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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.

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…

Goodbye Beagle (The Chilean Channels – Part I)

If there’s anything on Chile’s Pacific coast – any place, or any sight – which exceeds the awesome beauty of the glaciers in the Beagle Channel, then we’ve yet to come across it; but, that having been said, this whole region is a fabulous wonderland of wild grandeur.

Chile’s part in Shacklteon’s Success

Do you know, it was just one hundred years ago that Ernest Shackleton and his men were down in Antarctica, trying to cross the White Continent? Well it was. And the centenary of the event is being celebrated not only in Britain but also in Chile, because this country became inadvertently involved in the undertaking. Shackleton’s first adventures in Antarctica were as part of Robert Falcon Scott’s team. Whereas Scott began his career, at the age of just thirteen, as…

Barracuda 200ZW v. Sailrite LSZ1

For the past 25 years and more I’ve dreamt of owning a Sailrite. This is the sewing machine that everybody in the cruising community talks about, because, they say, it can romp through eight layers of heavy-duty terylene cloth. For independent-minded liveaboards who want to be able to mend their sails mid-ocean or make dodgers and awnings, such prowess is invaluable. Having waited for almost three decades to encounter a second-hand machine, I finally gave up. I finally decided that…

The Roof of the Americas

Part Seven of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile This tale seems to be dragging on – whereas the journey itself did not – so I’ve decided to wrap up the last three days of the adventure in one post.


Part Six of the tale of an Overland Journey through Chile It’s all Lewis Carroll’s fault. Other people watching flamingoes marvel at the bird’s grace. They remark upon the fabulous plumage; they see elegance and beauty. But I see croquet mallets.