Many places sing us a "what-if-you-stayed" siren song.
There's some element of regret and wistfulness that motivates the desire to see more of a place, or to see some of the best bits over again. Maybe you were distracted during a part of your visit, and you look back and think that you could do a particular country or island group better justice with another go round.
And some places just have a magic that convinces sailors to spend season after season getting to know them.
The far south, where we are now, is one of those places. There aren't a lot of sailboats here, but many of those have been here for years, making the circuit between Puerto Williams, Ushuaia, the Falklands, and Antarctica.
We're not Antarctica-bound ourselves, but the thought of spending another year in the south has appealed. Eric in particular seems to have an ear for language, and if nothing else there is the benefit that the boys would get in learning Spanish if we stayed in Puerto Williams next winter.
But...we dislike sitting still enough to make it hard to believe that we'd really want to spend a whole winter tied to the Micalvi. There are a lot of other places in the world and our time is only so long. So although we have agreed to defer our final decision until we're in the Falklands, odds are that we'll be sailing north up the Atlantic this year and not the next.
So when we set out from Puerto Williams four days ago for another sail around the Beagle Channel, it was quite likely that we were setting off on our last tour around los canales of Chile.
So far we've been impressed by the difference from the last time we were through these parts, when it was the dead of winter. The days now are long enough that we can put in a day of travel and still have time for a family hike in the afternoon. It's so warm that we don't have the diesel heater going during the day, and we found ourselves hiking in t-shirts yesterday.
And, the biggest difference is that everything isn't completely new. We've been around the proverbial block, and we're seeing even the places that are new to us with the discerning eye of experience.
Yesterday we satisfied our long-standing desire to behold the guanaco, that southern cousin to the llama. Both yesterday and today we've been up hill tracks that were closed to us by the snows of winter last time around, and thereby got good outings with the boys and views of glaciers to boot.
And through it all it feels like we're filling in the final corners of the canvas that has been our year in Chile.