Campo de Ielo o Mar de Ielo?
Few miles south of Estero Dock, Canal Wide joins Canal Conception which leads straight to the Strait of Nelson, in the open ocean. From there few dozen miles south Isla Evangelistas lighthouse marks the entry into the Estrecho de Magellanes.
But we still have other things to see before to reach the legendary Magellan, so we divert to Canal Tres Cerros which will lead us to the long Canal Pitt. We intend to reach Estero Peel, one fjord wedged between glaciers fed by the Patagonian Ice Cap, the legendary Campo de Ielo. Estero Peel is a really poorly frequented fiord because of the constant presence of ice and bad weather which characterize this area, but it also leads to a series of magnificent glaciers, few miles from each other and we read that the view of the peaks of Campo de Ielo (ice field) is definitively worth the hassle to get there. From Estero Dock, our last anchorage, we will have to sail over 60 miles to get to Estero Peel so we are thinking to make it in two legs.
23/24 September 2015
Spring is definitive arrived, the wind and rain of the first weeks of August are now a faded memory. We face a breeze of 7-8 knots, unfortunately always by S / W, which force us to a close heuled sailing. I must admit that I’m beginning to consolidate an image of Patagonia pretty different from the one I had trough readings and tales. Yes, we did experience 70 knots of wind and heavy rain, but since our arrival in March, except for July and the first two weeks of August, the weather has been mostly very pleasant.
25 September 2015
This morning we left Caleta Villarica, our last anchorage, right at the entrance of Estero Peel, on the tip of the Peninsula Wilcok. The day unfortunately is a bit gray, the sky is overcast and the visibility is not the usual. We are heading to the first of the glaciers, Ventisquero Amalia. Despite the modest visibility, the picks of Campo de Ielo that we begin to see are spectacular and it's somewhat weard to see them in a marine setting. Unfortunately, as we advance we realize that fame Estero Peel is well-deserved. The surface of the sea began to be covered by ice, till a point where also Angelique II, the Icebreaker has to stop. We reach Caleta Amalia, an anchorage right in front of the glacier where we decide to wait until the day after to see if the situation evolves.
26 Settembre 2015
Unfortunately conditions remain unchanged and I suspect that ice conditions in via Estero Peel would be even worst. So we decide to give up and continue our journey south. Goodby Campo de Ielo, or rather goodbye Mare de Ielo. Today I can state that Patagonian Dolphins have are working for the local Tourism Bureau. In each single bay, fiord or laguna we have visited sofar we have been welcomed by dolphins, not many, maximun 3 or 4 of them. But this has happened every sigle day since we left Puerto Montt.