Monday, 17 October 2011

Chile pilotage notes


These notes are meant to be read in conjunction with the Royal Cruising Club Pilotage Foundation  guide Chile 2nd edition, edited by Andy O'Grady and published by Imray Norrie & Wilson. The information was collected between January and September 2010 by Trevor Robertson sailing the 11 metre cutter Iron Bark,  which has a draft of 1.6m. All positions are GPS derived and use WGS84 datum.



P20         Tandem anchoring               Addition to notes
P22         Fuel                                    Addition to notes
P22         Heating                               Addition to notes (identification of tepu).

Chapter 2

2.3          Puerto Abtao                Nothing to add to notes
2.7          Isla Huelmo                   Nothing to add to notes
2.8          Puerto Montt                 Addition to notes
               Isla Guar                       Addition to notes and sketch charts.
2.10        Isla Marimeli                 Addition to notes and sketch chart
2.14        Bahiá Hueihue               Balaena sounded lagoon and made notes
2.16        Malomacún                   Addition to notes and sketch chart
               Canal Hornpirén            Addition to notes and sketch chart
2.18        Islote Manila                 Addition to notes
2.20        Estero Quintupeu          Addition to notes and sketch chart
2.26        Buta Chauques             Addition to notes and sketch chart
2.27        Mechuque                    Addition to notes
2.28        Dalcahue                      Addition to notes
2.29        Castro                          Addition to notes
2.30        Caleta Rilán                  Addition to sketch chart
2.36        Estero Ichuac               Addition to notes
2.38        Isla Quehui                   Addition to sketch chart
2.41        Estero Pailad                Addition to notes
2.43        Estero Huildad              Addition to notes and sketch chart
2.44        Quellón                         Addition to notes
2.47        Puerto San Pedro          Nothing to add to notes

Chapter 3

               General/Routes             Addition to notes
3.9          Isla Valverde                 Addition to notes
3.15        Canal Skorpios             Nothing to add
3.19        Isla Benjamin                Arboles Espectales.  Nothing to add. 
3.23        Isla Canal                     Addition to notes
3.29        Isla Melchor                 Nothing to add.    
3.32        Seno Aysén                  Estero Sangra.  Addition to notes and sketch chart
3.35        Seno Aysén                  Estero Gato:  nothing to add to notes.
3.37        Seno Aysén                  Puerto Chacabuco.  Addition to notes
3.38        Isla Traiguén                Caleta Christiane.  Name change and additions to notes and sketch chart.
3.39        Canal Costa                Caleta Lynch.  Addition to notes.
3.48        Paso Quesahuén         Addition to notes.
3.49        Golfo Elefantes           Bahía Quesahuén.  Addition to notes

Chapter 4

4.11       Caleta Jacqueline        Addition to notes.
4.12       Caleta Charlotte          Addition to notes and sketch chart
4.18       Isla Clemente              Puerto Mallibú.  Addition to notes.
4.26       Peninsula Taitao          Bahía San Andres – Caleta Suárez.  Addition to notes and sketch charts.
P 99       Passage                      Crossing the Gulf de Penas.  Addition to notes.

Chapter 5

5.13      Caleta Ardevora         Addition to notes and sketch charts
5.15      Puerto Island              Addition to notes.
5.16      Cta Point Lay             Addition to notes and sketch chart.
5.20      Caleta Yvonne           Addition to notes and sketch chart

Chapter 6

6.1        Puerto Edén              Addition to notes.
             Caleta Apalá             Addition to notes and sketch chart.
P121     Canal Wide              Comment on ice
P123     Continuation
              Seno Tres Cerros     Addition to notes and sketch chart
6.10       Estero Dock             Addition to notes
6.13       Bahía Tom                Addition to notes and sketch chart
6.19       Otter Pool                 Nothing to add
P125      Pitt Canal S End       Addition to notes

Chapter 7

7.1       Puerto Bueno             Nothing to add
P129   Caleta Damien            Addition to notes and sketch chart.
7.3      Cta Moonlight
           Shadow                      Addition to notes and sketch chart
P131   Canal Harriet              Addition to notes and sketch chart
P 131  Caleta Sadko             Addition to notes and sketch chart
7.6      Caleta Victoria           Nothing to add to notes. 
P 137  Cta Desaparecidos     Addition to notes and sketch chart     
7.23          Passage between Isla Ismael and Isla Focus – waypoint
7.25     Puerto Consuelo         Addition to notes and sketch chart
7.13     Caleta Mist                 Nothing to add to notes
7.14     Estuario Kuven           Nothing to add to notes
7.28     Bahia Mallet               Addition to notes
7.31     Caleta Dardé              Nothing to add to notes

Chapter 8

8.4      Bahía Wodsworth       Addition to notes
8.6      Caleta Mostyn             Minor correction to notes.
P150   Paso Tortuoso            Addition to notes.
8.12    Bahía Borja                Nothing to add to notes.
8.20    Canal Acwalisan         Nothing to add.
8.21    Caleta Felix                Addition to notes and sketch chart
8.22    Caleta Hidden            Addition to notes

Chapter 9

P 166   Caleta Cludo             Addition to notes and sketch chart.
P 166   Paso Adrade Taraba  Addition to notes           
P168    Canal Ocasión           Addition to note
9.12     Caleta Brecknock      Addition to notes
9.13           Puertto Paso              Nothing to add
9.21      Caleta Emilita            Addition to notes and sketch chart
9.26      Bahiá Tres Brazos     Nothing to add

Chapter 10
10.2        Seno Pia                 Addition to notes and sketch chart
10.4        Caleta Olla             Nothing to add to notes but new sketch chart
P 183      Caleta Segura         Addition to notes and sketch chart
10.10      Puerto Williams       Addition to notes

P20            Tandem Anchoring

Re retrieval line:  I find it better not to attach the retrieval line to the main anchor chain.  Simply attach a retrieval line of floating rope with a bight in its end and 3m longer than the chain connecting the two anchors to the crown of the first down anchor.  On retrieval, when the primary (second down) anchor is at surface, pick up the bight of the floating line with a boat hook and haul in the second anchor over the other bow roller.  This considerably simplifies retrieving the second anchor, particularly on a vessel with a bowsprit as the retrieval line does not have to be passed around the bow.


