Week 5 - Forget about all this rain—we are here to explore & thoughts of Puerto Williams

D: Exploring and the ghost glacier
R: Hiking from Caleta de Bosque
Jon: Glacial ghosts, hiking from CdB, and SAILING
Megan: Hiking and SAILING

We started this week with a new resolve to make the most of things. Sure it was still raining, but it had lightened to a fairly consistent soaking drizzle and there were no breaks from it in the forecast—so if we were here to hike, we had better get to hiking. We put on full rain gear and set off to explore the low lying areas on a quest to see more beavers. There is reportedly also a very nice, but steep hike that allows you to see across the channel and the ice cap, but the clouds and gray remained, so that particular hike didn't hold much interest for any of us. However, there are two glaciers in the bay of Estero Coloane that we could hike somewhat close to and there are lots of places that the beavers seemed to be busily working, ensuring there was plenty to check out and explore. Wednesday and Friday we did just that. We stayed in the lower areas, though we did go up a bit to get views of the glaciers in two different areas. We found numerous beaver dams, lodges and saw a lot of fresh tree cuttings. The beaver created bogs were extensive as were their lumber yards. Every time you thought you were beyond their range, you would find another random cutting. Their trails did make for fairly easy walking through varied terrain, but they also go straight up and down some very steep slopes. We were surprised that on these adventures we never saw any beavers. We all hoped to catch one cutting down a tree or dragging a tree on one of their many trails. But no such luck. We were now even happier that we were able to watch them up close last week. These two hikes were both made in the misty, soaking drizzle and we returned quite wet to the boat, but at least we were out exploring and stretching our legs!

The humidity and dampness began to also bother Zephyros. We have a system that monitors for Carbon Monoxide and to ensure we don't have a propane leak. We can turn this system on and off with a switch, though we typically leave it on. There are two sensors, one for the CO (up high) and one for the LPG (down low). These sensors are tied to a remote solenoid that allows the propane to flow to the stove or shut off at the tanks. Well, apparently while these sensor should last for 10 years they can be affected by high humidity and cold. Well, guess what we have been living in and what started to act up!?! Our alarm system. Ugh, with boats its always something and you are left to figure it out and fix it; no repairmen to call. At first we were able to reset it or warm up the boat but the sensor(s) seemed to be dying. This led to a bunch of frustration and strange antics - like running the engine in order to run the hair dryer to try to get the sensors to work again. Because if the sensor(s) are tripping the alarm then we get no gas for cooking or baking! Initial efforts were to fix the system and to figure out how we would get warm meals if the stove wasn't an option. We can use our Reflex heater to boil water and / or as a stove top burner (hob). Of course, this is easier when the Reflex heater is working well, which, of course, it currently was not (air bubble stuck in the fuel supply line). It was working, but required tending to keep it going as desired. We also carry plenty of food that we can eat cold so it certainly wasn't like we were going to starve!

Friday, after our hike, we considered moving as there was no rain or wind. We decided against it, but that set the tone that we were done with Estero Coloane and ready to move on.

