Articles by Jill Dickin Schinas

About Jill Dickin Schinas

Jill started sailing at the age of three weeks and spent her formative years messing about in racing dinghies in Chichester Harbour. She made her first blue-water passage at the age of 18 but it was to be a further ten years before she was shanghaied by the skipper and started her career as an ocean-going hobo.
Jill has written a handful of books and has many more in the pipeline, but her true vocation is as an artist.

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Chatwin’s Brontosaurus (Puerto Consuelo – Part II)

For a visiting yachtsman, the biggest attraction of Puerto Consuelo is that it is a relatively safe anchorage; and it is only when the boat is safely moored that we can disembark and take a look at the place we’ve sailed so far to see. The holding at Consuelo is almost as bad as it is off Puerto Natales or at Laforest, but at least here, if you drag, you just end up on the shoal, astern. However hard it…

Puerto Consuelo (Part I)

The other day we told you about Puerto Natales, a town which doesn’t really deserve to be called a port. By the time one has travelled this far through the channels it has become evident that a puerto, in Chilean parlance, does not necessarily imply the presence of a quay or any other facilities appropriate to the berthing of a vessel, and it may not even mean a settlement. In fact, very few of the puertos in the Magellan Straits…

Puerto Natales

Christmas town – that’s Puerto Natales; or rather, to be more exact, this place is called Birth Port, and the birth referred to is apparently that of Jesus Christ. As the story goes, the man who named the place happened to be camped here on Christmas day – so it’s easy to see how that bit came about – but as for the designation as port…  this is just wishful thinking. In reality Natales is not so much a port…

Where do dolphins go when it’s raining?

  Ever since I first heard that it was possible to listen to dolphins and record their voices, I’ve wanted to do just that: ever since I first heard that dolphins ‘talk’, I’ve wanted to get my hands on a hydrophone. And pretty much ever since I first understood how privileged we ‘yotties’ are, in being able to wander whither we will and see the wonders of the world, I’ve wanted to share our adventures with someone who can make…

The Detour (The Chilean Channels – Part VI)

We ended last week’s offering with the story of a fight to claw our way to windward and the subsequent casual relinquishment of all those hard won miles. So, why this detour from the ‘main drag’, winding its way from the Straits of Magellan north through the channels to Chiloe? Whither away Mollymawk now?

Smyth Channel (The Chilean Channels – Part V)

From the Straits of Magellan we followed our heroes north into the Smyth Channel. More specifically, we were now sailing in the wake of the schooner Adelaide and one Lieutenant Skyring.

Season’s Greetings

So, here we are again. It's that time of the year when we wish each other happiness and we talk about spreading peace and goodwill; and yet, right now, all three of those - and the last two in particular - seem to be pretty thin on the ground. Right now we've got troubles in Britain, troubles in America, troubles in Poland, troubles in Brazil, troubles in Palestine, troubles in the Ukraine… and that's to say nothing of the big,…

The Exploration of the Magellan Strait (The Chilean Channels – Part IV)

With the discovery of the route around the bottom of the continent, the Straits of Magellan became something of a backwater. As the centuries rolled past, mankind gradually moved away from barbarous nationalism and embarked on an era of scientific exploration – albeit still with commercial objectives – and it was in this new Age of Reason that men such as Philip Parker King and Robert FitzRoy were sent to make a proper investigation of Tierra del Fuego. And then,…

The Discovery of the Magellan Strait (The Chilean Channels – Part III)

From the Beagle Channel several much narrower waterways wind their way north into the Magellan Strait, joining it just west of the infamous Cape Froward (the southernmost point of continental America). Arriving here, the traveller is no longer just trailing after FitzRoy and Darwin; he is sailing in the wake of dozens of heroes. Magellan was the first, of course. Or at any rate, he is believed to have been the first. According to a Venetian gentleman who was sailing…

Whaleboat Sound to Brecknock (The Chilean Channels – Part II)

The Chilean channels are famous for their wild beauty, but for the crew of Mollymawk the scenery is only part of the attraction. For us, the history of this region is equally alluring. To be sailing along the route first discovered by Magellan; to be anchored in the very place where the Beagle moored; to be traversing the sound where Robert FitzRoy searched so frantically for his stolen whaleboat – for us, these things add a special dimension to the…