With 4-5 knots of current we roared through Canal Chacao. There were occasional benign whirlpools but none of the terrors I had been led to expect (the Pilot says at springs wind against tide can generate 8m standing waves dangerous even for large vessels). For us, glassy water, a wan sun and shirtsleeves as we passed the anchored fishing fleet in Carelmapu. All so strange, like waking up from a long dream. Or perhaps entering a mild high after a bout of significant depression.
I was glad finally to find Puerto Montt among the islands and channels, because we’ve not got any charts of it, and our Admiralty Pilot is for the other side of the continent! The marina Reloncavi manager Christian motored out to guide us in to our berth. Eric Prive met us and helped us tie up. Everyone is so friendly, helpful. And casual. The Armada capitaine is coming down tomorrow to clear us in. Until then, we can have visitors, showers, laundry and internet access, but we are told we shouldn’t off go travelling in Chile.
People ask what it is like to have arrived. At last night’s anchorage, I thought I had arrived on a new planet. A richness of strange sights, smells, sounds and absence of movement. Overwhelming. To cope in such a situation I had to shut down – I felt numb, quite unable to take anything in.
But ask me now. After our warm welcome at Puerto Montt, after phoning home, having farewelled all the ship’s visitors, after the longest and hottest shower, after Dave has gone exploring, and after I have turned on Tristan Act 2. How do I feel? Very satisfied. Wonderful, in fact, absolutely wonderful…….