Saturday we had a slow start to the day. Apparently, not being able to use the stove to heat water for oatmeal, coffee or tea, or to make eggs or toast does not motivate any of us to get out of our warm cocoons on a chilly morning. We couldn't get the alarm system to allow us to get propane flowing so, being in no particular hurry, we stayed in bed a bit longer. We were happy to warmly check emails and see Jon's emails answered with advice from the alarm system company about how to disable the sensors but open the solenoid. Eventually we got up and moving. The bay was calm and we were going to take down an extra shore line to the bow that we had put up for the gusty winds. Suddenly, we started seeing gusts again! We checked weather (again) to make sure moving still made sense and saw that a wind shift was forecasted for noon - well, guess that was what we just experienced. Things soon settled down again and we cleaned the shore lines and got moving. 10 days in one anchorage seemed long enough. Upon leaving Estero Coloane we saw blue sky to the east! Maybe there was still sun out there after all; we had been beginning to wonder. We had a nice downwind sail over to Seno Foque. This is a long and interesting seno. We traveled to the end last February and enjoyed the spot. There is an interesting glacier and a blown out lake. We even were able to get to the side of that glacier and touch it, which was cool. This time we didn't feel a need to go the whole length of the seno to see the glacier, but there is another glacier midway down the seno. We decided to take a look as the weather was nice with occasional sun. This glacier has a lot of melt and the pillars of ice look like ghosts to all of us. There was even some that made both Jon and Megan think of "The Scream". The sun came out a little, here and there, and we got to see some of the glacier in the sun - the blue ice is always more intense in the sunlight. This glacier wasn't especially exciting as there was no calving ice or ice in the seno to harvest, so the boys quickly lost interest and we decided to return north to the planned anchorage, Caleta de Bosque. Megan continued to fight with the propane system trying to bake a loaf of bread. We secured ourselves into the anchorage and the boys went to shore to explore. What freedom a new spot with beaches to play on in non-raining weather is after 10 days in a spot with no real shore behind the boat and a whole lot of rain! At dinner time we were cooking our last fresh meat (steak) and trying to roast potatoes. The fight with the alarm system continued. Eventually, Jon decided to stop trying to cook and to focus on disabling the faulty sensor(s). We had avoided this move for a few days as we weren't sure how big the project might quickly become, but when we were dealing with the 6th shutdown in an hour, it seemed time to consider. He had the sensors disconnected and the system working within minutes! Funny how the things that you expect will take hours to sort take a short while and the things that will "just be a minute" take all day! Also, the thought of not being able to use the stove top or oven gave new life and appeal to our dwindling food choices. A hot meal is better than endless cans of tuna and crackers—Poseidon's vote not withstanding. After dinner, the propane leak detector was quickly reconnected, and the faulty CO sensor left isolated for future troubleshooting or replacement. It seemed like it had been a week of suffering, but it had really only been about 48 hours.

Sunday, the sun was out and we were all anxious to get out and explore. (Well, maybe not R, he's typically in grumbly, sleepy teenager mode these days.) D went to the shore to play while Megan made pancakes. We then got ready to hike. As soon as we were all set to depart the boat, it was raining again! We waited to see if it would quickly pass, it didn't really, but it became pretty light so off we went anyway. We first hiked through a dense, but interesting temperate rainforest. When we got out on the other side, the sun was out and it was like it was actually spring or even summer. We took off layers; got out sunglasses; scoped out a high point and a mostly gradual ascent path; and off we went. The boys thought we meant a shorter hike, but Megan got R talking and the complaining was minimal. The last bit was steep and a bit slippery but we got to an amazing view point, played in a little snow and could see over the Southern Branch of the Beagle Channel. And we could see a down pour on its way! So the stop was a quick one—Megan didn't even get pictures before the rain started as she was putting layers back on first and by the time they were on, the rain was on us. It made for a bit of a wet decent. The worst of the rain seemed to continue west so it was mostly just the soaking drizzle. We all longingly discussed hot chocolates and hot teas on the way down when we had been wishing we had ice for afternoon drinks on the way up. We made it back to the boat and there was a good bit of rain for the rest of the afternoon into evening. Though it did clear again for an actual sunset which was a pleasant treat after 10 or 11 days with no real sunset.

Monday was spent planning, doing homework and chores and catching up on the previous blog post. It looked promising to sail eastward on Tuesday and Thursday. So, our thoughts quickly turned to Thanksgiving and our return to Puerto Williams. Well, everyone had been discussing the "plan" for both of these for days with different opinions being voiced. The pull of civilization, grocery stores, fresh fruit and the internet was ramping up, as well as the need to take care of a couple of things that we just cannot manage through email. We were ready to return and yet not at all ready to return!

Tuesday was spent sailing 40nm east in some gusty winds. It was a pleasant, fast sail. It is pleasant enough to go downwind, even if the winds are higher than expected. We did have a short period where we considered blowing past our intended stop and continuing on to Puerto Williams as we were moving at an impressive pace. However, that storm cell passed and things settled out. Also, when we arrived at the entrance to the bay we intended to go up to anchor in, the seas were pretty flat and it was all inviting. We had thought the entrance into the bay might be an issue since other bays that we passed that were similarly open to the north were full of wind, chop and didn't look particularly inviting. We took the 5nm trip up the bay and anchored off of an old ranch. There were horses corralled and running around. We enjoyed the ease of simply dropping the anchor with no need to use shore lines. The boys even kayaked to a low island to play.

