Sailing in the glaciers: Space Oddity’s first journey

After so much time in Williams, and after much work on Space Oddity, we started the year by taking the boat on what was (for us) her first long sailing journey. The famous Canal Beagle or Beagle Channel cuts through Patagonia slightly above South America’s most southern cape (the Horn of course). In fact it consists of two forking channels which have a landmass of reasonable size, Isla Gordon, in the middle. In the course of a month we ascended one arm and descended the other arm and went round Isla Gordon in this way.

Chart of Canal Beagle
Credits for this useful illustration to the Chilean navy actually, as it’s the permission they issued us for the journey
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Orcas and whales

Last Monday (9th of March) Puerto Williams had a dramatic day, by the standards of this little isolated city: a number of orcas chased two whales onto the shores, and went on to kill them eventually. Orcas are seen in the area rather occasionally, and while whales are common in the channels of Chile, they don’t often enter the bay. They tend also not to be sei whales as these ones were, being the smaller humpbacks normally.

Head sei whale
The calf whale

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Bible boat: Chilean-built tall ship Victory

Wreck of Williams

Bow of Chilean-built wooden boat Victory

Tied to the Ponton Micalvi, the stranded naval vessel that acts as dock in Puerto Williams, are boats of two varieties, all moored onto one another in rows with the last to arrive outside. There are the charterers, with their trips in the summer to Cape Horn or to Antarctica, and there are the cruisers, stopping for a few months at the tip of South America before they turn north from here. But one yacht’s never left Micalvi in the years we’ve known the place, innermost boat in the innermost row throughout that time, next to Micalvi with six visitors outside. An enormous wooden schooner with the paint lost from her planks long before, adding to her folkloric appearance. To port, the name on the bow was now incomplete. The starboard bow read ‘Victory’.

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