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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Nearly Eden

Caleta Point Lay
A day after the fish boats left Estero Cono, we decided the weather had settled enough for us milder-mannered sailors. As we've gotten used to, the period of fair winds would only last JUST long enough for us to cross Golfo de Penas and arrive at a sheltered anchorage on the other side.

Our welcome back to the open seas was heralded by the immediate return of the five meter southern ocean swell but the fair westerly wind soon had us surging along at seven to eight knots. Soon after leaving shelter, we passed our fishing friends on the 18 meter long "Don Nestor" of Quellon. Most of the time, their boat was hidden behind the waves, occasionally picking itself up to full view on a crest. Their work certainly didn't look easy with all that motion - and we must have been quite a sight for them too.

The timing of our passage to take advantage of the winds led to an arrival in Caleta Ideal in the black of night in the pouring rain just before the wind shifted contrary. I yelled steering instructions from the radar inside to Mary Anne outside until we were in position to let the anchor out.

Caleta Ideal may actually be as ideal a cove as it's name suggests but it's openness led me to hunger for a more confined space in which to weather the next actual storm (as opposed to the equally common simply contrary winds). Caleta Point Lay proved perfect for this: it was more like a tiny alpine pond surrounded closely by mountains rising up forever and bathed in the sounds of all the nearby streams and waterfalls.

But now we have moved on again. Isla Vittorio keeps out the waves but not the howling winds. When you start tugging trees this way and that with your lines, the noise of the wind makes those trees seem suddenly less substantial. Thus I was out this morning adding lines to different trees as a sort of backup. Don't worry ... the new line ties the dinghy to "Traversay" as I head through the gusts to the shore - thus there is no chance of blowing away.

In case all this arrival and departure rope work seems not enough to keep us busy, on the way from Point Lay to Vittorio, our high-output alternator failed. This is similar to an automobile alternator in that it charges the batteries when the engine is running but is about twice as powerful and is more carefully regulated to maximize the life of the large batteries (200 kg - 440 lbs) that power our boat. This was more an inconvenience than a catastrophe as we have a number of different ways of charging the batteries.

Investigation yielded a failed cable terminal that had led to overheating, melted insulation and a minor (but hidden) mess. A few hours with a cable terminal, wire terminals, crimpers and wire of various pretty colors led to it all looking as good as new - and, more importantly, functioning again.

We'd rather be here during the unsettled weather rather than in nearby Puerto Eden. In the little town, we would worry about our anchor dragging in a storm (there is nowhere for us to tie up) and we would have to visit shore and the Armada (navy) offices in our not-extremely-windworthy rubber dinghy. We expect October 17 might dawn quiet enough for us to untie all these shorelines and cover the last fifteen miles into town.

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At 2017-10-14 19:32 (utc) our position was 48°54.17'S 074°21.75'W

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