|Day 8 (Thursday)
We paddled about four miles to the south end of Vargas Island. Across the straight, the sun highlighted the snow on the distant peaks. About a mile to the east was Isletas Edmundo. By the time we got to the narrowest point of the straight, the wind had only come up to 5 to 8 mile per hour, about a Force 2 wind, which left very modest waves out on the open straight. We headed straight across to the nearest point on the shore. it took about an hour to make the crossing without any apparent current an no wind effect carrying us off our range. So we paddled straight at out objective and made the crossing in just over an hour. The wind died as we reached the far shore and the water became glassy. It made all the build up for this short open crossing seem like overkill.
Turning left we followed the shore to a small stream and an old fishing camp. There was a wrecked small boat on the shore and a run down cabin. The clear stream along side it had a small waterfall which we could not approach because of the rocks. There were many black bugs here so we went about 200 meters further down the shore to try to find a place where they weren't so thick. There we had lunch. While Kate and Julio had a nap I walked down the beach taking pictures of the strange trees and bold foliage. Looking back across the open water we could now see the snow of the northern ice field that was blocked from our view at the last camp. After a long break we were ready to get back in our NDK Explorers try for a camp nine to ten miles away.
As we paddled across the strangely smooth waters, we kept hearing a honking sound coming from across the water. I kept looking for what was making the call but couldn't pick up anything. Finally Julio claimed that it was a penguin. What it was doing this far back from the sea in an area where we had seen no fish to speak of I can;t imagine. After a few minutes of looking I finally spied the little fellow and his mate as they honked back and forth keeping in touch with each other over several hundred meters as they looked for food. Julio thinks that it was a Macaroni Penguin. Both birds were too far away to get a picture of them.
The day which started out clear, had gone grey and overcast while we were having our lunch stop, not once again became clear, sunny and dead calm. We paddled over the oily appearing grey green water. In fact the waters became more grey as we approached the glacier. The trees along the shore were scraggly, barely making it on the extremely thin soil in the cracks of the granite shore which had only recently emerged (geologically speaking, from under the ice. The white of the southern ice field gleamed ahead as we pointed our bows to it and paddled along.
Along the way we paddled past a couple of small waterfalls tumbling right into the sound. At one Kate pulled along side and we filled up the water bags in case there was no water right at camp. We were planning on camping on the flat end of a peninsula where the ancient moraine used to be, long before the glacier retreated some 12 miles farther up the valley. This would be a convenient camp for the next days exploration of a long fiord where there were suppose to be a lot of bird life.
After a long paddle day, we finally retired to our tents after dinner as the grey skies and spitting rain had returned, making a complete 720 degree turn in weather for the day.
On to day 9 ............................
Back to the start of the trip...................
Steamer Duck (flightless)
Black Browed Albatross
Black Throated Huet Huet
Macaroni Penguin(based on size and voice)