That closes out week 5! We should have 2 days of a 6th week and some Thanksgiving notes to post, to wrap up the trip. Then there will be the project of posting pictures… Thanks for reading!

Sidenote on the beavers: They are not a native animal to Chile or Argentina. The story of how beaver's came to be in Tierra del Fuego is an interesting one and the current challenges are nuanced and complicated. They originally brought 20 beavers here to start a fur trade that never took hold. The population grew over the years and there were reportedly more than 200,000 before they decided to start aggressively hunting and culling them. Now Argentina and Chile seem less sure of the correct path forward. After all there were only 20 to begin, meaning you have to kill them all or risk another population boom. They have no natural predators in the region, and we noted that some of their lodges are right on the edge of the lakes which would never be the case in their natural homes with predators. We enjoyed our hikes searching to see them and remained fascinated and curious about them. They have taken down many, many trees. They have killed whole portions of forest. They have re-routed a lot of water. We saw at least 5 lodges spread over the huge estero. We will be doing more research and learning more about them when we next have internet and a bit of time. They are certainly making a significant environmental impact where they are established, and they clearly swim and climb extensive distances as they look for new areas to reside.

Week 4 - A birthday and a hike, then much MORE rain and togetherness

D: Hiking and watching the beavers
R: Not hiking!
Jon: The beaver hike and apple pie
Megan: The beavers and celebrating Jon's birthday

Week 4 started with Jon's birthday. We got moving on Wednesday morning and traveled south as planned from the Northern Branch of the Beagle Chanel to the Southern Branch. It is a beautiful trip. Though the sun was not out, the clouds were high and you could see the surrounding islands and mountains. Back in February when we took this trip we had better weather, but the gray with high clouds has its own beauty. We had hoped to repeat our visit to 1,000 Cascades. It is a lovely seno with an interesting glacier at its head - clean blue ice, sheer cliff drops and lots of moving water. Last time when we were there it was completely calm in the seno (fjord) while it was a bit windy out in the channel. This visit it was the opposite - calm in the channel, but gusty in the seno. We decided that the anchorage spot would be a bit tricky to slide into, but we could probably tackle it. Adding to our decision making process, we knew the weather was supposed to deteriorate over the next few days. While we were scoping out the spot and making a plan, the wind came up and the rain started pouring down. We decided that we should continue up to the end of the short seno to take a peak at the glacier. What we loved about this place was that you can dinghy over to the glacier, sit on a rock and marvel at the amount of flowing water, and if lucky see some ice fall into the sea. Well, rainy, windy and blah meant we weren't going to cheerfully dinghy for a mile to go over or relax on that rock! So we took the boat as close as we could. You get a pretty good view, but there is a shallow moraine with rocks that has to be passed over to get really close. Zephyros, with her lifting keel can go over it; however, we don't have coordinates for the safe path, we know there are rocks and we couldn't see through the water very well to spot those rocks, so we stayed back behind the moraine. While we did a couple of turns in front of the moraine we did see a nice big chunk of ice fall! It was probably the most that we have seen come down anywhere other than maybe San Rafael (the northern most tidal glacier of the Southern Hemisphere). It was a nice treat, though as soon as that one big calving event happened we were anxiously hoping for another! After a short while we talked through the options and decided that since we wouldn't be likely to visit the glacier again with the dinghy it made sense to continue on. We traveled the 5 or so nm more to Estero Coloane. We were happy to see that the wind and seas were still calm out in the mouth of the Southern Branch of the Beagle. We had been a bit concerned that it was deteriorating out there already. It was not, which was good as it is open to the ocean and subject to swell. The rain settled back to the misty, soaking drizzle and we secured ourselves into the anchorage in Coloane. We had only passed through this Estero, as a lunch stop, last February and we were curious to explore it more extensively on this trip. After securing for the day, Megan went to work on the food portion of Jon's birthday. She made pancakes, we played games and she made an apple pie. We had a pleasant afternoon together, celebrating Jon's day in this beautiful part of the world.

