Chile - Patagonia - Jorge Montt Glacier - 2008/02/05 to 2008/02/06 - 13.4 miles



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Unpredictable Chile grants us a perfect day. Paddling a lazy day of discovery we make an early Camp 2 on a beautiful beach. The next day we take a rest day.




Day 6 Tuesday



After a torrential downpour most of the night and a few hours awake thinking that the high tide would come up to the tent (it stopped a foot from the edge of our tent), we expected another day of nasty weather. But this day would be perfect from the start. The clouds were dissipated. Only a few hung around over the ice fields on the distant high peaks. The wind was gone and the sun was out strong. We got an early start to what promised to be a beautiful day.



We left Isla Theresa and headed east briefly before turning south to pass between two islands. We were soon out into the more open channel. The wind was absolutely calm as we paddled past the steep sided channel where we had fought so hard against the wind the day before. It was an easy paddle in great conditions as we made our way south. The deep dark green of the foliage over the green tinted slate colored water contrasted with the cerulean sky with snow capped mountains in the far background.



We entered into Canal Baker, a long narrow north south corridor between a large island, Isla Vargas, and a peninsula off the mainland that was nearly an island. On the land to the east there was a large falls cascading directly into the water. The falls were in two parts, one about one hundred feet high and another that was an offshoot and only about 10 feet. There was a very large amount of water coming down this falls and we paddled over and stuck our bows into the cold water. Spray and wind blew back off the falls and made it difficult to keep pointing into the spray.



Done playing here we paddled due west across the canal to an deep indentation in Isla Vargas to the west. The winds remained calm, the sky an incredible blue and the water placid. The island is almost split in two by two fiords that almost connect, leaving only a hundred meters or less of land between them. But at over 30 meters high it was an effective barrier. We stopped at a small beach for the worst meal of the entire trip, a god awful cheese squeezed from a tube. Somewhere between plastic and snot with a taste to match, we are glad to have that soon gone.

Leaving the quiet of the fiord, we turned south once more to follow the shore of Isla Vargas to our Camp on the best beach of the trip. Long and relatively wide it was composed of nice rounded pebbles of pink and brown granite. It faced southeast over the open water to the southern ice fields that were easily seen spilling over and through the mountain passes. Somewhere down there was our objective - Jorge Montt glacier.


We spent a pleasant afternoon on the beach enjoying the warm sun and even taking a brief dip in the water. Well some of us anyway.




Behind the camp, the forest pressed right up against the beach with blooms abounding on the rugged plants. With thick foliage and many thorns, the were adorned with the most delicate and beautiful flowers. Humming birds of many different types flitted here and there collecting the nectar from the myriad flowers some of them with special adaptations just for the little high speed aviators.



Holding on to the nice weather, clouds drifted in and were lit up by the last of the sun on the tops of the tall clouds while the bottoms remained dark underneath the mountain tops.
Day 7 Wednesday



The next morning the clouds were still around. The wind had come up and was blowing about 20. Looking out over the open sound, there appeared to be heavy breaking waves out in the channel exposed to the 20 kilometer fetch. Here in the lee of the island the water was calm, but from the beach it looked quite rough out there. We decided to spend the day on the beach and wait for better weather before making the exposed crossing, which NOLS had warned Kate as being the crux of the trip and a dangerous crossing . With possible currents, strong winds and the largest fetch of the trip, it seemed a reasonable idea. So we spent the day having a good time on the beach and enjoying the sun, resting and fueling up for the rest of the trip.
We kept looking out at the white caps on the water and trying to figure out how big they really were. In the mid afternoon we decided to take a paddle up around the island and look at the crossing that faced us. We paddled the couple of miles up to the narrowest point across the open water. When we got there and out from under the lee of the island we discovered that the white caps we had seen were deceptively small. Although the wind was strong and the waves were steep, they were not large. Apparently the fetch and duration was not long enough to build any appreciable sea. We should have gone across today. We decide maybe we should go now.

After paddling back to camp and reassessing the situation we decide that perhaps a crossing tomorrow would be better as it is getting late in the day. This turns out to be a good decision as the winds pick up again to near 20 knots. With only two days paddle under our belts, a rest day has its attractions. With a belly full of rice and beans spicy version we retire to our tents.

On to Day 8..............

Back to the start of the trip...................






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