Thursday, 2 November 2017

Puerto Profundo

the fishermen visit
When we planned this two-year voyage, due to various seasonal and time constraints, we realized we would have to forego some of our favorite spots on the Beagle Channel at the very bottom of the continent. Magellan Strait would be the furthest south we could reach in the time available.

Puerto Profundo is a relatively large and deep area of sheltered water situated where Canal Smyth at the southern end of Chile's "inside passage" joins Magellan Strait. The word "puerto" does not signify any sort of town or village - no one lives here at all - but only that vessels of various sizes might find shelter.

The center of Puerto Profundo is suitable for moderate size ships to anchor but is too open and deep for small vessels like ours. Nonetheless, the maze of waterways that constitute the puerto offer numerous little nooks and crannies where a sailing yacht can hide amongst the trees protected from all manner of nasty weather.

As a turn-around point, there is enough amusement here to last us at least a week and Puerto Natales, the nearest town, will provide refueling and provisioning for the return north a few easy travel days away. When we get there it will have been over two months since our last supermarket visit!

Mary Anne has described the phenomenal diving here (and will do so again) in the clear cold water. We have also wandered around the various channels and tidal lagoons in the dinghy. It is all outrageously scenic! We see a high icecap crowning the mountains in the distance to the east. Unlike further north - though not as much as further south - the bush along the shore thins enough in places to allow access over the sponge-like moss to higher ground where the views are more open. We have seen dolphins and steamer ducks (flightless) in the lagoons and large salt-water otters (Chungungo) on the shore.

A small fishing boat from Puerto Natales visited Puerto Profundo a few days ago to harvest Centolla, a tasty Chilean crab, from their traps. She came alongside us and we traded with the three fishermen aboard. One of Mary Anne's freshly baked cakes along with a bottle of wine netted us a few recently caught Centolla.

Yesterday, our instruments indicated a sailing yacht anchored in Caleta Teokita, one of Puerto Profundo's more distant coves. I visited by dinghy and met the Chilean owner from Santiago traveling with a number of his friends. The south of his country had so enchanted him on a previous visit with his wife and family that he decided to visit again in a summer trip from his boat's home port in Valparaiso to the Cape Horn area and back. It still being late spring, they were on their way southbound.

It amazes me that after weeks of rain and wind, our stay here in Puerto Profundo is blessed with unusual calms and abundant sunshine. We will continue to enjoy the memory of this place as we fight the contrary winds and currents on our way back north.

At 2017-10-31 12:41 (utc) our position was 52°40.45'S 073°45.74'W

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