Most yachts (and no fishermen) drop a bow anchor and back in to the selected nook then send stern lines ashore.  This is difficult if the vessel is low-powered, has a small crew and/or is long-keeled and it is windy. 

The manoeuvre is simpler if the yacht is motored into the berth forwards and the kedge let go from the stern.  Once in the desired spot stop the yacht by snubbing on the kedge.  If necessary the yacht can be manoeuvred sideways into the desired berth with the engine slow ahead using the prop wash against the rudder, while the anchor prevents the yacht moving forward (“ferry walking”) and kept on station while lines are run ashore.  This is difficult or impossible if the yacht has backed in.  Going in forwards means that if things go wrong and the yacht grounds, the grounding is with the forefoot.  This will sustain little damage from a gentle grounding whereas going in backwards risks damage to the rudder, propeller and perhaps self-steering.

If necessary, the bower anchor can be dropped underfoot on short scope to stop the bow sheering about in a cross wind while the bow lines are run ashore.  This should only be necessary if single-handed as when there is a helmsman, she or he can easily control the position of the yacht with the rudder.  The whole manoeuvre is slow and controlled, even in strong winds, and communication between the helmsman and anchor handler is simple as both are at the same end of the yacht.  As a bonus the yacht generally ends up with her bows into the worst weather, which is comfortable and safe.  

For a single-hander, the above system is almost essential.  Incidentally, it works well mooring to quays in the Mediterranean, which is where I first used it, on a vessel with an outboard motor and no effective reverse gear.  This technique obviously is not going to work so well on a yacht with an offset propeller or with the propeller above the rudder as they cannot ferry walk. 

The kedge does not need to be very large as strains on it are small.  It is not subject to sheering and snubbing strains because the bow lines keep the yacht steady and it is usually on a long scope.  Some sort of fairlead or roller at the stern makes it easier to run and retrieve the kedge, but this can be as simple as a pot-hauling block slung from the pushpit if the pushpit is substantial.  Most kedge anchors are largely on rope, making it possible to use the sheet winches to do the hard work of retrieval.  In winter it will probably be necessary to pour hot water over the winches to thaw them before starting to retrieve the anchor.


P22      FUEL


Kerosene is available from some service stations.  It is labelled “kerosene” on the pumps but generally called parafina.  Chilean kerosene is of excellent quality.  It is NOT available in Puerto Natales, Puerto Williams or Puerto Edén.  Although kerosene is not available in Puerto Natales, it can be bought across the Argentine border in Rio Turbio which is only abut 25 km away.  Unfortunately its import into Chile is prohibited and as the Chilean quarantine service, SAG, inspects all vehicles entering Chile, including the spare tyre well, smuggling kerosene across the border is a bit chancy.

P22            HEATING

For those using wood-burning stoves for heat tepu when it can be obtained is the fuel of choice.  It burns well green, wet or dry and is far superior to beech.  The fishermen often leave off cuts of the smaller branches when they cut wood.  The off cuts are about the right size for a yacht stove. 

Identification of Tepu

Tepu is a bushy, medium sized tree whose trunk seldom exceeds 30 cm diameter.  It grows along the coast south to about Estrecho Magellanes, often overhanging the shore.  The leaves are oval with smooth margins and are small, typically 5mm by 2mm.  They have a dark green waxy, glossy upper surface and a light green underside.  The bark is thin and tightly adhering but often encrusted with epiphytes on the lower limbs.  The wood is pinkish red when freshly cut and very dense.  It does not float, green or dry.

2.7 Isla Huelmo

41°39.19’S 73°03.50’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts 7000, 7300, 7310

The mussel farms are extensive and unlit. 


2.8 Puerto Montt


It is probably worth adding that the tide range is about 7m on springs, but the streams are weak, rarely exceeding 1 knot.


Isla Guar

Isla Guar is 15 miles south of Puerto Montt and has a pleasant patchwork of small farms covering its rolling hills, lots of bird life including black-necked swans.  The island’s south side is deeply indented by two inlets.  Both inlets provide anchorage sheltered from all winds except S to SE, however a SW winds over 30 knots sends a swell into both bays.  The western inlet, Estero Chauqui, is probably slightly better protected than the eastern inlet, Estero Chipue.  However the anchorage in Estero Chipue is prettier and has a wider, flatter shelf for anchoring.  It marginally the better of the two.

Estero Chipue

41°41.90’S 72°54.50W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 7320
The approach is deep and free of dangers.  Anchor about 400 m south of the narrows a little to the E of mid-channel in 12-15m, apparently good holding.  The bay shoals towards the narrows, but the echo sounder gives sufficient warning that grounding is unlikely.  The eastern shore is steep to and the western shore has shoals with less than 3 m extending out 200m or so.  There are no marine installations in the entrance and approaches, which makes a night departure possible if chased out by a strong S wind.

Estero Chipue extends north for over a mile from the anchorage with general depths of about 1.5 metres.  The bottom is clean and should be navigable for a yacht of average draft at half tide or more.  There appears to be a float hole deep enough for most yachts in the small bay beyond the second narrows.  This bay has about 2.4 or 2.6m with a clean sand bottom.  Protection should be total.  I sounded this section from a dinghy and did not take Iron Bark in.  It would be wise to anchor outside and sound with a dinghy before attempting this section, as my tide reductions to get depths at low water may not be accurate.

Tide range is about 5 metres and the tidal stream in the first narrows reaches 3 knots. The tidal stream in the anchorage may be as much as 2 knots.

Estero Chauqui

41°41.75’S 72°57.35’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts: 7320
Sketch chart attached

Estero Chauqui is the western and larger of the two inlets on the south coast of Isla Guar.  In January 2010 there were two salmon farms in the middle of the bay with a wide, clear channel on either side of them.  The bay is deep and shoals rapidly at head, where a small river has deposited a bank that rises abruptly from 30m.  The best berth appears to be about 250 metres from the head of the bay and 100m from the eastern shore in 20m.  The E shore is steep-to and clean, so it is safe to swing within 20 metres of the shore.  The bottom is fairly steeply sloping but the holding appears to be good.  The anchor came up clean, so I do not know what the bottom consists of, but the chain did rumble on the bottom.

