Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Puerto Williams, 15th of January 2019

Puerto Williams
Club Naval de Yates Micalvi

Farewell Patagonia!

On the 2nd of January, after 54 days of sailing in Chilean Patagonia we finally arrived in Puerto Williams. Of the total of 52 nights we spent at anchor, we shared the anchorage only twice with another boat - a local fishing vessel. And during all this time, we saw only three other sailing boats in the canals. 

For weeks on end, whenever the daily showers allowed, we saw nothing but snow-capped peaks of the Andes, the sea, and the sky but not a trace of animal life on the shores or the mountainsides. Although the landscape surrounding us was absolutely magnificent, within a few weeks it began to lose some of its charm, and after about two months we had become almost indifferent to its splendour. 

While crossing Golfo de Penas, we learned that our radar was not functioning. Pekka had installed a new magnetron in the radar while we were still in Puerto Montt but apparently, the radar belonged to the cluster of devises that had, for some reason or other, decided to malfunction after our departure from Puerto Montt.

Because there is no technical assistance available in Puerto Williams we had to sail to Ushuaia on the Argentinian side of Canal Beagle to get the radar repaired. Our dinghy, the better and at the moment our only one, had started to leak, and it too had to be fixed.

We had been fortunate enough to meet four Argentinian sailors in Puerto Williams who in addition to inviting us to a wonderful lunch at Micalvi Club House also provided us with the contact information of Roxana, an efficient lady whom we met at Club Nautico AFASyN in Ushuaia. 

Upon our arrival, she immediately contacted Gustavo, a radar specialist who managed to “repair” our Furuno. It turned out that Furuno Finland had sold us a completely wrong magnetron that was meant for a much bigger radar. We had bought it in 2013 as a spare before we had set sail for the North-East Passage. Thank God we did not have any problems with our radar while traversing the icy passage!

We returned from Ushuaia to Puerto Williams last Saturday, and yesterday got our last zarpe from Armada de Chile. While waiting for our next blog update, which may take quite some time, remember to keep your fingers crossed and/or thumbs up (the Finnish way of wishing good luck!) as we are now all set for a bit more adventurous leg i.e. from Cape Horn to Falkland Islands - via Antarctica! 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales, 19th - 23rd of December

A Visit to Remember!

As you may remember we were supposed to be in Puerto Williams by Christmas and, therefore, we didn’t very much like the idea of having to go to Puerto Natales as this meant lots of extra miles and several wasted days for the sake of mere bureaucracy. But, in the end, the visit turned out to be the absolute highlight of our journey in Chile so far!

We rented a car for two days and on our first day drove to Argentina and back in order to get our 90-day permits for Chile renewed. Because the border is more or less an hour’s drive away from the town we were ready and more than willing to use the rest of the day wildlife watching. 

We had learned from our sailing friends in Puerto Montt that there is Torres del Paine National Park north of Puerto Natales teeming with the Chilean wildlife that had eluded us thus far.

The majestic mountainous landscape that characterises the National Park is the product of a series of erosive processes and geological formations that took place approximately 12 million years ago. In 1978, UNESCO declared the Park Biosphere Reserve to be included in the territories that represent the world’s most unique ecosystems.

The Park comprises more than 220,000 hectares of magnificent mountains, sparkling blue lakes and rivers, turquoise glaciers, and an abundance of animals we would never have been able to see had we sailed straight to Puerto Williams as originally planned. 

We fell in love with the breathtaking landscape and the exotic animals that inhabit it, and to make the most of our short visit the following morning we packed up a picnic and spent the whole gorgeous day in the park. We were like Alices in Wonderland as we watched in awe guanacos and nandus grazing in the meadows and condors gliding in the sky. 

Although we had decided not to celebrate Christmas at all this year, Puerto Natales, where we so reluctantly had gone in the first place, gave us the most wonderful Christmas present imaginable!