Saturday, April 4, 2015

From Amy - Sat. April 4th

Greetings from the Beagle Channel.
Log date April 4, 2015

We continue to have a great time. Very beautiful here, but it is colder than expected and SNOWS every day!! Each morning when we awake we exclaim MERRY CHRISTMAS, for that's how picture-perfect it looks with the snow on the trees and ice on the water. Yesterday afternoon we marveled at the largest snowflakes anyone has ever seen, catching them on our tongues.

For those of you who read the April 1 blog, consider the date of that posting. But the general description (with the exception of the Argentinian rogues) was accurate.

We've visited some beautiful glaciers and watched one calve big chunks with a tremendous ROAR. Very impressive even at a quarter of a mile distance. Today we visited with a few groups of sea lions hanging out on rocky shore ledges, finishing their moult before heading back to sea. Some pups looked very small for this time of year--we hope they make it but nature knows best. They all bark and yap at the boat and adult scouts swim out to check the boat, but from a distance. They are cautious.

At last night's anchorage, the dolphins were especially playful and came to the boat to play when they heard the engine. The shore crew went for a spin with them leaping and diving around the Zodiac before the shore crew rigged the shore lines (we anchor and set shore lines off the stern and sometimes the bow to secure the boat at night).

We have a crab trap and over the past week have figured good places as well as not-so-good places to set it. Best location: sandy bottom, not too deep. Best bait: fish bones, fish skin, lamb remains (uncooked). The Centaurum crabs are a superior savory treat, but require dedication to extract the meat. There are some really creepy invasive species crabs that we caught one day due to the wrong choice of bait--like out of a science fiction movie. Gross. They are indigenous to the Baltic Sea and the NE Atlantic and most likely got down here by hanging onto ships as stowaways. Yech.

We are set to round the Cape on Thursday if the weather holds; the navigators are watching the gribs each day and contemplating the options. If we can land on the Horn that would be really fun but we won't know until we get there if that's possible. We're making our way toward it over the next few days, winding through the Channel and its islands.

We're due to fly out of Puerto Williams on Saturday morning but LAN Airlines is notorious for overbooking, leaving early, etc. So we'll see. In the meantime we appreciate this beautiful country in the company of good friends and family. We are eating like royalty: tonight Paige and Will are making angelhair pasta with today's fresh crab haul. Life is good and we are grateful.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Amy's Blog Post April 1st

Sorry we've been so out of touch but the days down here seem to fly by with loads of exploring and travel. Now that we're on the boat, lots of activities abound that come with life onboard. The boat is going well with the exception of one incident today that was a bit scary, but ended without incident. A few days ago we were in touch with one of the Volvo Ocean Race boats--the Chinese boat was dismasted west of Cape Horn and we offered to help if they needed assistance. As it turned out they were able to motor into the Beagle Channel and make their way to Ushuaia, which is on the Argentinian side of the Beagle. They radioed us to say that they were safe and sound but to be on the lookout for, and stay away from, three young Argentinians who had escaped from the jail in Ushuaia. They are sheep wranglers who made off with 300 head from a local estancia--this is a criminal offense down here.
Anyway we had weighed anchor from a beautiful spot early this morning and made our way west along the Beagle Channel past a blue glacier, accompanied by fur seals and penguins swimming beside the boat. Conditions were a bit cold with sleet and snow in 25+ knots of breeze. Given the inclement weather, we decided to anchor at the head of a little protected inlet on the south side of the Channel with impressive sheer cliffs of moss and vegetation. Hidden on a stony mound amongst trees was a miserable looking camp. We heard a motor start and soon three soggy Argentinians were headed toward us in a small motorboat. We wondered if they could be the escaped convicts??? They were very nervous and we couldn't tell if they had weapons hidden in their soggy jackets. They wanted provisions including chocolate, whiskey, and one of the dressed (meaning butchered, skinned but not cooked) lambs hanging at the stern of our boat (our source of meat for the trip). Luckily we have all these provisions and handed them over. Magnus (our captain) told them (in Spanish) that we are headed west, away from Ushuaia. They seemed reassured by this and returned to their camp with our food. We were sufficiently spooked that we're now changing our anchorage in an effort to put some distance between us and them. Snow squalls and sleet alternate with sunny skies as we forge ahead. Otherwise things are going smoothly and we are all having a fantastic time.
I'll try to email soon but wanted to say hello and send best wishes.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Back to Torres del Paine with better weather. Amazing Views!

We came back to Torres del Paine this year to see the towers up close and see the rest of the park that had been closed off due to landslides. It was well worth it!Here are some pictures:

 Torres del Paine - Grand Paine on the left and Cuernos on the right with the French Valley between.

Amy and Larry in the French Valley and the glacial river

Ethan, Trudy, Paige, Will, Larry and Thatcher in the Los Torres lodge (Amy taking the pic)

Amy and Larry after hiking up 3500 ft to the base of the Torres del Paine on a gorgeous day

Back in the Southern Ocean to Cape Horn and the Beagle Channel

We're off on another adventure on Pelagic with friends. Amy and myself along with our younger son Will and his girlfriend Paige Munger who we just met for the first time last Friday and of course we already adore her! Along with us are Thatcher Fields, Ethan and Trudy Bixby and now Stan Honey and Sally Lindsay-Honey have just joined us as we fly from Punta Arenas, Chile to Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world, on the south side of the Beagle Channel, to join the Pelagic Australis again. We will try to make posts to

Our plan is to cruise the islands and fjords of the tip of South America, Tierra del Fuego. We are very lucky to have received permission to go all the way to the west in the Beagle and and come out on the Pacific to sail in the open ocean again around Cape Horn. If we're even luckier with the conditions, we'll be able to land on the island of Cabo de Hornos.