27.12.07 – Cabo Froward at last

15 kts of SW wind and the last of the ebb had us scurrying east through the straits past Isla Carteret in Bahia Swallow. The charts here contain a veritable checklist of great maritime names…

tidal eddies at Paso Tortuoso

At Paso Tortuoso, 3 big bodies of water meet with interesting and unpredictable races and currents. We hug the shore in what seems like a 1 knot favourable eddy. Out to starboard there are all sorts of whirlpools and overfalls. So impressive that there seem to be high steps in water level between them. “Faraway”, 4 miles ahead and in the middle of the channel, is barely making ground in a 4 kt adverse current.

 

 

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improving weather in Magellan Strait

Cabo Froward -southernmost tip of South America

Cabo Froward -southernmost tip of South America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We pass a pod of whales sounding in Bahia Ballena. To be expected, I suppose. Cabo Froward, the southern tip of the continent, looms ahead. Magellanic penguins look up in surprise as we approach and they go porpoising off indignantly. Giant petrels with those huge bills congregate for a chat while terns swoop and soar. Storm petrels wait anxiously for wind and waves and a pair of steamer ducks goes churning off out of our way. We turn right into a side channel, heading south again to Canal Cockburn. But that is for another day.

It has been a gentle passage for us. I am humbled when I think of all those great seamen who came before. Mostly going the other way, with no windward ability. And no goretex, no polartec, no GPS no radar and no maps. Such heroes, all of them.

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