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June 2002

Dear Friends,

It was with quiet elation that we savored the last day of our voyage around Cape Horn. When we sighted the entrance to the Gulf of Corcovado and the magnificent volcanoes lining its eastern shore, we were filled with satisfaction. The weather smiled on us, sunny, warm enough to shed our heavy sweaters and enjoy being in the cockpit, but with the high pressure that brought this fine weather, came very light winds. So the last 40 miles into the gulf were a slow 24-hour drift against changeable tides.



This is the Cophuie, the national flower of Chile and the namesake of our hosts boat.

The entrance to the gulf is wide and well marked by a large lighthouse and several smaller beacons to warn us if we were close to danger among the hundreds of islands that cluster through out this gulf. So we continued in as night drew on, a bit concerned as anyone in foreign rock and shoal strewn waters would be. But we need not have worried as the full moon came out only minutes after night fell and the visibility was stunning, the snow capped leaning volcanic peak of the Corcovado (hunchback) and the double summated volcano Tic Toc shinning as perfect compass bearing points all night long.

The light winds continued the next day and drizzle set in so we decided not to carry on to Puerto Montt, l20 miles through winding passes and instead anchor and celebrate in one of the calas recommended in our Chilean cruising guide. We set our anchor in 60 feet of water, sand and mud bottom, just at noon, 2l days out of Puerto Williams and spent five hours cleaning soot off the overhead and cabin sides. Though I resented the clean up, I had chosen to put up with the mess rather than wake to a 40 degree cabin as we lay hove to at 50 south. (Our kero heater only sooted when the motion was really rough).

We often thought about Lyle Hess while we were sailing Taleisin to windward in the far south. He designed a wonderful boat for us. Stark Jett took this photo when we were sailing in the Chesapeake.

That night we celebrated with a fine bottle of bubbly wine. We gratefully slept in each other's arms after a long hot shower and it was noon before we woke. Then came one of those special happenings. I noticed a mast going by our port light. This was a real surprise as there are literally hundreds of anchorages to choose from and only about fifteen sailing yachts in these canals at any one time. We went on deck to see one of the most handsome yachts in the world, Copihue, a dark blue classic sloop of 73 feet, lines like the elegant cruiser racers of l950, varnished woodwork that , even from 100 yards looked perfect (up close it looked even better). She came to anchor just the right distance inshore of us. A few minutes later Richard, son of the owners, Michael and Marnie Gribbon came over to apologize for invading our privacy. We assured him we had had more than enough time on our own and willingly accepted an invitation for cocktails.

Copihue (named after the Chilean national flower since Marne was born and raised in Chile) had just come from a six-week meander through the Chilean canals from the Atlantic. The adventures of her voyage were wondrous, we marveled at their stories of magnificent vistas as they passed hundreds of waterfalls, through wind blasted narrows and into tiny anchorages where the kelp was too thick to anchor so lines were run ashore we wondered if we had missed something special. Yet all of Copihues crew went out of their way to make us feel that too we had achieved something very special, that they had somehow missed something. The next day we arranged to meet in Puerto Montt and both boats were underway with gray drizzly skies and light winds. One mile out of our anchorage, the drizzle filled to become almost like fog. Copihue carried on, but we decided to return to the anchorage and wait for clearer weather. We had plenty of food on board and no deadlines to meet and actually looked forward to just reading a book, free of watches and concern about changing winds.

. When we were going through a box of old photos, we came across this one of Larry and Lyle back in l968 or 1970. Sure brought back memories.

Two days later we set sail again and decided to carry straight on to Puerto Montt as we were anxious to catch up with two months mail and also, hopefully with Lindsey and Olive Stewart on Cruisaway, from New Zealand as we had heard they might be there preparing for their voyage homeward after five months of exploring the Chilean Channels. After two days of interesting sailing (read-dodging rainsqualls, fog and rocks with tides of two to four knots) we were within twenty miles of our goal, with one last narrow pass to thread when the fog socked in thick. We turned to run slowly back toward more open water in the Gulf of Ancud and then hove to. All night long small fish boats with two or three men in each came close by to call in Spanish, "are you okay? Do you need anything? Do you have a compass on board; we can tell you the course to Puerto Montt?" We assured them we would wait for morning and better visibility. The next morning the visibility did clear and we sailed back toward the pass, but missed the tide so decided to anchor near several fish boats in the lee of a farm-crested island. As soon as we set our anchor one of the fish boats lifted theirs and came directly over. "We are so glad to see you; we were all worried about you last night. Here is some fresh fish for your dinner." We reluctantly accepted the l0 pound eel like fish they offered and gave them a gift of a bottle of Argentinean wine from the cache under our floorboards. Their warm welcome was just a taste of things to come.

Lin and Larry from Puerto Montt

The stunning scenery of the Gulf of Corcovado is ever changing, especially as there is an 18-foot tidal range.







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