier than a blog that's "out of date", that's struggling to catch up with the flow of events.  But since we can only update pictures on the infrequent instances when we have internet access, I'll beg your indulgence and look back a bit.

Leaving Estero Peel

After we left behind the ice of Estero Peel, we found ourselves taking shelter in Puerto Bueno - where Bill Tilman's crew despaired at the idea of sitting for as long as two months while the climbing party did their thing on the Patagonia Icecap, and where Jorge Sarmiento found refuge in the 1570s, if you can believe the Italian Guide.

How anyone ever sailed in and out of a place like this with sixteenth century technology, I'll never understand.

Puerto Bueno
We loved Puerto Bueno.  It's beautiful, and it's surrounded by great hiking.

The boys had serious energy to burn after being confined to the ship in so many
other anchorages.  Note our mast in the background
Eric flamed out, threw a complete wobbly, and had to be packed out
Puerto Bueno is also the place where, memorably, we
finally caught the wily centolla...
...and saw a fox.  Sightings of terrestrial mammals are
rare in the canales
Canal Harriet.  That's a whale vertebra on Fernando
As we moved south into Canal Sarmiento, and then Canal Harriet, we noticed something...different.  It wasn't raining.  As I've said before, we didn't come to Patagonia to carry on about the weather.  But we definitely noticed when we got a day without rain.

Elias, Caleta Harriet. He recently wrote an email to our great (adult) friends
on Enki and signed it "your trusty mate".  That melted his parents' hearts

We were in Canal Harriet because it leads to Caleta Thélème, which we are
entering  in this pic.  (With just enough light!)  We were keen to visit that
Caleta because we count ourselves as friends of the eponymous boat.
Elias, lending a hand with shore lines in Caleta Thélème
Caleta Thelémè.  If you drop in, know that the Italian guide mis-identifies
the anchorage waypoint as the entrance waypoint
Packing the crew back to the boat, Caleta Thelémè
The old campaigner - wearing down jacket inside sleeping bag, sitting next to the heater

Sewing a new mesh bag for one of the shorelines, Estrecho Collingwood

Then, in Estrecho Collingwood, we got our second day of sun in three days.  Again, we don't go on about the weather.  But we did notice.

Estrecho Collingwood

Estrecho Collingwood

With a heavy French accent: "It was my dream!"
That's our anchorage?  We'll take it.  Isla Jaime, Seno Union
On the summit of Isla Jaime
Picking the pot at Isla Jaime.  They didn't catch nothin'.
Isla Jaime and Seno Union are where we broke off from the straight and narrow path to head for Puerto Natales.

But I'm noticing that the wind has died down to something reasonable, and the barometer has climbed from the Stygian depths of 968 all the way up to 977 mb.  It might be time to get some sleep...

1 comment:

  1. Great Pictures guys, I always enjoy reading your blog and hearing about your adventures. Happy Sailing. Drew