Thursday was supposed to still be good weather, and it was, sort of. No real sun, but not windy and the rain mostly held off. We prepared to go hiking up in between the waterfalls and to hopefully see the beaver family that our friends reported seeing the week before. It was drizzling as we prepared to head out, but it stopped when we were ready to go. We had a lovely afternoon. The clouds were pretty high and the visibility was good. The high ice cap puts out a lot of water in dramatic waterfalls. We enjoyed these heavy flowing waterfalls and a view over a lake. We had seen a lot of trees taken down by the beavers and were impressed by how high they had climbed to establish themselves in this area. We found two lakes, both with lodges and followed a number of beaver made trails. As we were working our way back down from our higher viewing and lunch spot, we saw a beaver! He was swimming near the lodge and was quite big. We decided he was the father (who knows if this is accurate!) and watched him for awhile. D was beside himself with excitement! He was shaking and sneaking closer and closer. The beaver seemed curious and came towards him 2 times. The second time he slapped his tail and dove back down before returning to swimming around. He didn't seem especially bothered by his audience. Soon we realized that there was a second smaller beaver out too, we deemed this one a juvenile and named it Pow. Eventually the "Dad" beaver left, swimming away from the lodge. We hung around and watched Pow some more. D got some good pictures and tried to sneak closer and closer. Next another beaver arrived, we decided this was "Mom", (though actually it could very well have been the same beaver that was "Dad" a short time before). She also swam around and seemed curious and then gave a tail slap at D as well. She went back into the lodge after her slap and left Pow out to entertain us for a bit longer. Eventually, Pow went inside too and we headed back down the mountain. It was a nice hike and a really, really cool experience to watch this family of beavers, up close, do their thing for a little while.

Friday was clear of rain for a good bit of the morning and we discussed going on another explore. The crew was all a bit tired after a couple of big days and Megan took an early afternoon nap rather than getting motivated to go out to check out some more potential beaver areas and lodges. While she was asleep Jon and D decided to check things out with the dinghy. Megan woke up surprised to learn from R that they were gone. After a bit, the rains and wind came in and came in strong. Soon Megan was quite glad she had been asleep and missed the outing! Jon and D returned, eventually, quite wet. The winds and waves had picked up a bit in the large bay making for a wet dinghy ride on top of all the rain. Of course, a short while after their return it did calm for a bit before restarting. The anticipated weather seemed to have arrived in force.

The next five days the winds and heavy rains continued. We didn't see any signs of the sun. We would often be in a rain cloud that made the glacier across the bay disappear. Sometimes it would hail. It seemed to be constantly raining whether an occasional light, soaking drizzle or absolute down pours. The humidity became 100% and just stayed that way. Everything in the boat was damp to wet to soaked. The walls were wet. It was a tough five days. Everyone threw their own tantrums at one point or another, but we also got into a bit of a workable rhythm. We did our best to keep spirits up - there was school work, many games, podcasts, books, music, movies, baking, bread, etc. We enjoy the family time and down time, of course, but at this point in the trip there had been a whole lot of rain and a whole lot of togetherness. Looking at the weather gave no signs of hope either - just more rain and gusts. We were really, really hoping to explore more of Estero Coloane but the weather just didn't seem to want to cooperate! And while we certainly will hike in the rain, the high winds, downpours and hail were not very enticing when we were safely warm in the boat. Plus there was that knowledge that nothing was going to dry in the 100% humidity. As week 4 closed out we were all over the constant rain; food choices were becoming less interesting; and the call of returning to civilization (and the internet) began tugging at each of us. Adding to our longings were reports from Puerto Williams that they were seeing that elusive yellow, orange sphere in the daytime sky and enjoying warm spring days.

Week 3 - Some more weather = more “togetherness” and another fabulous glacier

D: Watching the glacier and gathering ice
R: Garibaldi Glacier
Jon: Hiking (R trophy hike), Garibaldi and views of the ice cap
Megan: Views across the channel

To start week 3, we left our beautiful anchorage with the glacier and mountains of Seno Pia vistas and traveled a quick 10 miles across the Beagle Chanel to set ourselves up in Caleta Julia. The views back across the channel and of the Darwin Cordillera (Ice Cap) were truly breath taking. They are the types of views that pictures never manage to capture, where you know you are taking the picture to try to remember the *feelings* of just how spectacular the vista is rather than to preserve the actual view. That has been a common theme for us and our many pictures since our early sailing days. We are blessed to have seen so many amazing 360 degree vista views over our adventures.

