Sailing in Patagonia
Puerto Natales to Puerto Williams
On this trip we will be sailing the southernmost fjords of the South American continent. The waters where Magellan (1520) and Shouten (1616) struggled to find their way into the Pacific. We are sailing in their wake, getting into many small anchorages and hiding out in too bad weather. Sailing east we will have the westerlies pushing us along nicely. Whereas they struggled in their square riggers against currents and winds. If you see a picture of the wind worn trees of Tierra del Fuego you will understand why it took forever to sail westward. “Jonathan” with his powerful sails and engine can make good progress under the same conditions that stopped them dead in their tracks.
We will probably sail 600 nm or more by day sailing most of the route. Whereas as the crow flies, it would not be more than 259 nm. North of the Beagle Channel we see the Darwin Cordillera, a spectacular mountain range broken up by great glaciers running all the way down to sea level. To the south the landscape is a bit lower with less vegetation, maybe it just blows too hard here but for only the hardiest trees to grow. We will sail into Seno Pia crossing a shallow bar and dodge some chunks of glacier ice to get close to the glacier front that runs down from a height of 2438 meters. On an earlier visit the water was as flat as a mirror making it a mystical experience to see the glacier reflected in the frigid water.
For birders this must be heaven on earth since there are many birds here that one cannot find anywhere else on earth. (See the Totorore Voyage by Gerry Clark). It is also mentioned in “Tierra del Fuego & Patagonia”, the sailor’s bible by Mariolina Rolfo and Giorgio Ardrizzi an Italian couple that cruised these wonderful waters for 7 years. Caleta Olla is a well protected anchorage with good hiking to the glacier front of Ventisquero Holanda . We saw Guanaco’s and Sea Lions on our visit here in 2014. Yendegaia is the site of an old abandoned cattle farm much like the gaucho’s used to run. On the southern shore of the Beagle there is a cattle farm still in operation.
Slowly making our way east again and depending on the season we can see different seals and maybe beavers when hiking, with some luck the blue eyed shag (cormorant), the Magallanes and maybe even Gentoo penguins. Just to name a few so bring plenty of memory cards for you pics. We will end the trip in Puerto Williams at the Micalvi Yachtclub. We will celebrate with a Pisco Sour. On our Beagle trips we take time to have a pretty relaxed schedule. You will not find a fixed itinerary here for we like to be flexible and adjust to the weather and a pace that fits our crew.