With a strong SW wind protection may be better on W shore of Estero Chauqui, but the bottom here rises steeply close to the shore and the anchor will be pulling down the slope.  Estero Chipue is probably better in these conditions.

2.16 Isla Malomacun

42°03.37S 72°37.33W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Charts: 7340

See attached sketch chart

There is a good all-weather anchorage between Malomacun and Isla Torro, which may be entered from either the north or south end.  The drying shoal shown at the south end of the channel on chart Chile 7340 does NOT exist and the anchorage can be safely approached either from either the N or S.

The slot between the islands is about 400m long and widens from 80m at the N end to 200m at the S.  The anchorage is in the south end of the slot.  The bottom looks to be sand, but my chain rumbled as if it was at least partly rocky, but holding is apparently good. 

The easiest approach is from the S via the channel between Isla Linguar and Isla Malomacun.  This channel is deep and clean, with a few fish farms moored on the north shore.  The N entrance to Malamacún is narrower and in January 2010 was partially obstructed by a derelict salmon cage moored on the W shore.  There was a 40m wide passage left E of the salmon cage with least depth of 20m.

One of the vessels moored to the W (Malomacun) shore was operating as a fish receiving depot in January 2010 with a stream of small fishing boats coming in to unload their catch throughout the day and much of the night.  An anchor lamp low in the fore rigging, not just a masthead light, is essential.


Diversion: Canal Hornopirén and Estero Comau

Isla Peloda
41°59.90S 72°28.70’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart: 7340
Sketch chart attached

There are three anchorages near the N end of Isla Peloda, all requiring anchoring in 10-15m with shore lines.  These are a caleta on the NW corner of Isla Peloda which is open to the N and NW, a caleta on the NE corner which is open to the N and NE and a caleta on the northern part of the W coast which is open to the SW.  The first two anchorages are described with sketch charts in Patagonia and Tierra de Fuego Nautical Guide.

The third one (not described in PTFNG) probably the most secure of the three: see sketch chart. The anchorage is about 600m S of the NW corner of Isla Peloda; GPS position 41° 59.90’S   72°28.70’W.  Access is clear.  Anchor in 10-15m with shorelines.  The notch is large enough to allow shorelines from all 4 quarters of the yacht if required. 
(I poked in and sounded the caleta from Iron Bark but did not spend a night here.)

2.18 Islote Manila (Rada Poteros de Cholgo)

The scale on the sketch map is wrong: I think is should be 0-0.1 miles not 0-0.5 miles.  The channel between Islote Manila and Isla Llanchue is only 60 or 70 metres wide and swinging room in the anchorage N of Islote Manila is very restricted.  There appears to be an equally good (or bad) berth 50 metres S of Islote Manila.  The blue house mentioned in the text had so much paint peeling off that in January 2010 it was hard to identify.

Estero Quintupeu
42°10.31’S 72°22.01’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Chart: 7340

Sketch plan attached

In January 2010, there were only 2 salmoneras in Estero Quintupeu, both moored on the north shore.

Attached is a sketch plan of the anchorage on the S coast of Estero Quintupeu although I did not use the anchorage.  It looks as if it could be difficult or dangerous in bad weather.  There is little room and the anchor is going to be on short scope.  If it drags the vessel will almost certainly swing pendulum fashion on to a solid rock shore.  Anchoring on the shelf at the head of the fiord looks to be better option.  There is room to have 60 m of scope in 12m of water (say 16m at HW) and if the anchor drags the landing is relatively soft.  I think I would prefer to ride out a blow with tandem anchors on the edge of the barrachois, despite the long fetch and funnelling of wind, than tied up in the S caleta, but neither prospect fills me with joy. 

Perhaps add that this is a good place for wood and water, both of which are hard to come by in Gulfo Reloncaví.

2.26 Isla Buta Chauques
42°17’S 73°08’W

Chart: 7390

Sketch chart attached

The northern lagoon immediately north of the narrows at the entrance channel is shallower than shown on sketch chart 2.26, probably due to shoaling.  I sounded the lagoon at low water neaps and found a fairly wide flat with 1.9 to 2.0m just north of the narrows entrance channel when the Puerto Montt tide was 2.54m, suggesting there is only about 1 metre of water at low water springs.  At the same time, the depth in the entrance channel was 4m, consistent with 3 metres at LWS, as charted on 2.26.  Two of the larger fishing boats left the lagoon while I was sounding and they both crossed the flats inside the entrance very cautiously then opened up their engines when they reached the narrows.  When I crossed these flats in Iron Bark a little after half tide the minimum depth was 4.1m.  At the same time the depth in the shallow northern entrance was 3.6m where there is 0.5 m charted, which is consistent with there being about 1.0m at LWS at the northern lagoon entrance. 

More importantly, there is a power line across the inner part of the northern lagoon that is low enough to foul the mast of most yachts.  The power line is about half way up the lagoon.   It is much lower on the N side of the lagoon.  A very rough set of sextant angles (rough because I had no accurate way of measuring the base line) gave its height to be 12m on the north side and 18-20m on the south side near high water neaps, so these heights would be reduced by about another 1 metre at high water springs.  Iron Bark with a topmast 14.5m above water level, got under close to the S shore with adequate clearance.

In January 2010 there were no salmonera in the lagoon.  There were some mussel floats in the N part of the eastern arm.   

When using the SW entrance, I found much more water than shown on sketch chart 2.26 – see attached tracing of chart 2.26.  In January 2010 a patch of kelp was visible marking Banco Pájeros on the SE side of the entrance.  I did not sail across to look for Banco Medio on the other side of the channel.