We had a sunny day to cross over and it was nice and clear with rare, nearly cloudless, blue skies. Jon and Megan were scoping out places to hike in order to get the best views and Julia looked promising. We also realized that it might be the most blue sky day that we would get so we better tack a hike on to the afternoon to ensure we really got to enjoy the view across the canal and to scope out future hikes. The boys were happy to stay behind even though that meant working on some school work. One of the things about being alone together as a a family of four is trying to balance everyone's needs for connection and alone time. We are all a work in progress and the balance often goes astray, but we do try to give the kids some alone time for their developing independence as well as parent only time for our own sanity. The boys have also discovered podcasts and love to read so that helps us all have ways to do our own things in our small, shared space. We enjoyed the hike, the quiet, and the views.

Thursday the weather was ok but we had a somewhat quiet, low key day. D and Jon ventured out for a hike in the afternoon under overcast skies, and R and Megan stayed behind. The quiet days get easily filled with school work, chores, games and baking. The evenings often include a movie. We've gotten back into James Bond, and sensor out the sex scenes as the movies have moved into more R rated territory.

Friday proved to be nice weather with sun so we all went up the hill from the anchorage. It was a beautiful hike spread over a few hours. The boys are often reluctant hikers - they like the views, the interesting things that we see and the lunch stops, but there is often complaining and whinging all along the way up from one or both. We meandered up the hill, stopping to enjoy the view at various points on our way up. Along the way, we saw a number of turkey vultures - which was a bit disconcerting when they were flying and circling over us while gathering additional numbers. We got to a nice high view point and stopped to enjoy lunch. The parents sat in a separate spot due to the general complaining that had accompanied this particular hike. The boys hid the post lunch chocolate and then started teasing the parents. This ended up in D getting annoyed when Jon wouldn't promise any post-lunch dessert as he thought it had been left on the boat. So, D stormed off down the hill. R was concerned and tried to make things right. He volunteered to head down the hill to be with his brother and to smooth things over. Jon and Megan hiked some more to see the lake and enjoy some other views. D was apparently quite mad and made a number of bad choices while R worked hard to ensure that things would be ok when the parents returned. Eventually we were all back aboard and D's anger had subsided. As we went through the evening D decided he wanted some juice from the kids' juice flask that they had in their backpack and enjoyed at lunch. Well, the search of the backpacks showed that the flask was NOT on the boat! This meant that R had left it in the spot where the boys had their lunch, which was a bit away from the parent's spot. In his desire to make sure his brother was cared for he just never looked around his spot, and left the flask there. This is, of course, a thing that kids do and need to learn from - personal responsibility for their things and the things that they take out with them. It was especially unfortunate since he was really making a lot of other really good choices. Even so the writing was on the wall, R knew the life lesson was inescapable—he would have to hike up to retrieve the left item despite his aching feet and constant teenage hike complaining. It was already closing in on 7pm, but it is light out late, well past 9pm. Jon checked the weather and it looked like the next days were going to be rainy and windy which would make the hike that much more miserable and difficult, so the decision was made that R and Jon would go up the hill again that evening. R knew there was no escape and he took his anger and frustration and put them into action. He attacked that hill! His utter determination shined—he madly rowed the dinghy, left Jon to tie it up and change shoes, and stormed straight up the hill leaving Jon to try to catch up. Jon was impressed. In fact, R had the flask and was just starting to head back down when Jon reached him. He made R turn around, take a little time to appreciate the view from the top and to pose for a picture with his trophy held high. R's frustration had dissipated and they descended the hill together having a good discussion. They returned to the boat in 45 minutes flat. It was an impressive feat and R was quite proud that he did it and beat his father up that hill.

