Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wet Dwarf Forest

Today’s photo is not from today but from one of our hikes near Caleta Olla, the guanaco was checking us out from the ridge above. Well as we move west in this part of the world we expect it to get wetter and yesterday was certainly wet! Read more ›




Fouque

Saturday morning saw us motoring out of Caleta Olla bound for Estero Fouque; which is a long fjord stretching south from the SW arm of the Beagle Channel deep into Isla Hoste. Read more ›




Rainy Day, Snowy Summit

Wednesday 23rd was rained off. It rained pretty heavily most of the day so we pottered about on the boat, downloaded GPS tracks, sewed holes in gloves, made bread etc.. Marcel from ‘Iorana’ came over and invited us over for an aperitif a p.m. – we had a “few” aperitifs and a very late diner when we got back to ‘Morgane’. Thursday was another wet and windy day but not enough to stop us going for a hike up to the area where some groups put in a high camp for attempts on Mount Italia. The area is near a minor summit at around 1000m that would normally have a great view of the south face of Mt Frances but we couldn’t see much. The rain turned to snow for the last 300m or so of altitude which was nice as at least it was dry. The route took us along the beach on the north side of the Beagle channel, across a small river, then a change out of rubber boots and into hiking boots, through some very thick bush, then along a guanaco path up an old lateral moraine about 300m high at it’s high point, followed but various levels of scrambling up the remainder of the climb. It’s quite incredible to see these old moraines and imagine the valley below full of ice 300m thick! The climb took us about three and a half hours, but that was in fast and light mode, it would take a lot longer with a pack full of camping and climbing kit. After we returned Steve and I went ashore to take an icy wash in one of the streams. We were near a point that has been used for this for thousands of years as there are some middens and signs of a Yamana indian camp site there. I’m not sure what the Yamana, who wore no clothes, would have thought of two very pale bodied men rushing to wash as quickly as possible and to get back into warm clothes on what they probably considered a pleasant summer evening. Last night was windy, as forecast, with 30+ knots in the channel but tucked in under the trees here we only got hit by a few gusts, nothing that even put tension on the mooring lines stretched from the stern of ‘Morgane’ to some stout canelo trees behind the beach. Today, Friday, was a maintenance day for me on the boat – I cleaned out the anchor chain locker while the anchor is down, yuk!!, among other things. Steve and Marcela went for a hike a picked Chaura and Diddle Dee berries and now ‘Morgane’ is home to a production line of jam and cakes, yum! Tomorrow we’ll probably move to Estero Fouque over in the SW arm of the Beagle ready for some exploring in Isla Hoste.




Climbing in rubber boots

Some cooker maintenance was the order of the day first thing this morning. The oven is a bit slow and it was time to investigate, we stripped it down and while Steve cleaned years of gunk off the bottom cover I changed the oven’s thermocouple but all was in vain and the oven is still slow it seems that something in the control valve is sticking and I don’t fancy stripping that and risking totally breaking it; so a slow oven it will be. We can cook bread and pies so we are OK; it just takes almost twice as long as in a normal oven and the bread ends up a little dry and crumbly. After the attempted cooker repairs we hiked up to Simon Yates’ base camp where we stopped for tea and biscuits before continuing up to just below the glacier on Mount Frances. We were just below where most groups put in a high camp on the glacier if they are attempting to climb Frances or Bove so now we know the way. The weather is quite warm, about 15 degrees C during the day at sea level, so there is a lot of melt-water flowing making the river high and the ground very wet under foot. We had to wear our rubber boots to a point well above the base camp. It was a good day for animal spotting; we saw Guanaco, Fox, Beaver and Condors as well as several species of small birds. The beavers have caused a lot of damage in the valley we were in today with two massive dams flooding a large area. One small flock of ‘Thorn-tailed Rayaditos’ were very noisy and seemed particularly happy with a feast of spiders that they had found.




