A Boat Too Far

In 2005 we bought a 46' catamaran in Thailand as a wreck. We removed the cabin, bridgedeck, main crossbeam and all the bulkheads then completely redisigned and rebuilt her in Phuket over the course of 5 years. It seemed like a good idea at the time..

19 January 2020
16 December 2019
05 December 2019
24 November 2019
19 November 2019
16 November 2019
10 November 2019
07 November 2019
06 November 2019
03 November 2019
30 October 2019
26 October 2019
24 October 2019
18 October 2019 | Puerto Aguirre
13 October 2019 | Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda
11 October 2019 | Puerto Quellon
02 October 2019 | Valdivia, Chile
19 April 2019


19 January 2020
The town of Ushuaia prides itself on being "El Fin del Mundo" or "The End of the World", and, like the rest of the country, is adamant that the Maldives (Falkland Islands) belong to Argentina, with posters and monuments everywhere so you don't forget!
We've been here for over a week now preparing the boat for the long return back up the Channels to Valdivia. Mostly that consists of filling every inch of the pantry and freezer with food to last 3 months, including 150 greased eggs, boat repairs and maintenance, deep laundry, and of course brewing another batch of IPA. We did got out of town once for a beautiful hike and hope to have another day in nature tomorrow when we plan on renting a car and doing a little sight seeing, weather permitting....
The pier where we are docked is located right in the middle of town which is conveniently located for everything we need, but timing is everything. First because of siesta which closes all retail shops from 12-5pm and second there is the crazy weather. You can wake up in the morning and it's raining and blowing 30+ knots outside(not very conducive to getting things done around town on foot) and you can be fairly certain that by siesta it will clear. Another thing that has taken some getting used to is the total absence of stop signs in this city of 100,000. throughout Latin america stop signs are viewed as more of of a suggestion than an imperative, as in "we suggest you stop if it is convenient". In Ushuaia, on the other hand, they have given up on them entirely and you are on you own at every intersection. On the bright side the 360* view from the boat is both unique and dramatic with snow capped pinnacles right behind the city, and outlining the shores of the Beagle Canal from East to West.
As I write this I see 40* knots on the anemometer, rain is pelting down and a lone tourist is bracing himself on the dock so as not to get blown off his feet. Looking across the channel the sun is illuminating a spot of fresh snow on the hills while bulky white and black clouds race over the tops, covering it all up in an instant.
In essence our journey north has begun like a heard of startled turtles. We begin by waiting for weather to sail back over to Puerto Williams, Chile in order to check in, and from then on it's "hurry up and wait!" ticking off the miles as we slowly sail back north to where we began in October.

Puerto Williams

16 December 2019
Mike Reed
We have arrived in Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world and our turning around point. The town is mostly an Armada outpost with a few shops. We are moored at the Club Yates Micalvi, which consists of a retired Chilean Navy vessel, the Micalvi, which was scuttled in a small estuary and turned into a place for passing cruising boats to gather. While, until recently, there was a bar, laundry and showers, the local administration has pretty much lost interest in the place and it is now just a place to tie up. Boats simply tie alongside the Micalvi and, since space is limited, raft together up to 8 or 9 deep in 3 rows with lines running to the opposite shore to keep the whole mess from shifting in the wind that blows down the estuary.

Having not seen another sailboat since leaving Valdivia over 2 months ago it is a bit of a change for us. There are about 22 boats here with some arriving and some leaving every day. This is the season for trips to Antarctica and it seems like most of the crews we have met are planning on heading down there in the next couple weeks. That trip is beyond our pay grade, though, as ice makes us nervous and we are already as cold as we want to be. The boats here run the gamut from 25' budget cruisers to 65' luxury charters. There are a lot of Chilean boats and Europeans, mostly German and French, but we were surprised to find the majority were American. We ran into some friends from Valdivia and even one who we met in Thailand years ago. Talking with the crews it always amazes us how often we know the same people, often from the other side of the world, a reminder of what a small world the cruising community is.

Yesterday we hiked to the top of a hill, 2000' above the Canal Beagle, with views up and down the channel and of the mountains of Tierra del Fuego and Isla Navarino. It was hard to believe that just over the ridge was Cape Horn, and beyond that, Antarctica, but then the sun would go behind a cloud and a gust of wind would hit and suddenly it was easy. As we approach the summer solstice the weather hasn't gotten any better, but the long days are a bit of compensation. We don't know what time sunrise and sunset are as we haven't seen either for a couple of months, but there is still a little light at midnight and first light is around 3:00 am.

Southern Patagonia pictures have been added to the Gallery. To find them go to the top of the home page on the blue bar highlight Gallery.

Paradise ?

