May 24, 2010**
We’re sailing, wing-on-wing, headed east down the Beagle Channel. Our plan was to continue west for another few days, but there’s bad weather headed this way. High winds are forecast, so we turned to starboard at the top of Tres Brazos, where we’d put in yesterday for the evening, instead of to port. We will anchor back in Caleta Ollo, or if we make great time, head to Estancia Ferrari at Yendegaia. We need to pick up Jose, a friend of Laura and Miles, and give him a ride to Puerto Williams. If we get a nice day, there might be some horseback riding and a true Patagonian asado, with a whole lamb roasted over an open fire.
Oh, I haven’t mentioned the lamb yet, have I? Until yesterday, although there was a good chance we were the only sailboat in all of the Beagle Channel, we were certainly the only sailboat in the Beagle Channel with two whole lambs stretched out above the stern to cure in the cold air. Several times I have found myself flaking a line or taking a photo and looked up suddenly to find myself within kissing distance of a splayed carcass. It was spooky at first but now I actually say “Oh, hello Lamb. You again?” I don’t like looking at the one who is still hanging there and on his way to the estancia, but I have to admit, his twin was very tasty in last night’s stew and empanadas for today’s lunch. I’ve been inching toward vegetarianism (maybe millimetering would be more accurate), but it’s not going to happen on this trip—that’s for sure.
Yesterday morning was a very industrious Sabbath aboard Pelagic Australis. Lara and Laura volunteered to give the boat a much needed cleaning, and the rest of us split into two groups to top off our water tanks from the local glacier. Rudi and Chris took the dinghy back and forth, filling the barrels beneath a waterfall. Then we used the halyard to hoist them aboard, and siphoned them into the tanks from the deck, before being returning them to the dinghy for another refill. When we set off for the day’s excursion, the boat smelled clean and herbal, and our water tanks were full.
We returned to Ventisquero Guilcher, which we’d had a look at, briefly, the day before. A smaller, rocky mountain marks the end of this spectacular cul de sac. Above it a row of very high, snowy mountain peaks. To either side, glacial flows. And to starboard, a large blue ice shelf. Our visit the day before was short because the winds were roaring down the mountainside, churning the water at the base. But today, as we motored into the end of this fjord-like area, everyone on the boat was silent, taking in this utterly majestic scene. Large pieces of ice bobbed all around us, causing audible pop, crackles, and snaps, Miles was at the helm and asked that we let him know if it seemed we were about to hit a piece of ice larger than an armchair, hard. After a good ten minutes of silent but frenzied photography, Swiss suggested we put the dinghy in the water so I could get a potential cover shot.
Ah, the cover shot. I am having a blast with a new Pentax K-7. It’s rugged, water-resistant, much faster than my old camera, and just infinitely better—even in my amateur hands. There are a couple of other passionate photographers aboard, so I opened the cover contest up to everyone, since YACHTING, of course, wants the very best possible shot for our August Adventure issue. But I did warn them that my shot would be free for the magazine, so their shots would have to be much better than mine to get paid for and published…Ever since, there’s been a noted uptick in my popularity aboard, though the tips I’d been receiving from the other photographers have mysteriously dried up. Humph.
For a gallery of images from Mary South’s trip around Cape Horn click here.
| |Pelagic Australis, as we explored the breathtakingly beautiful Ventisquero Guilcher at the end of Western Pia Seno.|