Saturday was mostly ok and the weather that was forecasted was slow to show itself so R enjoyed a lot of poking that he could have waited to hike only to be further teased that they could do the hike again to see if he could do it faster. Eventually the weather showed up and we spent a lot more time all together - more school work, more games, more chores and more togetherness. We all survived and kept an eye on the weather forecast for an opportunity to move on. Monday was also still a mixed day and more windy than expected. We decided the weather looked like there would be a suitable break the following day such we could venture up Seno Garibaldi to visit the Garibaldi Glacier.

Tuesday, we got a bit of a later start than planned as the gusts were a bit slow to settle out, but the sun came out and off we went. Last February when we ventured up to see Garibaldi it was a fabulous day; this trip was looking like it could go either way as the sun was out but we had building wind on the nose up the seno. However, when we turned the last corner to the glacier, the sun was shining and the wind dropped away to nothing. It turned into another wonderful glacier trip! We saw some good calving - though the desire to see something really big fall continues for all of us. Megan even captured some fun live iPhone pictures of the calving as well as some nice sunny pictures. We all thoroughly enjoyed watching the glacier, gathering ice and generally just had a great afternoon. After awhile the cloud cover returned, making the sun come and go and giving the impression that it was time to head back out. We traveled the 11 nm back out the seno and the 5 nm across to Isla Chair to anchor for the night. We anchored two nights there back in February and had forgotten just how splendid the view was back down the Beagle, towards the mountains of Seno Pia.

We wrapped up this week with a great day of glacier gazing and views over the Beagle Chanel. It looks like more weather is on the way so we shall see what week 4 holds, thanks for staying tuned.

Week 2 - RAIN & then glacier fun in the SUN

D: Kayaking around the glacier & with Dad
R: Kayaking alone & with Mom
Jon: Glacier gazing
Megan: Kayaking around the glaciers, standing on ice

The theme for week 2 seemed to be rain, rain and more rain. We had some drizzle moving into Seno Pia and then we had 2+ days of solid rain. We did our best to use the time well - multiple game tournaments, school work, baking, some random boat work and chores. But somewhere in day 3 things got a bit more difficult and we were all more than a little stir crazy. There were arguments about how Spades should be played and new house rules are in deep negotiations before any new Spades games can be played. The boys are up on the parents, but when the parents started using similar tactics all hell broke loose.

Halloween Saturday started off with a bit of blue sky and some sun so we decided to make the most of it - and charge up the boat batteries - with a trip up the Western Arm of Seno Pia to check out the Guilcher glacier. When we ventured up this arm, back in February, we took the crew of Sea Rover II with us, but we were not able to get very close to the face due to all the ice. This year we may have gotten a bit more brave and there was less ice in the seno, so we successfully made it all the way up to the glacier faces. There are actually 3 glacier tongues that descend from the Darwin Cordillera (Ice Cap): one that comes in from the right and one from the left (these join at the water), then there is a dirty (black), gravel and rock covered, maybe dying, glacier tongue that feeds in the middle, as well. The drizzle returned by the time we arrived, but we still enjoyed the diversion and outside time. The winds off the glaciers are quite cold so we were all bundled up, drinking hot chocolate. The boys collected ice and we all witnessed some decent calving events. At theses glacier faces, there was quite a bit of ice in the water making us quite happy with our sturdy aluminum hull as we pushed some decent sized growlers around. After we all declared ourselves sufficiently cold, we returned to the same anchoring spot back in the Eastern Arm. The next day proved dreary and rainy yet again, with only glimpses of the sun. Though the afternoon did clear and was nice enough for kayaking and some ice gathering in the bay to keep everyone's sanity.

Monday we planned to go up the Eastern Arm to visit more of the Romanche glacier, and the sun came out! It was spectacular. We took the short trip up with Zephyros and launched a kayak. There wasn't as much ice in this arm and we were all much warmer with the sun out, though the breeze off of the glaciers remained quite chilly. It was another amazing spot for lunch (this is now the standing joke that we keep picking such "horrible" lunch spots - yeah, we know we are very, very lucky! Even the rainy, stir-crazy days are still a blessing.)

