17 December 2011
We sailed with the strong southerlies downwind wing and wing from Bahia Pumalin. Just when I was beginning to think how lovely wing and wing sailing is a bit of seasickness returned, well I think it was that and not that the anchor hatch lid, in a gust of wind, decided my head was too round. Yes, I had forgotten to secure the tether that Jeff has put on all the hatch lids, so I learned that lesson the hard way, the really hard on the head way. In fact there are many lessons that I have learned the hard way so far. For instance, ginger molds when stored in an air tight container. Or salads tend to fly off plates when served for lunch during sails when it is necessary forJeff to eat outside in the forward cockpit. Or how about always having "a hand for the boat and one for yourself" as Jeff likes to say whenever I have just stumbled and tripped. Or my lesson on how carefully one needs to walk on slippery alge covered rocks while wearing white rubber fishing boots? That little lesson left me with bruises and scrapes down the left side of my body. In fact I am covered with bruises, bumps and sores. Sailing is hard on the body, mine and Hekla's.
We hit an uncharted rock while attempting to motor a tricky narrow passage into the lagoon at the end of Estéro Pellú. Hekla has a scrape on her starboard rudder and a few dings in her prop, but luckily that is the extent of the damage. We anchored in a well charted area then kayaked back at low tide. Yep, we saw a big pointy rock with a scrape on it. Uncovered and clearly visible at low tide. How we didn't hit more of it when we backed down and turned around is a wonder. After returning to our safely anchored Hekla, and after Jeff donned wetsuit and dived in the cold water to check her out, he asked me to be Hekla's guardian. I accepted this request, and like a mother polar bear protecting her cubs, Hekla is my baby now.
We arrived once again in our paradise found, Estéro Quintupeu only to find that others had found it too. A large steel three story yacht and a smallish wooden ketch shared our favorite spot. The yacht left the next day and the ketch stayed on. We dinghied over to say hello and to invite them to see Hekla, our new baby. The lovely chaps that they are, they invited us over for a pre dinner drink. Our neighbors, British cruisers, Vicki and Roger, told us that " every sailor in Chile hits a rock and you aren't considered a real Patagonian sailor until you have hit one." They claimed to have hit several. So I guess we are real now, but what I learned is that Jeff likes to challenge and test limits. He is safe about this, meaning we were in no danger of bodily harm. We were motoring very slowly, he had the sonar going which didn't discern the rock, by the way, and I was on the bow looking into the water, and I didn't see the rock either. But the lesson for me is that he needs me to tell him when his idea is too risky or foolish, or could cause potential damage to Hekla. We had a discussion with Vicki and Roger about most men's desires to challenge themselves and see what they and their boat can do while most women are, well "sensible" was the word Vicki supplied. An apt one I agreed, but sometimes I think we women just get tired of cleaning up messes. And we know life is likely to give us plenty of challenges without seeking them out.
For instance I learned the following important lesson the hard way; one must ALWAYS close the toilet lid BEFORE pumping the handle. Women are likely to be pumping the toilet much more than men, especially since men have a built in advantage to standing near the side of a boat while giving a little water back to the sea. So for the hundredth time that day it seemed like to me, I was leaning down over the toilet, grabbing the pump handle, and pumping vigorously. For the hundredth time that day, I had NOT closed the lid, however, and there was a sudden loud fast expulsion from the bowl and a direct hit to my astonished face. I will leave to your imaginations the contents of said bowl. I found myself cleaning up another mess and imprinting on my brain the hard fast no exceptions rule of "ALWAYS close the toilet lid before pumping, but NOT before sitting down."