26 April 2023
We were chatting to one of our long term cruising buddies recently. We first met them in the Canaries and if we hadn't been calendar challenged we might have headed off into the wide Pacific together.
"So what are you going to do now?" asked Julian from his respite home in London; the boat patiently awaiting their return in Brisbane. (Hell, isn't it?).
"Big problem" I said. "We really don't know". And that's been haunting us for six months now since we "tied the knot" in Grenada. The conclusion of our meanderings around the world last November has led to an utterly excessive amount of dithering, procrastinating, pointless passage planning to places we'll never go accompanied by much equally useless Internet research.
One place we'll never go is Patagonia which is unfortunate as it's been a dream and an itch for many years. However, as you may have read, the evenings here are long and dark and I must confess I've spent a bit too long scratching that itch.
One evening during a particularly intensive period of research on YouTube, watching a video entitled, "Sail Through Patagonia" I spotted a photo of the couple's boat, anchored safely in a Caleta somewhere in the Beagle Channel, another sailboat rafted alongside. Now, as most sailors will know, to get down to these latitudes, (or is it up?) you need a long keel, heavy displacement, strong and sturdy, sea kindly yacht - like an Island Packet perhaps. Now, since that boat has sailed and we're on almost the exact opposite type of boat, I'd largely shelved ideas of Patagonia. Bill and Laurie went to Portugal.
However, it's a plan we always talked about and in fact, once courted seriously, well, for a few hours anyway, about eight or nine years ago. Back then we even got as far as an outline planning meeting with cruising buddies on Toodle-oo. After this meeting, or, as it turned out later, just an excuse for a nice meal out, we went back to the boat where, enthused by the idea, I looked out an old documentary about life in the Beagle Channel. The opening shot was of three crusty old fishermen huddled in their cabin while outside the windows hail and snow was going past, horizontally at seventy miles an hour......... and it was the height of summer. Just about then, the grand plan was quickly shelved and we got back on our Trade Wind track.
However, that itch has never gone away and now we're a tad older, searching for the answer to "what next?" and as it's also getting to the point of, "if we don't do it now...." I do occasionally find my self frittering away an evening looking at those who have frozen before, all of which led to me looking again at the Sail Through Patagonia video and the picture of their boat in the caleta.
What caught my eye was not just that they were on a sturdy, high latitudes boat but that tied to them was.......of all things in Patagonian waters, a cruising catamaran.
Donning my sleuth hat, over the next couple of weeks I got in contact with the YouTube couple and they in turn put me in touch with the owners of the cat tied alongside them in that Caleta.
The boat is Rum Doxy and was saved from the scrap heap in a Thai boatyard where the owners spent five years rebuilding her. From Thailand they headed north and east to Alaska then back south into the fjords and freezing wastes of Patagonia.
"Well", I'm thinking, "if they can do it, so can we.".........right up until I saw a picture of their cabin thermometer reading 04c. Our fridge is warmer than that.
An hour ago, sitting at anchor off White Bay in the BVI, waiting on a decent breeze to get us to the Bahamas, we had to abandon our lounging on the foredeck as it was getting a bit chilly!
Patagonia? In your dreams!
Good night all.