A Travellerspoint blog

Leaving PW for the Falklands

Preparing for the main event in the middle of a snow storm

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Doctor Tom prepares the lines in the middle of a snow storm as we prepare to leave Chile for the Falklands

The team assemble to leave:

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Posted by AndyWi1son 08:52 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Patagonia anchorage

'Paradise' - albeit a little cold

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View over Patagonia anchorage

View over Patagonia anchorage

Pelagic Australis at anchor in Patagonia

Pelagic Australis at anchor in Patagonia

Posted by AndyWi1son 12:25 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

School's Out (for winter)

Off to explore Patagonian inlets off the Beagle Channel for a few days.

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Day 9
More yachtmaster instruction today. As you may have noticed from the photos posted we are in the local museum for the course. The place is a little chilly, we are sat in full thermals, hats and coats keeping warm along with drinking (coffee not alcohol)

Losing track of days so reverting to dates :-)

Sat 18th

Departed PW bound for Yendagaia, left at crack of dawn, nice frosty deck made moving around a bit dicey to start with. Wilson was on duty in the forepeak stowing fenders and lines, fine in the bay but once in the channel had to exit sharpish before becoming queasy.

Headed West along the Beagle Channel past Ushuaia on the northern shore where the local yacht club appears to be staging an inshore regatta.

On the constant lookout for an albatross but seems everything I spot is something different, a large black petrel was the last one. Just spotted a seal jumping clear out of the water like a dolphin.

Sailing down here heading for the mountains is like driving down the trans-Canada highway as you enter the Rockies in Alberta.

We have now seen albatross , penguins and the most amazing condor soaring in the thermals along a ridge of the fjord alongside the boat a staggeringly beautiful bird soaring above our heads as we anchored for the night. Claire had the first helm to bring to anchor in a small inlet named Yendagaia.

We dropped anchor and went to shore for a walk. The little trip was amazing. We walked just a short distance to see the most breath taking scenery, the half moon came out to (thankfully ) light our way back to the boat. We tramped through the remnants of the snow and the muddy pools to get back. Youri had the quote for the day, to jump or not to jump, poor bloke, he didn't quite make the jump across the stream so landed in to the stream getting himself quite wet, with the rest of the crew not really coming to his aid, we just laughed. Sorry Youri .
I was underwhelmed by New Zealand, I am overwhelmed by the staggering remoteness, beauty and simplicity of this head of the world that is Chile. I came here with the mistaken belief that this was the end of the world, I now believe it is the head of , not the end of the world.

Andy is reading a book from Simon Yates, the places and the people in the book are the people we are now rubbing shoulders with. Jose mentioned in the book is the person we are hiring horses from tomorrow . The boat he chartered was moored next to us in Puerto Williams. Wow.

All the team have now passed two stages of the yachtmaster theory, just the col regs to go. Nights around the dinner table are being spent testing one another.

Sunday 19 th.

I hadn't realised that there would be any time for any activities other than sailing. I was under the mistaken belief that once the team had passed their theory course we would be setting sail for the Falklands , that isn't the case., We have been for the most wonderful horse ride this morning. True frontier country. Basically Jose and Anname rounded up the horses and we went for a long hack through breathtaking countryside. The horses were excellent, Andy hasn't, ever managed to get a gallop like that before. The team when we returned were all comparing their survival stories, many having never been on a horse before. I think that there will be a few John Wayne's tomorrow. We are here for the sailing, but these added adventures are a an unexpected bonus.

Food. We haven't spoken of the catering thus far in the blog. Claire has been shopping a couple of times before leaving for this mini trip, the photos will give a picture of shopping Chilean style in a remote place, but it was an interesting challenge to cater for 9 days for 8 people from whatever they stocked that day in the store. Loads of potatoes, tins of tuna, oh .... and half a lamb... Each crew member has taken a turn in cooking, we are actually eating like kings. We have had fish pie, sausages and mash with an onion and red wine reduction sauce to name but a few. We are also planning for the meals for the trip across the Atlantic as we may not be able to cook quite as easily in a houlie.

This afternoon we have moved to a new anchorage in another remote spot further along the channel. I hope you are all tracking us on the website so you probably already know here we are.

We are all taking turns in learning new skills in boat handling. The anchoring of this boat is staggering , in tick over she still makes way at 6 knots which is interesting to stop in good time. Pelagic Australis ,to give her her full title , weighs in at 68 tonnes. She carries 14 at full capacity, operating capacity is 12, and we are 8 on board. This gives more than enough space for everyone to be able to have their own space as well as comfortable for everyone when we are all together .
I am not sure if I have introduced everyone yet. Tom is a fellow crew member who is a doctor, who we will have the honour of celebrating his 60 th birthday while we are together. Youri, already mentioned in despatches, is a a IT security engineer from Quebec but currently living in Paris, his English is great, but we are teaching him loads of new words, like butties, sarnies and offering him more tea than he imagined possible. Wojtek, is his friend and who still resides in Quebec and is also a an IT security engineer and today describes himself a a horse passenger rather than a horse rider! As you may have gathered we had great time riding. There is of course Andy and I . The main crew are skipper Magnus and partner Laura and yachtmaster instructor Phil who is doubling up as first mate.

