09.03.08 – Estero Fouque

It is 11.30am and Ian has gone exploring. Rosie is still asleep. Jen has just announced that the aft toilet is blocked – there goes my solitude. It rained all night. It is cold and misty and the mountains are draped with new waterfalls. Ian, in his new red oilskins, looks striking against the dark green forest. Click, click (f2.8 at 1/60).

Estero Fouque is just as beautiful. I am making mental notes of the things I had forgotten – the dazzling light on the trees along the shore. The vastness of the scale of things. The subtleties of colour, the languid dolphins and the strong sense that I am trespassing.

The girls are getting on very well. Giggling childishly, noisily. They have had some long talks and Rosie says the air has cleared. She says they haven’t spent so much time together since they were 12 and 14.  The dynamic is interesting. Jen teases Rosie mercilessly but is always searching for her approval. Rosie the know-all snaps back, argues noisily and assertively. She thinks Jenny is so competent and beautiful (“Jen looks good in photos even when she is picking her nose. In photos I always look as if I am picking my nose, even though I am not”). Rose is not mollified by all the praise heaped on her for her clear sightedness, her cooking, her navigation and her lethal skill at cards. She is frighteningly smart, stroppy and dogmatic. A know-it-all. But still so young and insecure.

Typical Beagle view

Typical Beagle view

At 6pm it was still raining but the breeze had dropped and I bowed to pressure. The girls having agreed to untie the lines, I couldn’t really refuse. Now we’re in the Beagle Channel motoring west to Estero Coloane. On our right is that amphitheatre with circling condors, where Chris sketched the misted glacier. It will remain our secret.

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