05 December 2019
Yes we are in another really cool little hidy hole, with glaciers, snow capped mountains and waterfalls but it's not always paradise. Right now we are riding out 45 knot williwaws, strong enough to kick up clouds of spray from the bay around us and to vaporize the smaller waterfalls tumbling down the granite walls, leaving them momentarily dry until the wind dies and they fill in again. Rum Doxy meanwhile bucking and straining on the reins that bind her safely to the trees, while hail beats on the cabin top like shattering safety glass.
But, in between the extreme weather, we go on an expedition. We put on all our warm cloths and then our “dry suits”, launch the kayak, peddle across the bay in a freezing rain and climb to the top of a moss soaked ridge. From the top of the ridge we can see across the channel to the peaks and glaciers on Isla Gordon. Then turning to the right we see the glacier that lies directly in front of Rum Doxy where we live, a huge expanse of thick blue ice from which waterfalls slide down the granite face. Continuing around we see another, larger cascading glacier stepping it's way down to a gravelly moraine which is surrounded by low lying granite domes covered with orange and green moss. Then to our immediate right is a third, impossibly steep, free falling glacier, ending in its own lake. We suddenly hear a deep rumble and watch as an avalanche of ice falls to the lake below. From the lake a river runs to the salt water bay, but not before the beavers dam it up causing the marshy death of the forest that was there before the beavers were introduced. Architecturally crafted wood stick dams creating black water ponds, each with a mounded mud hut off to the side. A Watership Down.

Seno Pia, Canal Beagle, Tierra del Fuego

29 November 2019
I'm sitting in my bean bag chair, looking forward through our picture windows, gazing up on a frozen river cascading down from the bellies of majestic spires covered in ice. Mike is sitting in his bean bag watching the Lord of the rings as if he were actually in Middle Earth, and I wonder how to describe what it's like to live on a sailboat anchored in front of a glacier, here in the Beagle Canal, Chile. The magnitude of this raw, pristine wilderness is all consuming and a reminder of the powers of nature and our place in it. We are here to observe and experience with all our senses at all times. It is exactly the things that make being here hard that make this place so irresistible and rewarding. A harsh climate, isolation and natural wonders beyond imagination. Living a dream and left completely to you own devices. Photos cannot relay the energy that is so heightened while sailing on the Avenue of Glaciers.

(The weather sucks, but it's really pretty. Mike)

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Caleta Brecknock

24 November 2019
We have just spent 3 days tied up in Caleta Brecknock on the far Western tip of Tierra del Fuego. This is a small bay surrounded by 2000 foot granite domes that have been scoured smooth by ice and wind, and dotted with lakes, tarns and waterfalls. There are stunted trees growing in the crevices but wherever a leaf or twig pokes up from the protection of the rock it is sheared off by the wind. There are a few that try to make a go of it in the open, but they are blown along the ground so that a tree may be 12 feet long but never gain a height of over 6 inches, and ending in a tuft of tiny leaves.

We did have a little excitement when a storm passed close by, bringing gusts of over 30 knots into our anchorage. This is normally no concern, but when your stern is only feet from the rocks it adds interest. In addition to our anchor we had half a dozen lines tied to the shore so we did not budge, but we were happy enough when the wind switched and we could get back to napping. On the bright side, the wind brought dry weather and we were able to air out a bit and trim some of the mold growing in the cabin.