2.27 Isla Mechuque
42°19’S 73°15’W

Chart 7390, 7392

Delete from column 1: “due east of a large palafito.  The palafito had fallen down in January 2010, so is not much use as an anchoring mark. 
Replace in column 2:  “There are several good anchorages around….. between NW and SE.  There are good views of snow-capped mountains…” with: There are several good anchorages around the group including Estero Voigue, a lagoon indenting the SE end of Isla Cheniao.  In February 2010 the area was free of fish farms, but this is not always the case and room may be restricted by anchored salmoneras.  Favour the south side of the entrance, which is steep-to, thus avoiding a drying shoal extending out from the north shore.   The best anchorage is just before the final pool in 6 to 7m with good holding.  Near the centre of the pool and further SE the holding is poor.  There are good views of snow-capped mountains… (In this SE and central area we had 2 tries before the anchor held, with much rumbling of the chain on a rocky or pebbly bottom.  Another yacht dragged repeatedly in 25-30 knots of wind, ended up aground, got off, gave up and went elsewhere.)

2.28 Dalcahue
42°23’S 73°4’W

Charts: 7371

The anchorage was crowded with moored fishing boats and ferries in January 2010. 
Add:  Canal Dalcahue, SE arm.  There are fore and back range marks (red and white striped towers) leading clear of the shoals in this section of the channel.

2.30 Caleta Rilán
42°32S 72°38W

Charts: 7370

Nothing new to add, but attached is a tracing of sketch chart 2.30 more soundings.

2.29 Castro
42°28’S 73°46’W

Charts: 7372

Add:  In January 2010 the docks SE of the Armada were undergoing an extensive rebuild and the armada did not allow foreign yachts to use their floating pontoon, making landing difficult.  The best place to land is the beach/ramp W of the anchorage near the pink hotel.

I did not enquire about getting water from the armada dock, but suspect they would be unhelpful.  The armada in Castro do not seem to answer any radio calls.  They do however expect a yacht to attend the office to check in and out.  Unlike Radio Castro, Radio Achao and Radio Quemchi were both efficient and courteous in handling PIM calls.   The indifference or inefficiency of Castro Armada in January 2010 was presumably a function of the personnel posted there at the time and the situation may be very different at some future date.

The fuel station on the harbour front is gone, which is inconvenient.  Fuel can only be got by jerry can from Castro Alto.  Use a fletes, which cost me in January 2010 $3,000.  With better Spanish than mine it may be possible to negotiate a lower price. There is a fletes stand near the craft market on the foreshore S of the Armada station.

2.36 Estero Ichuac
42°36.92’S 73°43.66’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

In January 2010 there was a large salmonera in the entrance to the bay.

2.41 Estero Pailad

Nothing new to add, but it might be worth mentioning that it is one of the prettiest and most peaceful anchorages in Chiloé with excellent bird watching.

2.43 Estero Huildad
43°04.33’S 73°31.71’W (Malfanti Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts: 7400, 7430, 7431, 7440
Sketch chart attached

Tidal scour has altered the depths in this anchorage considerably since it was charted in 1949, and also since the sketch chart 2.43 was drawn.  Attached is a sketch chart with the situation in January 2010, also subject to change with time.

The anchorage near the spit is steeply shelving and subject to strong tidal currents, but secure in normal conditions.  Estero Malfanti, the bay 0.5 miles W of the entrance, which has a salmon farm in the W part, is a much better anchorage.  The bottom shoals gradually, the holding is excellent and is well out of the way of passing fishing boat traffic.  The maximum tidal stream in this anchorage is about 1½ knots, and the bay was comfortable with a northerly wind of 30-35 knots against the tide.  It is very well sheltered from S winds.

The tide runs through the entrance at 5 knots on springs. 

2.10 Isla Marimeli
41°40.96’S 72°26.46’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart: 7330
Sketch chart attached

The small bay at the NE end of the island is one of the most secure and sheltered anchorages in Seno Reloncavi.  It is very pretty, and the local fishermen particularly friendly. 

Rocks obstruct the N entrance, enter from the E.  The entrance is not visible until quite close and there are several rocks that dry 3 metres about 150m E of the entrance.  The obvious approach from the E once the entrance channel is open to view is unsafe as it takes a vessel over these rocks, invisible at high tide.  Approach from the SE heading NW keeping about 100m offshore outside the mussel floats (Feb 2010) until E of the rocky islet in the entrance then steer E to pass about 20m N of the islet.  The entrance channel should not open to view until less than 100m from the rocky islet.

Once in the entrance channel, there are several drying rocks on the north side to avoid.  Pass close N of the rocky islet in the entrance, then steer to pass close N of the large rock 50m further W.  This rock dries 5 or 6m and is probably always visible.  The bay NW of this rock has several drying rocks.  Steer as near to the S shore as marine installations allow.  In Feb 2010 the safe course was 5m off the floating fish farm. 

Turn into the anchorage as soon as it opens to avoid a drying rock on the west side of the entrance to the anchorage.  This rock is about 25 or 30m off the W shore and dries about 0.5m.  The anchorage is 70m wide and 100m long with depths of 6m at low water, with a tide range of about 5m, so a stern line is necessary.  Run the shore line to the rocky islet in the middle of the channel.  As this islet has nothing more substantial than gorse growing on it, the line needs to be attached by passing a wire or chain sling around the rocks.  The N channel dries a LW but is much used at HW by local boats.  Do obstruct this channel by running lines to the main islands.  Tidal streams in the anchorage are weak.

2.44 Puerto Quellón
43°07.62’S 73°38.07’W (W Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 7440


The approach through Canal Laitec or Canal Yelcho is straightforward.  The approach through Canal Chiguao saves 5 miles when sailing south, but requires threading through a fairly narrow channel between sandbanks and rocky shoals. 
Directions for Canal Chiguao:  From seaward, approach WP1 (43°10.75’S 73°28.80’W) which is off the SE end of Banco Chiguao, then steer towards the light on Pta Dirección until approximately 300 metres offshore (WP: 43°10.50’S 73°29.57’W).  Turn northwards and sail parallel to the coast keeping 300-400 metres offshore until the leading marks on Isla Chiloé are in line (WP3: 43°09.87’S 73°29.90’W), then follow the lead marks until clear of Banco Oratario, which is marked by kelp (WP4: 43°08.82’S 73°29.90’W).  The remainder of Canal Chiguao and the approaches to Quellón and Bahía Huellonquen are clear of dangers. There are two new large and uncharted wharfs 2 ½ miles east of Quellón. 