Tuesday 21 st.
On Monday we moved from Yendagaia to cta. Olla. There were some interesting experiences involving Claire and how not to manage the anchoring process , steep learning curve when you have a 68 tonne boat with the anchor chain to match!!!!!! Additionally the mud of the bottom of the anchorage was putrid, so flaking the anchor chain back on board involved a necessary mud bath in the stern locker, much to Claire's amusement.
We caught an ice berg yesterday, we had Tom hanging off the back of the sugar scoop ( the lower bit at the back of the boat) there should be some fantastic photo's. We all took great delight in having ice berg ice in our whiskey last night.
We went in to uncharted territory yesterday. No depths or correct contour details of the inlets shown on a chart, so we went on an adventure with the aim of making our own chartlet. A leading party went out in the zodiac taking depth soundings every few yards whilst another was marking the waypoint on the GPS. Others went ashore and did some equivalent mapping of the shore line through surveying by triangulation. There were some hilarious moments of the ministry of funny walks as they were pacing out across the shore line. We safely navigated PA in to the inlet and out again and gained some chart information which we then spent an evening mapping out. Andy and I updated the electronic info , and will continue with the updating of this during the next few days to chart the depths. Tom did the good old fashioned way with pen and paper for the land based work, a very impressive set of results, which he had delight in validating to within the tolerances on a GPS of less than 5m inaccuracy !!!!!

Today we took a short hike to visit a glacier. The ferry tip in the zodiac was an adventure in its own right, the zodiac cutting though the ice to get across the bay. I do not have enough superlatives to describe how beautiful the scenery was. Breathtaking. Unspoilt. We all did the tourist bit and took loads of photographs standing underneath the glaciers and filled water bottles with the icy cold water which we then made tea with back on board.

We then travelled back from Estero Coloane to cta. Olla this evening. The evening has been spent starting the passage planning for the rest of the trip. We leave for Puerto Williams tomorrow, then on Friday head off to the Falklands.

Wednesday 22nd.

Woken at 5:30 by sounds of worried skipper pacing the deck, whilst we couldn't be sure in the pitch black it appeared one of the two stern lines to shore had come adrift, the best dressed crew jumped in the zodiac to investigate whilst those still in various states of undress manned the lines aboard (Wojtek looked particularly fetching in 'Sail Racing' Goretex jacket with red checked pyjama pants). Having visited shore and found no issue with the stern lines the only answer must have been the anchor pulling sideways in the wind, so we pulled in the stern lines and re-anchored, no mean feat in the dark with no moon, despite being slightly disoriented Mag repositioned the yacht mid bay with the zodiac crew (Laura and Andy) re-fixing the shore lines.

After a quick and very welcome brew we went back to bunks for an hour before lifting anchor in the dawn light and heading back to Puerto Williams in some pretty foul weather.

Claire had her first passage (in charge) from Olla back to Puerto Williams. It started as quite an innocent sail but quickly built, as forecast to, 40 knots gusting 50 knots through the channel and a significant following sea. The barometer went ballistic, it started at 977 and ended the day at 99 3. We motored all the way, with various of the crew taking turns on the helm for the experience. We have some fabulous footage of a little 360 degree turn we made to go in to the wind for a short period. Laura is making a video of the trip so went to the bow to take some go-pro footage as we went around, I think she got just a little but wet. Mum, I won't be showing you that video!!!!!! We had a the Chilean Navy pass us in the opposite direction and we received a call on the radio.
As we closed in on Puerto Williams for the evening , we were all looking forward to the fabulous meal Tom and Andy had prepared for both us and friends of the boat in port this evening , however the sea had other plans for us. The sea looked like marble with veins of white horses rippling through , it was so violent we heaved too for a short while, then had to divert to and alternative anchorage for the evening. Oh well... All the lovely food for us and some for the freezer for the passage to Cape Town.

Posted by AndyWi1son 12:02 Archived in Chile Comments (2)

In training

Days 6 to 8, on the dock in Puerto Williams

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Day 6

Finally the time has come to get on the boat!

Thankfully the husband of the lady who runs the hostel (Pablo) is able to run us down to the dock with our 'excess baggage'.

Wow what a vessel Pelagic is, turns out that the full crew for the trip will be just 8, five of us paying amateurs and 3 semi-permanent crew, less than we thought but a great bunch and should make for a nice close team.

Day 7

Up sharpish to go to our class room for a refresher on our yachtmaster skills, then back to the boat to move it out to a buoy as out neighbours are intent on leaving at 4:00am for a trip to a remote trekking destination.

Andy's on duty in the zodiac to pick up mooring lines and pass to the yacht in the middle of a snowstorm.

Day 8

Another day in the classroom but preceded by moving the boat back to the dock (well sort of the dock another story later) in the middle of a blizzard.

The dock is an ex freighter, the Micalvi, which has been sunk to the floor of the inlet and then turned into a yacht club, looks a wreck on the outside but inside the listing hulk is a nice bar, restaurant and showers!

Posted by AndyWi1son 11:30 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

Brushing up on nav' skills

Brushing up on nav skills

Brushing up on nav skills

Posted by AndyWi1son 08:30 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

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