26 January 2012
Some days have gotten away from my writing of them, so looking back I'd like to share some of our sailing highlights that haven't been written about to date. Sven joined us again in Puerto Quell┬--n, a busy fishing port where bold and cheerful painted fishing boats fill the harbor moored two or more side by side. Sven and I provision in town while Jeff stays on Hekla to safeguard her. Quell┬--n having an edgy feel and a reputation. Sven buys 15 kilos of clams off the wharf from fishermen just returning from the night's harvesting. He paid 2000 pesos, the equivalent of 4 dollars. After a noisy and bit rough night on anchor with all the boat traffic throwing swells, we cross the Gulfo De Corovado in three hours. For me it was a bit long and rough, but not that long nor that rough. Our destination was Bah┬'a Tictoc, where we stayed the first night in Puerto Escondido, a twin to one of our favorite places, Est┬┤ro Quintupeu. There we ate clams steamed in white wine sitting on the back deck for the first time ever. The evening was balmy, sea lions cavorted and snorted, we shucked and kerplunked emplty clam shells overboard, and dolphins graced us with their presence. A sunset lingered long light. This is the life or as Sven says, "Esta es vida". And this is the place! The second night in Tictoc, which means zig zag down here, we moved to Puerto Juan Yates. It was just a short hop skip and sail with dolphins from the beautiful paradise of Puerto Escondido, and it too was incredible. Several small islands dotted the waterscape. All of them wearing rings of shiny gold at their rocky feet just where the turquoise water could bathe them. Most of the islands sported cloaks of greenery, but some only had mossy hats. Others painted themselves in orange and black lichens and penguins. One islet looked like a giant cupcake with forest frosting. Except for the cold water one might believe you were in the tropics. We busied ourselves anchoring next to a boat sized isle, and finished, looked up to see several of its verdant brothers framing a National Geographic view of distant white topped mountains. I can't believe that each place we visit keeps getting more and more beautiful. Jeff and I kayak between and around isle after isle. We see; a purplish red octopus with a head the size of a softball, a starfish of the same color, black sea urchins, sea snails, a snowy white egret, a turkey vulture, cormorants, and lots of penguins both in the water and on the land. That evening, after another steamed clam dinner, we hear what sounds like a lonely, very lonely sea lion cub crying mournfully. It's an odd sound, a combination between a sqwack and a honk or as Jeff says, "half between five honks and a whale". Then we hear more of them. Some are close and some are far. Are they injured animals? Are they some kind of bird we haven't encountered yet? Remember how loud the Bandurrias, the black faced ibises of Valdivia, were? We go to sleep without knowing, their lonesome cry resounding in our dreams. There are still more islands to explore, so the next day Jeff and I pedal some more. We see a group of five penguins on a rock outcropping. We pedal up as quietly as we can. We get pretty close, but they get nervous and waddle shuffle wobble in their ungraceful yet fascinatingly penguin style to the waters edge. A moments hesitation then, swoosh without a splash, they are into the environment where they are graceful as ballerinas. Two waddle out of the forests edge and eye us suspiciously. I'm surprised by their affinity for trees. "I thought penguins only lived in the sea and on rocky shores"?, I say to Jeff. We pedal on, while I'm pondering this. We hear the lonesome sea lion cry now and then. Jeff thinks it must be some kind of bird. This sounds reasonable as its coming from the trees. We round a isle point and see another group of penguins, seven. These are the extraverted cousins of the others. They are not shy and they allow us to pedal up very close. I'm so excit ed. The one closest to us throws back his head, stretches his neck up, pushes his tiny wings back, opens his beak, and lets out the lonesome call again and again. In the distance another penguin answered. Mesmerized, time stood still for me. I am sailing for these kinds of experiences, and I am so grateful to Jeff for making this happen and to the Creator too! This was definitely a highlight moment for us.