It's a funny thing when some place is described as the best in its category. South Pacific Anchorages refers to Ra'ivavae as possibly the most beautiful anchorage in the South Pacific. Predictably, we were a little underwhelmed when we arrived, though we had a wonderful time there.
Caleta Suarez, on the outside coast just north of the Gulf of Sorrows, is described by the authoritative Italian Guide as "one of the safest and most beautiful coves in Patagonia." So of course we were left a little flat when we arrived. Nothing can compete with unrealistic expectations.
However, we didn't have long to worry about the difference between reality and an uninformed ideal, as we found ourselves immersed in an unexpected social experience. A northerly blow was forecast and we found ourselves rafted up with eight Chilean longliners that had also sought out protection in the caleta.
So we're getting down with these forty new best friends of ours, as best as our Spanish will allow. (It can't be rusty, I figure, if it's never been shiny.) We are something of a novelty to these fishermen for whom the tedium of waiting out a blow is very much part of the routine. Gifts of fish and cake and loans of age-inappropriate Anime movies for our kids are flowing from their boats to ours, and gifts of cake and smokes bought for just such an event are making the reciprocal outbound journey from Galactic.
If we were the types to think retrospectively, we would realize that the two days of calm that we saw on the outside coast prior to getting here constituted a rare chance to get across the Gulf of Sorrows and to regain the shelter of los canales on the other side. The weather forecast promises poor conditions ever further into the future.
But of course, it's all a part of the adventure, this sort of unexpected encounter. And, as a friend of ours says, a sailor with time always has a fair wind.
When we left Alaska to sail to Australia with our toddler for crew, we thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But then we had our second child, and bought our second boat, and sailed across the Pacific a second time. We've been living aboard for seven years now. Sometimes we wonder how long we'll keep at it, but all we know for sure is that the end doesn't seem to be in sight just yet. Click here to read more from the Twice in a Lifetime blog.