Bahia Fortescue

19 November 2019
We are anchored here in Caleta Gallant, in the Straights of Magellan, 28 miles from the most southern point of the continental America’s. But, looking around, surrounded by alpine peaks covered in snow, we could easily be anchored in Lake Geneva. As we sail down this infamous straight, whether to port or to starboard, whenever there is a break in the clouds you can see ice fields and glaciers.
Since we left Valdivia 6 weeks ago our passage down has been fast and (relatively) easy. The reasons being we've had the wind and current behind us, like a magic carpet, the whole way down. The prevailing winds and current come from the North and West, and since we are traveling Southeast, we've been enjoying this free ride, but emotionally and strategically we are preparing ourselves for the dreaded slog back up against all these obstacles.
You can’t help thinking about the first circumnavigators and imagining how in the heck they even made it through here? For one reason every island, canal and mountain is named after these explorers and their surviving crew. Also, to think a little less than 500 hundred years ago when they began their first attempts at navigating through here, they didn't have charts, gps, motors, weather reports, warm clothing, food, radio, heaters.....sailors chose a life at sea because conditions were worse at home. How they must have suffered!
Which, again, makes me a princess. Not only do I have the luxury of all the things mentioned above, but every night I sit at the best table in the restaurant, with a spectacular view that rotates for my pleasure, eating fresh and delicious food, then crawl under my heated (hot water bottles are awesome!) flannel sheets and down comforter and sleep like a rock!
Vessel Name: Rum Doxy
Vessel Make/Model: 46' Custom Catamaran
Hailing Port: Santa Barbara, California
Crew: Mike Reed, Annette Reed
Extra: A "rum doxy" is 18th century pirate-speak for a woman of remarkable character and ambiguous virtue
Rum Doxy 's Photos - Alaska
Photos 1 to 97 of 97 | Main
We stopped at Afognak Is. on our way to Prince William Sound. There were several grizzlies on the beach eating dead salmon, including this sow and her 2 cubs. We got in the kayak for a closer look and were able to get within 50 feet or so until we remembered that bears are good swimmers.
Tiger glacier in PWS.
And the nearby Chenega Glacier.
Annette enjoying the view from her chair.
The touchscreen on our plotter won
Clearing skies at 7 Fathom Hole in PWS.
Annette empties a clip into an undeserving clump of seaweed.
Annette with her salmon.
Negotiating the entrance to Disk Is. An 80
At anchor at Disk Is.
Disk Is. With the peaks of Knight Is. in the background.
Anywhere, SE Alaska.
The Chugatch Mountains from Heather Bay in PWS.
Annette finds a way to keep her hands warm and dry while pulling anchor.
Heather Bay.
Chugatch mountains from Heather Bay.
Picking blueberries at Disk Is.
Port Etches, where we sat out a front with 50 knot gusts and rain for 3 days waiting to make a break for Icy bay. We watched a young grizzly fishing in the stream here.
The weather finally clears at Port Etches and we leave PWS for Icy Bay.
A relatively uneventful 2 days to Icy Bay and we find ourselves at anchor with the 18,000 foot Mt. Saint Elias as a backdrop. The whole Saint Elias and Fairweather ranges that line the seacoast between PWS and Southeast Alaska are all the more impressive as they rise to heights of 15,000 to nearly 20,000 feet right off the beach.
Ice in Icy Bay.
The Guyot Glacier and berg in Icy Bay. We were only able to approach within about 6 miles of the glacier due to all the ice in the bay.
Bigger than Yosemite Falls, fed by the giant glacier just peeking over the ridge and it doesn
We left Icy Bay and headed down the coast to Yakutat Bay, home of the Hubbard Glacier. At 6 miles across where it reaches the ocean, the largest tidal glacier in the world.
The left half of the Hubbard Glacier. Once again we were prevented from getting closer by the ice pack in the bay, but still spectacular, even from a distance.
Motoring down the coast from Yakutat towards the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay we were treated to a whale show with the Fairweather Mountains as backdrop.
Heading down the coast from Icy Bay to Yakutat with the Saint Elias Range as a backdrop.
The Fairweathers.
La Perouse Glacier as it comes out the mountains into the ocean.
Just north of Cape Spencer and the Inside Passage.
Graves Cove, just outside Cape Spencer.
A black bear at Graves Cove.
Moonrise at Inian Island, just outside Glacier Bay.
Young bull moose in Glacier Bay. We were in Glacier Bay for a week and it rained every day so we didn
At anchor in Reed
Off to explore the Glacier.
The things you see on the beach when you
Into the belly of the beast.
Annette samples a stranded bergy bit. We brought a couple pieces back to the boat for margaritas.
Annette conquers the glacier.
One way of thawing feet was to roast them on the stove. Not only did it warm your feet but added a delicate scent to the cabin
Red Squirrel ready to pounce.
We kept our eyes peeled on these rocky slopes for mountain goats.
We are never far from a sea otter.
The Lamplugh Glacier.
Like motoring through a "slushie".
Tufted Puffins.
Leaving Glacier Bay we rounded the tip of Point Retreat and it
We stopped in Auke Bay, just North of Juneau, and rode our bikes to the Mendenhall Glacier. Here is the view from the bike path looking at the glacier over a field of fireweed gone to seed.
Mendenhall River.
Falls next to the Glacier.
The view from the visitor center.
And from the beach.
As we were walking on the beach we heard an explosion and looked over in time to watch this iceberg break in half and roll over.
Leaving Auke Bay.
Looking up Taku Arm just south of Juneau.
Taku Harbor, south of Juneau. There was a tree growing from the top of each one of these pilings. Later in the evening we watched a black bear sow and her 3 cubs fishing in the stream.
A highlight of the trip was a visit to Tracy Arm and the North and South Sawyer Glaciers at the head. Here we are heading up the arm.
North Sawyer Glacier. This was the only Glacier we encountered whose ice discharge was such that we could weave our way through it and sneak up next to the glacier.
We got as close as we dared but the ice face was over 100
South Sawyer Glacier. This is a very active galcier with peals of thunder coming from the ice every few minutes.
Icy Falls.
We were constantly surrounded by polished granite domes, waterfalls, hanging glaciers and jagged peaks.
North Sawyer.