All other information in section 2.44 was correct and current in March 2010, except the population is at least double the 8000 in the text. 

We anchored Iron Bark as suggested to the E of the main pier and landed the dinghy on shore below a set of steps going up the sea wall.  We had no problems, but were warned by several people that this was not wise because of thieves.  Unfortunately it is hard to find an alternative as the ferry and fishing piers are busy with constant coming and going of vessels of all sizes and there is nowhere to tuck a dinghy out of the traffic.  At night we shifted to the W end of the bay, which is much quieter than in front of the town.  We anchored off a rather derelict jetty in 12m, good holding mud, and had a comfortable night there in NW6-8. 


General / Routes

Add: If heading south from Quellón it is possible to carry a fair tide all the way to Melinka by leaving near high water at Quellón.  If leaving from Puerto San Pedro, depart about 2 hours after high water. 

3.9 Isla Valverde – S Estero
44°20.1’S 73°46.2’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8300

Holding in the N bay is variable on rocks and mud.  Iron Bark took three attempts to get the anchor to hold.

3.1 Isla Benjamin - Arboles Espectales. 
44°39.57’S 73°53.09’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Nothing to add.

3.23 Isla Canal – Estero Sur
44°51.70’S 73°42.51’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8300

Add:  The wooden water pipe on sketch chart 3.28 was not there in March 2010.  The best watering spot was from the stream S of the label “rocky beach”.  Water from this stream was tannin stained but sweet tasting.

3.32 Seno Aysén – Estero Sangra
45°21’S 73°19.5W


3.32 Seno Aysén – Estero Arnoldo
45°21.27’S 73°19.32W (Outer Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8610
Approach way point:  45°20.73’S 73°19.86’W

This long estuary 1 mile SE of Isla Colorado that is named Estero Arnoldo on Chart 8610 was previously informally named Estero Sangra.  The estuary provides wonderful shelter in most attractive surroundings.  The entrance is a little difficult to see from Fiordo Aysén, but in April 2010 was marked by informal beacons made from salmon farm mooring floats.  A line of drying rocks extends 100 metres NE from the SW entrance point.  Keep reasonably close to the NE shore to avoid them.  Once past the first point the estuary is clean. 

There are many possible anchorage spots in the estuary, but the best two are as shown on the sketch chart.  The second bay from the entrance provides a secure anchorage with good holding in pleasant surroundings.  Either anchor in 18-20m with ample swinging room in the middle of the bay or closer to the shore with a stern line to the trees to get protection from the wind.  There is an excellent clear steam for watering on the E shore of the bay.  In April 2010 there were no fishing installations in this bay.

The inner anchorage shown in the sketch plan is completely landlocked and well protected.  Its entrance is narrow and not easy to see.  There is an islet in the entry channel: pass E of this, keeping mid-channel to avoid a drying rock just inside the E side of the inner pool.  Anchor with restricted swinging room or take a line ashore.  In April 2010 there were two salmoneras off the entrance to this anchorage but no obstructions to the entrance.  A net was stretch across the narrow channel W of the islet.

3.37 Seno Aysén – Puerto Chacabuco
45°27.43S 72°48.70’W (Ensenada Baja Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8610, 8611

P82, Anchorages  The directions for entry were accurate in April 2010 but there appears to have been some silting of Ensenada Baja particularly close to the E point of Peninsula Fontaine.  The shallowest water in the approach is where shown on sketch chart 3.37, but is less than charted, probably about 0.3m at LWS.  Iron Bark with a draft of 1.5m went aground here at low water neaps on an Orange Bay tide of 1.1m and Puerto Chacabuco tide of 1.27m.  The bottom is soft mud, so grounding is not a serious matter, and we came off after the tide had risen 0.1m. This suggests that the Chacabuco tide required for entering Esenada Baja is vessel’s draft PLUS 0.2m (eg a vessel of 1.8m draft will require 1.6m tide to enter).  We proceeded in despite it being near low water having decided it was more comfortable to wait on tide aground in soft mud than to stand off and on in the windy channel off Bahía Chacabuco.  Nearer spring tides this may not be such a pleasant option.

There were only two small salmon pens in Ensenada Baja in April 2020, both in the centre of the bay, but this of course is subject to change. 

The best berth in Ensenada Baja is in the SE corner, near the road.  Access to shore is easiest from there and the smell from the fish plant is reduced, but at the cost of some road noise.  Given the windy nature of the anchorage, the road noise will seldom be heard.  This berth is out of the worst rachas, which screech over the blue-roofed fish plant and along the Peninsula Fontaine shore, further to the NW, but this part of the anchorage is still very windy.

Puerto Chacabuco anchorage:  As access to and from Ensenada Baja is shallow and restricted by tide, it may be necessary to anchor in Puerto Chacabuco to wait on tide or daylight.  The best place to anchor while waiting is at the S end of the bay off the fish farm dock and blue-roofed buildings, 12m silt, very good holding but subject to rachas.  This is a safe, but inconvenient and potentially uncomfortable berth.  It is too far from town to be accessible by most yacht’s dinghies except in (rare) calm weather and is very close to a large, noisy diesel generator that, in April 2020, ran for much of the day and night. 

P 81, Sketch chart 3.37, Puerto Chacabuco.  “White shrine under cliff” was painted bright yellow in April 2010, and there were only 2 small salmoneras anchored in Ensenada Baja.  Both subject to change, of course.

3.38 Isla Tralguén - Caleta Christiane
Replace with

3.38 Isla Traiguén – Caleta Tronador
45°31.29S 73°34.40W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts 8620, 8650

The N most indentation on Isla Traiguén is called Caleta Tronador on charts 8620 and 8650.  It was previously known informally as Caleta Christiane.  The bay is open to the E and SE but provides good shelter from the N and W. 

The approach is easy and clean.  Anchor in 12-15m off the cascade at the head of the caleta in mud and sand with room to swing or take a line ashore or pick up one of the two large mooring that were in the middle of the bay in April 2010.

