That was a fun day. Since early morning we were on a race against time. We had to make it to this narrow passage before certain afternoon hour in order to pass safely with the high tide and a favourable current. I don’t think anything too exciting happened until we got there except for a couple of seals we saw swimming happily around the boat. I also remember we were going through a beautiful canal that we all very much enjoyed. The weather was also spectacular – warm and sunny – adding to the beauty of our surroundings. Again walls of rock, covered in thick vegetation were on both side of the canal, while misty snow peaks could be seen in the distance. Fabulous!
We were trying to decide whether to take the short, quicker passage leading to Puerto Natales, or the long, pretty one. At the end we decided to take the short one as the conditions for it were better and we left the long pretty for the return journey when the winds would be with us. The passage might have been short but certainly no less beautiful. Recently all canals we have gone through have been especially beautiful. I am not sure whether that is really the case or the bright sun shining over us is to blame but it certainly is glorious.
So, we sailed along, for the first time trying to slow down as we needn’t be at the passage before 4pm. And as you would have it the winds were more than favourable for a change. We let ourselves go from time to time and flew at 7-8kts/h. The fun couldn’t last for long. We had to wait.
Eventually we saw a fishermen’s boat and decided to radio them and ask about the conditions at the passage. Local knowledge is the best you can get. So, my lovely three men pimped me again and sent me to charm the fishermen. They (very erroneously) seem to think that I have special powers over men. I really don’t. But nobody listens.
In any case, I radioed the guy and he happily (maybe a little too happily) responded. I asked him about the passage and the time of the high tide. He said it was at 3pm and it was safe to go through. We were happy to find out that we didn’t really have to wait for another hour and headed straight to the dangerous passage.
Soon after we left the safe water we were floating on we saw a rapid change in the water scenery. It turned into a river in the middle of the canal. Rapid currents coming from all sides, at different levels. We had more than 10kts of current with us making it tricky to control the boat. We took all the sails down, switched on the engine and headed for the narrow passage. The currents got stronger the closer we got. We could feel them engulfing the boat and rather enjoyed it. It felt like a theme park ride. So much fun it was! Yeeee! Too bad it only lasted for a couple of minutes, I wanted to go back and repeat it for fun’s sake. It was a nice touch of excitement to our otherwise tranquil day. From there on it was uneventful again. We sailed to our next anchorage spot and settled for the night. We had to spend two days there before we could head to Puerto Natales because of bad weather. As usual when weather is bad we spent a lot of time indoors, busing ourselves with various chores such as cleaning, cooking, movies, reading, writing, etc.
The boys decided to go for a hike and I, seeing what the weather was like opted for staying at home, where it was warm, dry and where I could snuggle on the couch under a hand-woven woolen blanket and read about the Russian aristocracy of Tolstoy’s time. Liam was opted out upon seeing the gloomy, rainy, windy outside. Ian and Mario left.
I was happy with my choice. I was supposed to be writing in my blog, catching up on posts but instead Liam and I ended up chatting about various topics. We started with Ian, saying we couldn’t quite figure out some of his views and opinions and decided to compile a list of questions for him. We then moved onto talking about happiness, then I asked Liam to describe himself in three words, and then we talked about love (all this over hot tea and chocolate). We got so carried away we lost track of time and before we knew it the boys were back. It was time to prepare dinner.
The guys told us how great the hike was and showed us the photos they took. I didn’t think they would be a higher viewing point, that it was all flat, therefore not worth it but I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Once they’d made their way through the thick trees, they’d reached a clearing, a pampa in the middle of the canals overlooking the surrounding peaks and the water. The photos were stunning and we almost felt jealous for not joining. I made a resolution never to miss a hike again regardless of how unpromising it looks.
I jokingly asked the guys to bring me a treasure before they left and what do you think? They did. Ian brought me a branch that had developed an interesting, round fungus formation. Some sort of a pretty infection. They remembered. I was hoping the diamonds would be inside of the ball but that’s probably pushing it a bit too far. I got my treasure. The branch takes a prominent place on our coffee table now.