May 11, Puerto Profundo

After Playa Parda Chica we sailed into a small anchorage to spend the night. Nothing memorable happened there, we left the next day.
Another good day of sailing. We anchored in a beautiful spot just outside of the Strait of Magellan about an hour ago and now everybody is resting. Ian is tired, lying on the couch, looking at the maps, researching the next section of our trip. Mario is sitting next to me, working on the latest panorama photos and Liam is cooking. We have decided to have a lentils/pumpkin stew. I am feeling more or less inspired and thought it time to update the details of this trip. I thought I would have a lot more time to write and keep you up-to-date on all the sailing details but the truth is we simply don’t have any time. Take today for example, we got up late as we were waiting for the weather forecast confirmation. Although the weather seemed fine we didn’t want to risk sailing into some mighty winds, so we waited. We had a decent breakfast, got the boat ready and left. We only motored for a little while before we turned off the engine and sailed for the rest of the day. Luckily the winds were with us and we progressed rather quickly. Here is how a sailing day goes: we all sit in the cockpit in out waterproof gear and do mainly nothing. Some days the wind requires a lot more tacking but today for example we hardly did anything. The win was favourable and we only had to adjust the sails from time to time. Ian or one of us steers the boat sometimes, but we mostly rely on the autopilot once the course has been established. So, once the sails are up, the autopilot is on, there isn’t much to do. You would say, ‘Well, there, you have all that time to write!’ and you would be right if I didn’t get seasick. We do spend most of our time outside (despite the low temperatures) mainly because we would feel very uncomfortable inside. When the boat is rocking the last place you wanna be in is the cabin. So we endure the cold and sit outside. As you can see I cannot type outside, one – because it is too wet and cold, and two – because it is too unstable. I do not want to have my computer flying overboard. I sometimes read when on deck, although after a while it just gets too cold and I need to move in order to keep my body warm. I struggle with my hands and feet (like I always have) – they are constantly cold. I find ways to keep my hands warm but my feet are a lost cause that is why I just endure the cold, looking forward to the evening when I can warm them up by the stove. When the boat is not rocking too much I do spend time inside, and even if it is I still need to warm up from time to time. In these cases I just stand at the entrance with my body inside of the cabin and my head sticking out.
Today was one of those actionless days – we hardly had anything to do. I read a bit, a dozed off for a bit, pulled on a few ropes and that is about it. The boat was rocking hard and my reading didn’t last for too long and there was no way I was going inside. Just the look of the cabin made my head spin. In the morning I had taken a sea-sickness pill (as advised by Ian) and I still felt a bit uncomfortable at times. A side effect of those pills is that they make you drowsy, so when there is nothing to do on deck I often go inside and nap. Today though I decided to persist and remain outside. Luckily, at some point the sun broke through the clouds and we got an amazing view to admire. I will try to describe it to you to the best of my abilities but I am pretty sure I will not do it justice.
We were surrounded by mountains, some just low rocky formations, others rather edgy and covered in snow. In the distance we could spot the snow mantle of a glacier. The sea was wavy and metallic grey, and it changed color as it reflected the sunlight. So far, nothing to spectacular. The sky is what won me. It was mostly grey, cloudy and gloomy. Then there was a patch of blue, dotted by light, white clouds. The sunlight threw various shadows of white, yellow, orange and silver over the fluffy clouds and the water. Liam, Mario and I sat on deck, facing the sun, enjoying its warm rays as well as the perfect beauty it created. A sunny day around here is always a treat (our 2nd one so far) and we try to make the most of it. It somehow has such a different, so much more powerful effect here. Maybe because it is in its pure, unspoiled form. Maybe because there is nothing else to overshadow it. Or maybe because we are more open to it, maybe we are happier and more appreciative here.
We sat there, happy as bunnies, feeling like anything is possible. It is a moment that will stay with me. We took some photos and we decided to call them ‘friends forever’ shots. And for a moment it really felt that way. Soon the sun was covered again and we got back to the cockpit. The waves were becoming rougher and it was no time to be outside.
For the next hour or so we all stood in the cockpit, trying to carefully balance our bodies on the 45º tilted boat. We were flying. Our speed was almost double to what we normally do and we were in high spirits, eager to get to our final destination as soon as possible. At last we left the Strait of Magellan and made our way into Canal Smyth. It only took us two days to sail the whole strait but add all the waiting time to that and you got yourself a week. The important thing is that we are out of it.
As soon as we got into Canal Smyth, which is a much smaller, narrower channel we lost the wind. We were barely moving and I suggested we switch the engine on. I was getting impatient to get to our anchorage spot. We slowly sailed into the predetermined location, expecting to see a buoy but there was none. I called the local representative of the Chilean Armada who is stuck on an isolated island not far from where we were and asked him about the buoy. It turned out that it no longer existed. Oh well! We could manage without it. We found another spot suggested by the guidebook but after some fidgeting Ian decided it was no good because it was too small for any maneuvering and too deep for the anchor. So we headed to another spot that was supposedly even more beautiful. We squeezed in between the tight rocks on both sides, made our way through all the kelp and indeed made it to a wonderfully beautiful anchorage situated at the very end of that sleeve. We got the dinghy into the water and Mario and I tied the lines to the shore. Mario wasn’t particularly happy with my knots and stood a couple of meters away giving advice while I was climbing rocks and balancing my weight onto slippery vegetation.
– How is it done? – I asked. Does it go like that?
– No, you gotta go around. Yeah just like that. No, no, no, not like that. Go around, just like you did the first one – he advised.
– It is not happening. Come and do it yourself! – I pouted. And he did.
Then we had to tie the second line to the other side and our only option was a worn out rope tied to a rather feeble, shaky tree. I wasn’t too happy about it as it didn’t look at all stable but after some consideration Ian decided it would be fine. We tied our rope to the existing one and then Mario decided to pull on it in order to make sure it was stable.
– Don’t pull on it! – I hissed. Do you want it falling on our heads?! Pull it when I am not here! Mario stopped pulling and we made our way back to the boat.
– Why are you pulling on it? – I asked. You know the stories about falling things.
– Yeah, but it is not a rock. Its roots are deep into the ground – Mario responded.
– Still, I don’t wanna risk it – I added.
Later I apologized for my behavior and thanked him for being so patient with me. I was cold, and frustrated and in no mood for experiments or jokes.
After all this, and after we made sure our anchor was safely positioned and we could finally relax. We took our waterproof gear off and went out on the deck to watch the sunset. We stood there, eyes glued to the pink horizon, trying to keep quiet and listen to the birds and the trickle of fresh water. It was very hard to keep a straight face let alone a solemn attitude as Mario had just had an embarrassing slipping accident and we were doubled over with laughter. Sorry Mario!
After a while the cold got the better of us and we made our way back into the cabin and started cooking.

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