3.39 Caleta Lynch
45°46.52’S 73°33.58’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
45°46.25’S 73°33.95’W (Approach WP, WGS84)
Chart 8650

Anchor in the NW corner of the inner pool in 18-20m with a line ashore.  In April 2010 there was a mooring buoy in the deep water in the centre of the inner pool, which did not impede anchoring in the NW corner.  There is no good watering stream in this bay.

3.48 Paso Quesahuén
45°24S 73°45’W
Chart 8670

Time of HW.  We found slack water in Paso Quesahuén to be between 1 hr 30min and 1hr 45min before Orange Bay (4 tides observed).


Paso Quesahuén is 300m wide and the stream reaches 5 to 7 knots and is turbulent.  Traversing the pass with a strong favourable tide is alarming is but probably not dangerous.  Few yachts have enough engine power to pass through the narrows against the full force of the tide, especially the ebb.  If possible time your arrival to coincide with the beginning or end of the flood tide and to exit on the beginning or end of the ebb. 

Approach from the NE passing about 300m SE of the E end of Isla Leonor then steer 244° to pass 300m NW of Isla Pelado which easily identified by the light on it.  There are no dangers S of Isla Peloda but the tidal disturbance extends a long way S.

3.49 Golfo Elephantes –Bahía Quesahuén
46°24.00’S 73°47.46’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8670

After “There are two entrances to the bay: one immediately S of Isla Leonor and the other S of the first prominent islet.”  Add “The latter is probably the easiest as it has the shortest distance in the strong current.  Steer to pass close to the higher, rounded islet on the N side of the gap as underwater rocks extend a short distance from the long, low islet on the S side.”

Re” Good holding but not a particularly attractive spot” I beg to differ.   Good holding certainly, but we spent 2 nights there and thought it very attractive with forest-covered hills close on one hand a view of snowy mountains on the other.  It is tranquil but not quiet.  The forest had birds including woodpeckers and there was a large group of small, friendly Chilean black dolphin puffing and bubbling around the boat all night.  A small mink twice climbed up the anchor chain and was quite unperturbed by being photographed and so was difficult to shoo off we called him Don Descaro.

3.52    Rio Témpanos
Chart 8670

The current in any part of Rio Témpanos is probably never strong enough to prevent a yacht of average engine power making the passage in either direction, though it may be slow going at times particularly at the south end.   It should be possible to make the trip from Bahía Quesahuén or Rio de Patos to the glacier and back in a day without taking tides in to account.  The amount of ice in Rio Témpanos in April 2010 was not enough to impede navigation either on the ebb or the flood tide.

Paso de Vidts, the entrance to Rio Témpanos, is not difficult to negotiate.  The entrance is S of the S end of Isla Leopardo, between Ite Entrada and a red buoy 300m to the S.  Turn N once clear of Ite Entrada and steer to pass 50m E of Isla Observación, then continue N then W around the buoyed shallows.  Once past the last pair of buoys, the channel is deep enough for a yacht to motor in close to the banks if necessary to get out of the worst of an adverse current except for the bay on the W side of the channel at the S end of Rio Témpanos.  This bay is shoal and had quite bit of grounded ice in when we went by.


4.11 Isla Humos – Caleta Jacqueline
45°43.83’S 73°57.49’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8640, 8650

All information correct in May 2010.  I anchored with shorelines in front of the cascade in the NW corner, which was a waste of time and effort.  Unless bad weather is expected from the E, swinging in the main basin is at least as comfortable.

4.12    Canals Errázuriz and Chacabuco – Caleta Charlotte
45°45.46’S 73°53.57’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8650


This unnamed caleta has been nicknamed Charlotte after the daughter of Oscar Prochelle, who discovered this anchorage.  It should provide good shelter in all winds except S.


Approach through the small channel between Isla Fitzroy and Isla Puisco.  The tide can run hard through this channel and may exceed 4 knots on the ebb.  There is a drying mid-channel rock about half way down the canal that is difficult to see at high tide; keep close to the NW shore to avoid it.  This rock has an impressive bow wave at half ebb.  The rest of the channel is free of dangers, but care is required to avoid being swept on to the islets at the S end of the channel as the tide sets strongly towards them.   Anchor in the small bay in 2.5m, mud, good holding.  The inner part of the bay is has a shallow bar across it.

4.18    Isla Clemente – Puerto Mallibú
45°44.04’S 74°36.05’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8720, 8721

I am not sure what the sentence “The bay, a shallow indentation, is in front of some old tent posts” refers to, but in May 2010 no old tent posts were visible anywhere in Estero Clemente.  All else was current in May 2010.  There is a new SHOA chart of Estero Clemente on WGS84 datum.

4.26 Peninsula de Taitao –Bahía San Andres – Caleta Suárez
46°36.80’S 75°27.69 (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 8112, 8800

The information in the chart and text is accurate, but the following additions may be useful.
Positions taken from Chart 8112 differ from WGS84 by about ¾ mile.  For those entering without radar in fog (which I did) the waypoints on the sketch chart may help. 

Fishermen use Caleta Suárez as a refuge from bad weather.  They throw their rubbish over the side indiscriminately so there is much plastic and other litter on the beaches, distracting from the intrinsic beauty of the place, but the turkey vultures love it.  It has also attracted rats to the adjacent shore and twice rats swam out and boarded Iron Bark by climbing a mooring line.  It is an excellent www stop (a wood, water and washing stop).  Because of cutting by fishermen, there is no tepu left immediately adjacent to the anchorage, but there is still plenty if you are willing to row.

Iron Bark spent a total of 2 weeks in Caleta Suárez waiting on weather, and the anchorage filled up with fishing boats as the weather forecast deteriorated until there were 16 fishing boats and Iron Bark rafted together.  The main raft was 12 wide (plus Iron Bark) and extended across the caleta so that the outside boat on either side was within 4 or 5 metres of the shore.  The last 4 boats moored across the sterns of the boats in the main raft, at right angles to them.  I was told that in the recent spell of bad weather there were 27 fishing boats sheltering in Caleta Suárez which is a very considerable crowd in such a tight spot.