The Eastern Arm has a large glacier tongue at the head of it as well as a tongue that feeds lower down and is visible from the anchorage. Yet another tongue of this glacier (Romanche) is visible directly from the Beagle Channel. After kayaking around the glacier, taking lots of pictures and standing on some ice, we headed back down the Eastern Arm and anchored close to the face of the mid arm glacier tongue. We shut off the engine and hung out for a few hours. It was amazing. We saw some more good calving and the boys kayaked about. Jon and I talked about kayaking or taking the dinghy but we settled in on deck relaxing and never felt the need to do anything differently. Eventually, we headed back, yet again, to our anchorage spot. We then decided the weather was so good and clear that we better head up the hiking trail behind the boat. We scrambled up the hill and enjoyed sunset views across the seno and the Romanche glacier. We enjoyed some snacks and an adult beverage (for the parents). The boys headed down a bit before us reveling in their independence. We followed shortly after taking more photos as we descended and as the color got a bit more pink. The days are getting long, so it was after 8:30pm and still just starting to be dusk when we returned to the boat and started dinner. It turned into a bit of a late night.

The next morning it was overcast and we started slowly with some sourdough pancakes (our starter - Ada - is doing great!). We then got organized and took a kayak and the dinghy over to the mid arm Romanche glacier tongue, close to the anchorage. It was about 2 miles away so it was a good paddle and lengthy ride in our inflatable dinghy (it would have been much faster / easier with a hard bottom dinghy and larger outboard, but these are the compromises of boating). R & Megan paddled over and the sun came out making the paddle quite scenic and warm. D & Jon chased to make sure the kayakers were fine throughout the trip. We all arrived over at the glacier. R got out of the kayak and D joined Megan. They paddled around getting closer and closer to the glacier - the closer that you get, the farther away you realize you actually are! The dinghy was parked around where we saw a cruise ship disembark their RIBs last year when we were visiting this glacier tongue on dinghies with Sea Rover II. D & Megan parked the kayak much further down the rock over towards the side of the glacier face. We all hiked up to a nice rock overlook, enjoyed snacks and glacier gazing. Jon & D went on to kayak about while R & Megan stayed to watch the glacier. It was making a lot of noise, but as much as we tried to will it to calve, it did not do anything big, just little bits fell here and there. After awhile, we all headed back towards the dinghy and on the walk back on the very interesting rock face, we caught a glimpse of the path that the cruise ships use - we all decided that we had to venture up it. This path was the most developed hiking path we have seen. It had fixed ropes; arranged rock; seamless moss edges; a few wooden bridges over water runs; and it practically looked like it had been swept! Impressive for being in the complete wilderness, it had a Zen garden feel with Bonsai-like trees surrounded by tufts of moss neatly placed in the midst of the smooth rock path. We had thought that the cruise ship passengers walked up to a flat rock that you could see from the water as a viewing platform, but after reaching this viewing rock we saw that a less trafficked path continued on. Here it became clear that someone must have recently been out tending this path - we don't know who does this, CONAF (the park authority), local guides, or a cruise ship company. There was fresh surveyors' tape, the occasional footprint and new guidelines. We expect we may be the only others to use the path this year in these COVID times, and deeply appreciated this unique opportunity. The path definitely became more technical after the viewing rock, but it was still well groomed, obvious, and featured lots of rope hand holds / borders. It made for a fast ascent and we arrived at a nice rocky highpoint where you could see the glacier tongue at the north end of the Eastern Arm, and an interesting, high view across the mid arm tongue. The Romanche glacier is quite impressive! We enjoyed this spot for a bit and then headed back down while listening to a lot more rumblings from the glacier. We stopped at the viewing rock platform and then returned back to our dinghy and kayak. Jon & D were up to paddle back. They went and stood on some grounded ice, checked out birds on rocks, and R & Megan took the dinghy back, chasing them to ensure all remained well. It was a bit more challenging trip back to the boat with a little wind and some small chop, but they made it just fine and even saw some dolphins! It was another great adventure. We were quite happy that we had decided to go up the hill the day before as we all returned tired and there was more cloud cover by evening. We enjoyed drinks, with ice, on deck to round out the day and a fabulous end to the week!

Week 2 definitely went from a rainy start to something quite spectacular. We all look forward to seeing what week 3 brings.