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From Chacabuco tu Laguna San Raphael

Aggiornamento: 22 set 2023

1 September 2015

It's 06:00, it's pitch dark outside but we decided to set sail at the first light of dawn, which certainly won't arrive before 08:00.

The barometer shows 1040 Mb, I think one of the all-time records and the forecast gives good weather for the whole week.

By 08:30 the anchor is up and we head towards the narrow entrance to the lagoon which had worried us quite a bit upon our arrival.

But now we register just five knots of wind and, despite passing with our keels close to the seabed, we are out in a couple of minutes without any difficulty.

The peaks of the mountain range around us are all covered in a thick blanket of fog which I hope will dissolve as the temperatures rise.

We proceed with a single engine at around 6 knots on the bottom, aided by the tidal current which contributes 1.5 knots.

We are headed to Laguna San Rafael and we will do it in a single leg, sailing also next night, taking advantage of the favorable weather forecast for the next few days.

Around 12.30 we reach the exit of Fiordo Aysen. On the northern coast, we notice an area of sea in which smoke comes out of the water. It's not smoke, it's steam! A thermal water spring?

We pull over, but the depth is prohibitive to anchor. The coast is practically overlooking the sea and, from what I read on our depth sounder, I believe that the wall continues vertically even below the surface. A little further on we notice a beach; perhaps the seabed there is more suitable for anchoring.

We bottom in 10 meters of water less than 20 meters from the shore.

As soon as the maneuver is finished, the dinghy is already in the water with the outboard engine turned on.

We reach the source, but unfortunately it is a very small stream of hot water that flows from the mountain wall and flows into the sea. There is no natural pool to dive into.

On the other hand, the first 30 cm of the sea surface is boiling, excellent for a foot bath but nothing more.

Ray, who doesn't want to give up his hot bath, disembarks and heads towards the spring.

An instant later we see him in costume, perched on the rocks, with a very disappointed look on his face.

The trickle of water is too hot, probably around 100°. He fills a bucket and decides to wait for it to cool.

Back on the boat, while we are preparing to set sail, Ray is once again in his swimsuit, determined to take a shower on the deck as he usually does in the tropics, only this time the water is that of the thermal spring, which has cooled down in the meantime: "Dude are are you serious?”.

We enter Canal Fiordo Costa and a nice cold 20 knot wind hits us on the bow.

We just have the genoa open and we pull a tack, but the channel is too narrow for serious tacking, so we fire up an engine and proceed.

Unfortunately we have a contrary current and our average speed does not exceed 4 knots, but I don't want to turn on the second engine: we have to pay attention to consumption, we won't be able to refuel for a long time.

It gets dark and the wind drops to around 14 knots, but the current continues to oppose us. For the night we decide on 3 hour guard shifts.

2 September 2015

The night was quiet and not too cold. At dawn the sky is a clear blue and as the sun rises, the layer of fog that hides the peaks of the mountain range dissolves, revealing a breathtaking panorama.

At 8:00 we tune in to USB frequency 4164. The Armada (the Chilean Navy) requires all vessels underway to communicate their position twice a day (08:00 and 20:00) and, if underway, also course, speed, destination and estimated time of arrival. Obviously the number of vessels at sea is significant, so this operation may take some time.

Armada: <<Puerto Mont Radio en recepsion QTC (pronounced “cutiace” and I still don't know the meaning of the acronym but it stands for Posicion y Intention de Movimiento)>>.

After this call, the listening vessels communicate that they are ready to transmit with the following message:

<<Puerto Mont Radio, Puerto Mont Radio Puerto Mont Radio, Catamaran Angelique II QTC>>.

And here obviously you have to be lucky so that your transmission signal prevails over the others and is heard by the Armanda. Crafts are usually heard in groups of 4.

When the Armada has received requests from the next 4 boats, it transmits an individual call:

<< Good morning Angelique II adelante>>

The called vessel begins transmission:

Daily Puerto Mont Radio, this is the catamaran Angelique II, Charlie Sierra (these are the letters of the international code and stand for C.S. or Call Sign, the international identifier issued by the authorities of the flag country to each vessel) Foxtrot Kilo Kilo Foxtrot ( stands for FKKF the Call Sign of Angelique II), sailing from Puerto Chacabuco to Laguna San Rafael, currently in position Latitud 46°14.34 Sur

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