Progress Report #6
When he phoned me yesterday Howard was about to eat a hot breakfast of the grains and nuts that constitute the main ingredients of a Japanese style of cooking that is known as “Tubu Tubu” It’s a high protein food that is ideal for extended physical exertion, and after spending so long at the oars the day before, a good choice of food.
From Bahia Zigzag he had a beat upwind to get out of the deep indendation in the mountains that forms that little harbour, leaving the glacier that was hanging up there in the valley above him then reaching across to the mouth of the Magdalena Channel.
We’d discussed routes he and I, working through the pro’s and con’s of the several possible routes from the relatively wide open spaces of the Straits of Magellan out through the narrow winding slashes through the snow capped mountains and glaciers that form the archipelago known as the “Milky Way”.
Its called that because the ceaseless wave action pushed by the southern ocean gales leave the surface of the water white with foam much of the time.
We’d decided that either the Pedro Channel, some miles west of Cabo Froward would be one choice, and the more often travelled Magdalena Channel the second.
With Cabo Froward having a reputation of being a very nasty place to be on the water, and a favorable breeze carrying him from Bahia Carrera to the western shore of Isla Dawson putting him at the entrance to the Magdalena, that made his decision for him.
He’s turned south down the channel, sailing about 15 miles in, I’d bet the view is amazing, there are very steep slopes on each side, rocky, snow-capped mountains eroded by rivers of ice that have ground them into fantastical shapes, and the water under the boat is both very deep and agitated by fast currents. This is a very different style of sailing to the first few days, almost like a different world.
He’s in a narrow inlet on the western side of the channel, that inlet being protected by several small rocky outcrops hardly worthy of the name “islands”.
As I write it will be around 5 am there, he’ll be stirring about now, sitting up under his tent and thinking of today's course, and his coffee.