High water

The Customs Incident So a week ago we left Puerto Williams, did all the paperwork, got the ‘Zarpe’ etc., called port control on the way out – and all seemed OK. After about an hour we got a call telling us we had to return to port. We asked why and was told that the boat wasn’t cleared for charter voyages to which we replied that we were not on charter and the trip was private; ‘OK carry on’ we were told. An hour or so later we got another call telling us that we had to stop at the navy post in Puerto Navarino to do some paperwork. Puerto Navarino is about 30 miles up the channel and against the wind and current so it took us about 8 hours to make that distance. On arrival we were told to come ashore with all the boat documents. We were told that the boat had been impounded in 2011 because the Aduana (customs) didn’t have a document showing that the boat had been imported to Chile. The navy officer at the station scanned and emailed the document, that I luckily had with me, to Puerto Williams but as it was Sunday there was nobody in the office in Punta Arenas to look at it. The port captain told us in no uncertain terms that as the boat was under arrest we had to return to Puerto Williams immediately. My response was not tonight old boy, we’ll come in the morning.

Off we went back to the boat for dinner and whilst having dinner got yet another call telling us not to leave in the morning before a launch arrived to escort us back to Puerto Williams. In the morning the launch arrived, late of course as this is South America even if the most efficient country in South America! The launch dutifully followed us down the channel making sure that we didn’t do a runner!

On arrival in Puerto Williams the Port Captain met us telling us that the problem was solved by the document that we had sent and that he was working to get the impoundment lifted. I had to go to the Capitaneria with all my documents which were studied and photocopied and studied some more. I was told to come back the next day at 11 to be given the clearance; I went at 11 to be told come back at 4:30, I went at 4:30 to be told to come back at 6:00. At six the port captain was there and had my file on his desk, one quick phone call an apology for the inconvenience, a handshake and a hug and I was free to go.

Naturally there is no apology from the people who caused the cock-up, the Aduana service, who lost a paper that they had issued and in typical South American fashion managed to make your life a misery while you solve their problem and get their balls out of the vise!

So On With The Sailing

After we got our clearance, refuelled, stocked up on some more fresh veg we left last Wednesday, the 16th, and got as far as Caleta Mejillones before the wind got too strong and we pulled in for a couple of hours before moving on for a couple more hours in the evening to Caleta Martinez (just outside Puerto Navario where we had been Sunday night!). A quiet night and then onwards taking advantage of the shelter provided by the little islands on each side of the north end of the Murray Channel before popping out into a breezy Beagle Channel. We tacked our way across to Bahia Yendegaia experimenting with a few sail settings as we went, until the wind got up the 35knots when we just got into the shelter of the bay as quickly as we could – not very quickly.

We went ashore to say hello to our friends Jose and Anamie who live at an estancia in Caleta Ferrari, went on a mushroom hunt, and had a quiet night on anchor.

In the morning we went off to look for Jose’s longline that had drifted away but didn’t find it and as the channel was quiet decided to carry on west to Caleta Olla – that was Saturday. In the evening we had a mini asado on the beach with our good friend Marcel who is here with his boat ‘Iorana’ supporting Simon Yates and a climbing expedition ( remember the movie ‘Touching the Void’ – that Simon Yates ). We gathered sardines from the beach and cooked them eating them with delicious bread baked by Petra from ‘Simon le Dancer’.

Yesterday (Sunday) we went off for a long hike up to a mountain pass on the east side of Glaciar Holandia looking for an alternative route to Mount Bove than the one normally used but found our way blocked by a heavily crevassed glacier and a cliff of very nasty loose rock. we were looking into the valley where the Tierra del Fuego part of the ‘Art of flight’ snowboard movie was filmed. That turned out to a solid 10 hour day of tough walking/climbing/kicking snow steps etc.. Today Steve and Marcela went to look for another route but we thwarted by a river in flood due to the hot weather causing a lot glacier melt-water to flow. I have been doing some chores on the boat and baking bread.




Caleta Ferrari

More on the whole story with the customs later. But we left Puerto Williams on Thursday and anchored for the night in Caleta Martinez near Puerto Navarino. Yesterday we had a nice little explore through the small islands on each side of the north end of Canal Murray before a bouncy beat up to Yendegaia in 30+ knots. Today we are going to look for long-line belonging to the local estancia that drifted away and then we’ll try to move to Caleta Olla later in the day.




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