21 March 2014 | 53 54.7'S:067 45.9'W, Beagle Channel
05 March 2014 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.6'W, Lockroy
04 March 2014 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.6'W, Lockroy
03 March 2014 | 65 06.5'S:064 04.4'W, Pleneau
28 February 2014 | 65 03.9'S:064 01.9'W, Port Charcot
23 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.6'W, Port Lockroy
22 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.6'W, Port Lockroy
20 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.6'W, Port Lockroy
20 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.6'W, Port Lockroy
14 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.3'W, Port Lockroy
12 January 2014 | 64 49.2'S:063 29'W, Port Lockroy
27 December 2013 | 64 49.2'S:063 29'W, Port Lockroy
23 December 2013 | 64 49.2'S:063 29'W, Port Lockroy
20 December 2013 | 64 49.2'S:063 29'W, Port Lockroy
26 November 2013 | 60 15.9'S:065 54.7'W, Drake Passage
23 November 2013 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.6'W, Jougla Point, Port Lockroy
16 November 2013 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.6'W, Jougla Point, Port Lockroy
13 November 2013 | 64 49.4'S:063 29.7'W, In the fast ice, back bay Port Lockroy
11 November 2013 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.8'W, Half a mile from Port Lockroy
07 November 2013 | 64 49.7'S:063 29.8'W, Half a mile from Port Lockroy

Lunch with Condors

19 September 2010 | Puerto Williams, Chile
Chris
The last blog entry was a few days ago when we left you with an image of us moored in Coloane with rain pattering on the deck. This is what has been happening since.

14th September - From Colane to Cinco Estrellas - Luckily the rain of last night did not continue and the morning dawned dry and pleasant. We had breakfast and headed over to see the snout of the glacier, which we had missed out on seeing the previous day due to lack of time. The snout of a glacier is the leading edge and usually has a stream flowing from it. Often there are spectacular ice sculptures to see. This glacier is receding, and seemingly quite slow moving, and is well worn and weathered so the ice shapes are a lot less angular than the more active glaciers. We spent about an hour or two ashore there before heading back to Pelagic.

We got the mooring lines aboard and the anchor up about 11am and motored out into another calm Beagle day! We headed west around Isla Grande (I wonder how many Isla Grandes there are in the world?) and turned north into Canal Barros Marinero. Barros Marinero is a beautiful little passage along the west coast of Isla Gordon which twists and turns it's way past several islets and bays. An extra hazard at this time of year are the crab pots as it is Centolla (Southern king crab) (Lithodes antarcticus) season. At the northern end of Barros Marinero we turned right, into the North Western Arm of the Beagle Channel, and then right again into Bahia Tres Brazos. We moored in a tiny caleta called Cinco Estrellas, because it's a five star anchorage. This tiny cove has a very narrow entrance and maximum depth in the entrance of less than three metres. Pelagic draws three metres with the keel down so we had to lift the keel a metre or so and raise the rudder to enter. Inside the cove there is not enough room to lay out an anchor so we moored with four lines to trees on the shore.

15th September - We were expecting the weather to deteriorate over the day but the morning was fair so we headed up into the hills surrounding the caleta to see what there was to see. Steve took his snowboard, but Julie and I chose to hike. We walked together to the top of the ridge overlooking the cove and admired the view of Bahia Tres Brazos before splitting up, Steve climbed higher in search of some good ski runs, Julie went off with her camera and I headed back to the boat.

Once back at the boat I headed in the dinghy with hand-held GPS and a hand-held depth sounder to make an accurate plan of the approach to Cinco Estrellas. Whilst making my notes I saw some large dolphins that I could not identify but were not the usual Dusky, Peal's or Chilean dolphins that we usually see around here. I also had a close encounter with a giant kingfisher that wasn't at all afraid of me. Julie came back having enjoyed her walk and had spent a lot of time watching a condor waiting for it to fly off. Steve returned to the boat about 5pm having found some ski runs but nothing really good. Julie decided to teach us how to play backgammon before dinner which was an Irish stew that I had started simmering over the Refleks heater on my return from the hike.

