Arriving in Beagle Channel

About 50 dolphins greeted us this morning when we arrived in the Beagle Channel. With them hords of pinguines and albatroses. It was an undescribable feeling to finally come here, a place I had wanted to see for such a long time. Seeing the beauty I now know why.

We left Isla de los Estados yesterday at 1300 local time and headed through the dreadful Estrecho de la Maire to the Beagle Channel. This channel passage is characterized by a very rough sea composed by the stream from SW to NE with up to 6kn, the tidal streams and the wind waves. If all come from different directions you do not wnat to be in that passage, no matter how big your boat. Many people, especially sailors but also others on motor vessels have left their lives here. BUT, the good news is, we survived! Ok, we had a pretty calm sea. Stream and tidal stream in the same direction, no wind waves. And still the waves were so short and ugly, that Alita had to beat her way through the waves and my stomach felt a bit annoyed. I was not able to cook until we were out of there 2,5hrs later. But a wonderful medicine against not feeling so well came across our way: dolphins (of course ;-) ). Since Alita was pounding through the waves causing good waves and high spashing water the dolphins had to show off that they can do the same. So they swam fast, used the energy from the waves to jump out as good as possible just to turn and land on the side or the back with a spectacular splash. That play was so wonderful to watch, our own private show. I almost wanted to clap. Once they left we were almost through the bad part (which in comparison was not bad at all). Once we crossed the stream line (you can really see the line) the sea was calm, very amazing. We thanked god that he was so kind to send us such great weather for our trip down here so we could all enjoy the trip and arrive happy and healthy. Continuing the trip out of Estrecho de la Maire in direction of the Beagle Channel we had many albatroses around us, my next photo motive. This morning around 9.30 local time we entered the Beagle Channel under motor. Yes, believe it or not, we had to motor most of the way from the island to here due to lacking wind.

Besides the dolphins also the Army (yesterday passing by Punto the Buon Suceso - the point of good success, probably from times when you were successful passing here alive) and the Prefectura from Argentina as well as the Coast guard from Chile greeted us by radio. The Beagle Channel is divided more or less in the center between Argentina and Chile. So as you sail along, both sides want your current position and give you information about ships in your area or bad weather coming up. I called the Prefectura first thing in the morning. As soon as we approached the first chilenan island, about half an hour after talking to the prefectura, Chile called us. They are all very friendly, I still like my communication job ;-)

Driving along the Beagle Channel is of breathtaking beauty. Of course I loved the beaches and rainforest in Brazil, but I have to admit there is nothing like mountains and water. Even better here, mountains and ocean. It was as if driving in my convertible along an street in the valley between the alps. I feel so much at home here, I can hardly describe it. It brings me a lot of happiness and peace to see snow in the alps-like mountains, to feel cold air, to smell and walk on this green, green grass and still smell and hear the ocean. The timing could not be a better one- summertime. The anchorage we have here, like the one in Isla de los Estados, is unreal. Just like a mountain lake where we drove into with Alita. We first stopped in Puerto Haberton at a touristy place, the first Estancia (Farm) founded here in Argentina, but after an hour decided to go to the next bay and enjoy the solitude there. It is tricky to enter because of a long sand bank but thanks to our center blade, that we can lift up, we were able to enter here in water as shallow as 2m in low tide. So now we enjoy a quiet night in the Bahía Cambaceres Interior. Position: 54 degrees 52,3'South and 067 degrees 17,5' West. The southernmost position I ever had in my life.

Tomorrow we go on to Ushuaia, where soon Hanno, our good help during this trip, will leave us. We're glad we have him on board, it made things a lot easier. I hope to find a possibility to upload pictures the next days. So long, Michaela

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