A yacht certainly does not want to be in the middle of a raft displacing 600 or 700 tonnes if the weather is nasty.  I anchored and secured using 2 shore lines on the NE side of the caleta, as close to the shore as seemed prudent.  This allowed new arrivals to attach themselves to the main raft of fishing boats in the centre of the caleta.  The raft grew until it filled the caleta from side to side and eventually reached me and I secured to the outside boat with breast and spring lines so that Iron Bark would not surge under the flare of that boat’s bows.

Inflatable fenders are useless if it is blowing hard.  As the boats surge apart, the fenders blow out horizontally and are streaming off above deck level when the boats crash together again.  Tyres work well and the fishing boats are well supplied with them.  The fishermen are unfailingly helpful and generally excellent seamen and boat handlers, but they are used to substantially built vessels and may ask more of a yacht’s deck gear than it was designed for.  At one stage a fisherman attached a spring to temporarily hold the full weight of a 70 tonne displacement vessel to one of Iron Bark’s stanchion bases.  It was only for a few minutes while they ran a bow line ashore, but it was blowing hard and the strain on the line was considerable.  Iron Bark’s stanchions are capable of taking that sort of strain, but not all yacht’s stanchions or even deck cleats are that substantial. 

Most fishing boats appear to be dry (no alcohol), and it avoids the potential for embarrassment or trouble if a yacht also becomes a dry ship while in close company with a large group of them.  

P 99  Passage
Crossing the Gulf de Penas

With the publication of new charts 9300 and 9311, both of which are on WGS84 datum, the difficulty of approaching Isla San Pedro in poor visibility is eased.  I used a waypoint of 47°40.0’S 74°50.0’W about 2.5M NE of San Pedro light as my approach waypoint. 

5.13 Isla Zealous – Caleta Ardevora
47°48.84’S 74°38.56’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9300


Approach WP 47°49.12’S 74°37.57’W (WGS84).  Caleta Ardevora is reached via Canal Cronje which has a very irregular bottom.  There is a pinnacle rock just north of the entrance to Caleta Ardevora where the depths decrease from over 100m to less than 7 metres in a few boat lengths.  I sounded around and the shallowest I found was 6.8m at about LW springs, so it should not be a problem for a yacht.  Further south the bottom is irregular and rocky, but not dangerous to a yacht, varying in depth from 150m to 27m.  See sketch chart of Canal Cronje.

Several islands and rocks constrict Canal Cronje off the SE corner of Isla Zealous.  I passed between Isla Zealous and the small islet in the middle of the channel with the islet to port and Isla Zealous to starboard when southbound in a least depth of 45m.  This passage is (incorrectly) shown as foul on Chart 9300.  There is probably a clear passage on the E side of the islet, but I did not try it.  Once clear of the islet, turn to the SW to pass mid channel between Islotes Origen and Isla Zealous.  Islotes Origen are two small rocks with some low bushes on them and have foul ground extending a short distance N and S.  See sketch chart of Canal Cronje.

I have made a new sketch chart of Caleta Ardevora, not because it adds any new information, but to show the position of the approach GPS waypoint. 

5.13 Peninsula Swett – Puerto Island
48°03.11’S 74°35.39’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9300, 9311

Approach way point 48°03.54’S 74°35.91’W
There is a new WGS84 datum survey of Puerto Island (Chart 9311). 
I think the line “Yachts can anchor nearby but further in, on a mud bottom, in 12m” is optimistic.   By the time a yacht is in 12m there is very little swinging room, so unless using shore lines, anchor in 17m a bit further out.  There was no Armada mooring buoy was in Puerto Island in May 2010.

5.16 Isla Little Wellington – Caleta Point Lay
48°20.33’S 74°33.50’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9400
Sketch chart
Approach waypoint (off Point Lay) 48°21.26’S 74°32.70’W.

The “Bare flat rock covers” on the sketch chart does not cover entirely and in May 2010 there were bushes growing on one end of it.  The rock NW of it does cover but is marked by kelp.  It dries about 0.5m.  Attached is a sketch chart to show this and the approach waypoint.

It was blowing 40 knots from the NW when I approached Caleta Point Lay and I was worried about being able to round up and enter the bay. However Point Lay gave good lee and Iron Bark had no difficulty motoring up the bay into the shelter at the head of the bay.  I anchored and warped into the small cove at the head of the bay, an excellent, well-sheltered nook.  I let go in 9m, stiff mud, excellent holding and took two lines ashore.  Later I ran two more lines ashore so I was moored on all fours in anticipation of a wind shift to the south.  The wind did shift and blew hard, but my anchor did not budge at all and the extra lines were unnecessary.

The anchorage is a very pretty one, secure and well sheltered.  Good wood, water and washing.

5.20 Caleta Yvonne
48°39.83.33’S 74°19.30’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9400

Approach WP 48°40.01.33’S 74°19.34’W.  All technical detail correct and current in May 2010.  It may be worth picking up an outline from Google Earth and redrawing the sketch chart as it is a bit distorted.  I will do so if I can get access to Internet, but this is unlikely. 

The “small rock awash at high water” is about 200m offshore.  The “Rocks reported at the entrance to the western cove” in the supplement are so close to the shore that any reasonable approach will avoid them.  The rock at the head of the cove in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide 5.16 is so close to the high tide mark that a yacht would very nearly have its bowsprit in the trees to touch it.

There is no easily accessible watering and washing stream, but there is plenty of tepu.

5.22 Caleta Vittorio
48°54.16’S 74°21.65’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9510

Approach WP 48°54.48’S 74°21.28’W.  All technical information correct.  Swinging room in the middle of the bay is barely adequate so I anchored off centre and ran a line to the opposite shore.  The bottom is mud, excellent holding.

6.1 Puerto Edén
49°07.66’S 74’24.77’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9510, 9511

Approach WP (Paso de Este) 49°08.28’S 74°23.00’W.  All technical information correct. 

Facilities:  The Armada now have an office in the Carabineros’ building at the foot of the new jetty, although their base is still across the bay.  After calling the Armada by radio to let them know you are coming, anchor in front of the village and the Armada  will come out by boat to check you in.  Any other formalities will probably take place in the Carabineros office. 