16th september - Although there should have been a lot of wind this morning all was quiet in Cinco Estrellas, but when we looked out into the bay we could see that the wind forecast in the GRIBS, and by the barometer, was really out there. We decided to move on anyway but the gusts that were getting into the cove made turning the boat and manoeuvring out into the bay quite tricky. We moved our mooring lines along the sides of the cove, from tree to tree, in stages and used them to control the boat as we slowly backed out. Once out into Tres Brazos we motored all the way to the end of the western arm which opens from a narrow channel into a wider basin with yet more spectacular views of the interior mountains of Isla Gordon and some very promising looking ski areas.

The breeze built as we headed north towards the entrance of Tres Brazos and by the time we had entered the channel it was blowing around 30 knots and occasionally 40 knots where the wind was free to blow out of the entrances to the many fyords the line the north side of the channel here. Mostly is was just breezy but the occasional snow/rain/hail shower had us donning ski goggles so that we could see to steer. We had thought about staying in one of the fyords for the night but decided to sail on to Caleta Olla, a favourite of both cruising yachts and local fishermen.

We sailed fast with just a little yankee for a lot of the time but ended up motoring as the wind became dead astern causing us to have to continuously gybe. The wind was very strong as we turned the corner into Caleta Olla but once inside all seemed relatively tranquil. We laid out plenty of chain and backed the boat as close under the trees as we could and tied a couple of stern lines to a couple of very stout trees. On deck we could hardly feel the breeze but the hum of the rigging and the masthead wind instruments reading 40 plus knots reminded us that we were still in the furious fifties. A local crab fishing boat crew were taking advantage of the sheltered location and the large tides of that day to careen their boat and were just finishing off a coat of new anti-fouling paint.

17th September - Another nice day! We headed off to hike a rocky ridge to the east of glacier Hollandia. The ridge is a favourite hike of mine as the view down over the glacier and its terminal lake, backed by Cerro Francia is stunning. This hike is also a very good place for condor spotting and this day was no exception. We sat on a rock overlooking the glacial lake to eat our lunch and were soon entertained by three condors cruising serenely past to see who had invaded their space. After lunch we climbed down a ravine to the lateral moraine where we were surprised to find a warm sheltered area seemingly with its own micro climate. There was lush vegetation, a lot of small birds and, and evidence of large guanaco population. We hiked along the moraine and then across the area below the moraine where the beavers have created their trademark marsh. We had one close encounter with a guanaco in the forrest on the moraine but these shy, beautiful, animals did a good job of blending into the forrest and remaining unseen by us. 18th September - A small hiccup at the start of the day, when the engine would not develop any power, was traced to an obstruction in a fuel line delayed out departure by an hour or so but we were soon on our way east down the Beagle Channel heading for Bahia Yendegaia and a visit with our friends Jose and Annamie at Caleta Ferrari. We motored slowly down the north coast of the channel and spotted about a dozen guanacos grazing along the beach bank. As we turned into Yendegaia we received a call on the radio from Annemie to let us know that her and Jose were visiting the Carabineros border post at Dos de Mayo where they were having an asado to celebrate the bi- centenary of Chile, and that we were invited to join in the fun. We moored to the buoy at the police post and went ashore to munch on freshly baked empanadas and lamb hot off the asado. We stayed for a couple of hours and then gave Annemie a ride back to their estancia on the boat leaving Jose to ride back with their horses and dogs.

19th September - The last day of this little trip saw us sailing back to Puerto Williams. The day was very pleasant with a nice sailing breeze and until it clouded over a little in the afternoon we were all on deck stripped down to T-shits. All also took advantage of the calm conditions and the motor running to take nice long hot showers. We moored at the Club de Yates Micalvi at about four PM ending a very enjoyable couple of weeks cruising the Beagle channel. We'll definitely be back at this time of year, and now that we have found good places to ski will plan a trip dedicated to visiting those places and staying at each ski location for several days. Let us know if you are interested in a place next year.

20th September - Today we said goodbye to Steve who headed back to Ushuaia on the ferry. The ferry also brought the third member of our crew, Wayne, over from Ushuaia to join us for the a trip to the Falklands and South Georgia. I'll let Wayne write a little introducing himself later - he seems to have succumbed to jet lag and gone off to his bed. We have a few days of work to catch up on here and will leave for Stanley later in the week.
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Vessel Name: Pelagic
Hailing Port: Stanley, Falkland Islands

Port: Stanley, Falkland Islands