Liam woke us all up at 7.30am. An early start to a long day. The boys got up, had their coffee and started preparing the boat for the sail while I lay in bed. I didn’t get out of it until about 8.20am. I then pulled one of our released shore lines on deck and started pulling the anchor up. I didn’t last too long because it got really hard and the pressure disturbed the functioning of the mechanism. Mario and Ian came to my rescue. Liam was busy putting the ropes away. I then took one of the bags to the deck and secured it for the day.
It was a rather boring day. Again there was no wind or it came from the wrong direction so we motored for most of the day. At some point we sailed really well and there wasn’t much to do so I lay on the couch, book in hand. Soon I got bored though and felt sleepy. I attempted a nap but Ian woke me up saying he needed a tool that was in the cupboard beneath me. I moved to the cabin but then Mario came asking whether I was alright and ended up staying for a chat.
I had told Liam earlier that I would make lunch so I thought I better get up and feed the boys. Liam helped me chopping all the veggies and Mario got the salmon out of its storage place. I only had to fry it all up and I did. I got as far as adding the cream when I started feeling a bit dizzy. Although the boat wasn’t rocking it was extremely tilted to one side, making it hard to stand, let alone cook. I asked Liam to take over as he is the only one of all three of us who doesn’t get sea sick. I instructed him from the cockpit while also chopping the salmon (we had leak/salmon pasta).
While we were having lunch we saw the Navimag pass us by going in the opposite direction. We wondered whether it was the same boat we had seen in Puerto Natales a few days back. We wondered whether it had already returned from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt and was now making the return trip. Ian suggested we spoke to them since Liam needed to find out the schedule anyway. Liam and Mario settled by the radio and had a chat with them finding everything they needed to know.
I wonder why would anybody pay $350 for a few day trip so they can sit in a bar surrounded by other foreigners, observing the canals through the windows of the huge cargo ship or at best the deck. Knowing what I know now, and having done this sailing trip I don’t see the point of it and in fact I think it is a complete waste of money as you don’t really get to appreciate the beauty of the canals. Most people who have used it though say it was the highlight of their trip. Personally I best enjoy the time we spend hiking when we really get close to nature and are able to appreciate its unspoiled beauty. We are also advantaged in the way that due to the small size of the boat we are able to visit places where no Navimag would ever be able to go (at least not until you are willing to pay a lot more for a custom trip). As for the actual sailing days which is similar to a Navimag experience in the sense that you go through the canals and observe the mountains and the vegetation on both sides…I am not too keen on the views. Or rather they are not ideal photo opportunities and are better appreciated by just looking at them, trying to take in as much as possible instead of peaking through a camera lens. What makes our days exciting (because the scenery doesn’t often change and remains the same for miles) is the actual sailing which Navimag payers are deprived of. It is preparing the boat to leave, pulling on ropes and adjusting sails trying to increase our speed, trying to cook meals while the boat is tilted at a 30º angle, the interaction on board, the laughter, the jokes, the talks, our dinners together, our discussion and quiet, relaxing time, our music. I wish all Navimag passengers the luck of being able to experience the canals the way I am experiencing them now. Enough of that. Let me get back to our day.
In the morning when we left the anchorage we enjoyed a beautiful day with blue skies. That lasted for a few hours before it got all gloomy and rainy. Mist was covering half the mountains, which was not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the sun would break through the clouds and illuminate a distant snow peak. I remember this one I saw and wished I could take a photo of it but by the time I got the camera it was gone. Nevermind, photos never do it justice anyway.
As soon as the guys were done with the Navimag we heard a familiar voice trying to reach to us on the radio. I recognized the words Silf Six and grabbed the radio screaming ‘Bob! Bob!’ I was so happy to hear from Bob. Like I said we have been thinking about him, wondering what is happening to him and I didn’t realize how much I’d missed him until I heard his voice. I was surprised with my own reaction and I am pretty sure I’d broken a few rules of the naval communication code (all frequencies are public and you normally address the other boat by its name repeated three time, followed by the name of your vessel also repeated three times). Who cares? As long as I’d made Bob smile and made him feel loved.
Towards the end of the day Ian asked me to have a look at this area mentioned in the guidebook and tell him what I thought. ‘Wow! Wow!’ I exclaimed as I progressed down the page. I was reading about the access to a glacier belonging to the Patagonian Ice Cap. ‘We have to go there!’ I stated when I was done. ‘We are going there!’ I said. We had a brief discussion about it and decided it was too good to miss. When are you going to see the second ice cap in the world up close? I’d say never. It did mean that it would slow us done with a couple of days, and Ian was worried that I should see a doctor as soon as possible but there was no way I was missing it. I figured a couple of days wouldn’t make that much of a difference anyway. We had to make a decision before we went up the left arm of the canal that was about an hour away from where we were. Ian knows when to mention things. There was nothing to be decided really. There was no way we were not going there (60 miles return trip). We were all very excited since it has been a while since we visited a really stunning place, let alone one of the two ice caps in the world. It would be a great way to part with Liam too. The grand finale to his sailing trip.
We anchored at a small caleta, that looks like it is in the middle of the canal but that’s only because our digital map is a bit off scale. It did look protected and calm but then we have been rocking a lot. Ian said everytime a ship goes by we would rock but we have been rocking every five minutes. I doubt there are so many ships going by. So there must be a swell or something. Not ideal but it would do for the night. Off to the Patagonian Ice Cap tomorrow!