Sunday, January 5, 2020

Tortel: Sea Rover’s Odyssey

 In our last post we spent a long time describing how remote we were and how difficult it would be to live in this area.  We had decided to take a detour of about 100NM to Tortel but had no idea what we would find when we got here.

Who knew it would only take an Odyssey similar to Homer’s complete with Sea Monsters and the plague to get here.    For those who wish to follow in our footsteps, here is a guide to sailing to Tortel.

Step 1, Fight off the Harpies:  Upon entering the Strait of Monsters, (AKA Canal Martinez) you will find invisible harpies (AKA Rachas) that come out of the sky and attack the boat at random.   They seem to be especially attracted to large amounts of sail so keeping a minimum sail area is essential even if the wind is only blowing 5 or 10 knots.

Naming your boat the Invincible wont help
against the Harpies
Step 2, Beat the Giant Squid:  This is also where giant squids attach to the bottom in an effort to drag you back to their lair.  These extremely intelligent animals (AKA Currents) are warry of being seen by humans so if your boat is slowed down to moving forward at only 2 knots a simple glance at the stern in not enough.  You must run from side to side and fore and aft as quickly as possible to catch a glimpse of him below as he moves out of your sight.  The reality is that even if you do see him there isn’t anything you can do to free yourself so you must continue to push forward at a painfully slow pace.

You will never see the Giant squid attached to your bottom
no matter where you look

Step 3, Survive the Plague of Flies:  When it’s not blowing 30 or 40 knots, small black flies that are happy at breezes below 30 knots (we think they are a secret Chilean genetic engineering project to protect their extensive coastline) come out in droves.   We thought heavy rain would keep them at bay but alas, this does not deter them.  Luckily their bite only itches for a few weeks and leaves a scar so the toll isn’t too high.

Even the bees are giant here

Step 4, Don’t drown in the Great flood:  We already have a sailboat so we didn’t need to build one but MAN DOES IT RAIN here.

Rain makes everything look better doesn't it!

Step 5, Sacrifice your wife to the Dragon:  When the Harpies go away, don’t even think of being complacent.  They were scared away by the DRAGON.  Yes, this creature, also invisible, scares away the Harpies and waits patiently until the sailor thinks he is safe.  He hovers until more sail is made and then WHAM he hits with a fury until you lash your wife to the mast in the torrential downpour and crashing seas as a sacrifice.

She had no idea of what was about to happen...

It is only then that the oasis of Tortel comes into view and you can relax for a little while. That is until you realize the only way out is the way you came in and you must do it all over again.
For those who care...  Yes, the Dragon gave her back.

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