I anchored in 12m, mud and rocks on the E side of the bay to keep clear of the dock.  It blew hard from the NW while I was in Puerto Edén and there was a lot of rumbling of chain over rocks but the anchor never moved although it came up entangled with kelp.

There is too much traffic to consider mooring at the new dock, though there would probably be no problem coming alongside for water.  There is a water hose on the dock but I did not check the quality of the water.

Fuel is still available from the old chap at Hospidaje Edén.  He seemed very defensive about the price and apparently reluctant to sell at first.  I suspect he has heard the rather harsh criticism of him in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide.  Once he realised that I had no problem with paying a premium for remote location service, fuel was immediately available (from being not available for several days).  The fuel is drummed and the lot I got was of excellent quality.  The price was $800/litre compared with $520 in Chacabuco.  I thought that was not an unreasonable premium to pay for the effort of putting it into drums, hauling it several hundred miles and holding it for a considerable time for passing yachts.  I have paid a larger premium for less in remote parts of Australia.

Internet is advertised as being available at the school, but did not seem to be available.  The only way I could get an email sent to the Aduana to extend the yacht’s temporary importation was to borrow the Carabineros machine. 

No ATM.  Very basic provisions for sale at a considerable premium on mainland prices.

Isla Saumarez – Paso Piloto Pardo - Caleta Apalá
49°32.10’S 74°24.04’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9500, 9530

This anchorage unnamed s on the chart but is called informally Caleta Apalá in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide.  The bay is on the W side of Isla Saumarez off Paso Piloto Pardo and is open to the SW but otherwise protected.  It is surrounded by low wooded hills, so is probably not subject to severe rachas, but I was there in reasonably settled conditions so cannot comment.  It would be a useful place to wait on weather if northbound and held up by strong NW winds.

The approach is constricted by rocks that extend out from the N side of the entrance obstructing about half the mouth of the bay.  The outermost (most southerly) rock is the highest and should be above water at most states of the tide.  The clear fairway is 150m wide;  a course passing 70-80m off the S shore will clear the rocks if they are not visible. In the anchorage depths are moderate, the holding is excellent in sandy mud and there is ample swinging room. Shore lines are not necessary. There is a good watering stream at the head of the bay and ample tepu for fuel. 

The sketch chart is original, as are all others included with these notes except where modified from the RCC Chile Guide and acknowledged.

 6.10 Isla Wellington – Estero Dock
49°56.70’S 74°27.92’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9500

Approach WP 49°56.82’S 74°27.30’W. 

I think all depths on the sketch chart need to be reduced by 2m.  The original survey was probably done near HWS.  I came in near LW, 3 days before springs, and consistently got 2m less than the sketch chart.  I found the least depth in the entrance was 3.2m compared with the charted 5m and I anchored where the anchor is shown, in the middle just short of the waterfall, in 5.2m where 7m is shown on the sketch chart.  I checked the echo sounder’s calibration against a lead line and the depths are correct.

In June 2010, in the main part of the estero there were only small widely scattered patches of kelp showing on the echo sounder and nothing showing on the surface, certainly nothing enough to make anchoring a problem.  The anchor set immediately and did not budge with full revs astern.


P 121   Canal Wide

In early June, 2010, there was enough ice streaming down Canal Penguin into Canal Wide to require a bit of dodging.  It was never enough to be a problem, but too much to leave the boat on self-steering and go below to warm up and make a coffee.

P 121            Alternatives

If going either north or south via Canal Pitt and Canal Andres, a slightly shorter and much more sheltered option for the section from Canal Andres to Canal Conception is via Canal Tres Cerros and Paso Yagan.  The route is straightforward.  Indeed there is a fine new 1:25000 WGS84 datum chart of it, number 10327, which I only discovered after making the transit.  For those without the latest chart, I attach a sketch chart.

Conditions in Canal Tres Cerros were calm when it was quite boisterous and blowing N 25 knots in Canal Conception, however the tortured trees on the islets in Canal Tres Cerros indicate that a west wind will funnel down the channel with considerable force.  If these are too strong to make progress against there is a good anchorage in the bay at the E end of Isla Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza described below.

6.10 Isla Stratford – Bahía Tom
50°11.65’S 74’49.34’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 9500
Approach WP 50°12.10’S 74°47.70’W (off Isla Stratford light)

All information correct, but it might be worth adding an inset of the NW anchorage.  I have included a sketch chart of this.  Before arrival I find it useful to have some idea of what lines need to be run first.  A sketch of the anchorage usually makes this clear, hence this addition and others like it.

P122  Isla Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza – Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza
50°16.85’S 74°33.65’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10327



The bay at the E end of Isla Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza provides a convenient stop on Canal Tres Cerros.  It has not been previously described and has no name on the chart, so I have called it Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, a break with tradition, but more elegant than Caleta Iron Bark.   Matriz de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza is pretty, well sheltered, has a convenient watering stream, plenty of firewood and otters. 

The approach is clean and the entry should be straightforward in almost any conditions.  The approach WP is 50°16.82’S 74°33.16’W.   The bay is surrounded by dense forest, suggesting it is protected from strong winds.  The high land to the N is far enough away to mitigate the severity of any rachas from that direction and the remainder of the shore is backed by densely wooded hills of moderate height.


Most of the bay is too deep for a yacht to conveniently anchor, but there are two possible berths.  One (the one I used) is in the cove on the S side of the bay.  I dropped the anchor on a 9-12m rocky lump to hold the boat temporarily while
I ran lines across the cove.  A fully crewed yacht would not bother anchoring, but would nose up to the weather shore and send a line ashore, drop back and send the stern line to the opposite shore.  The mouth of the cove is about 160m across, so the bow and stern lines will each need to be about 100m long.  A better berth is across the mouth of the small cove on the E side of the S cove, but it is a bit deep to anchor temporarily while running shore lines so I did not use it.  Again, with a crew of 2 or more there should be no problems running the shore lines without anchoring first.

The other possibility (which I did not use) is in the W end of the bay. There is a very small notch, just big enough for one yacht.  Anchor in 17m and manoeuvre into the notch and send 2 lines ashore.  The notch is 10-12 m wide and clear of dangers until within a few metres of the head.  It is well protected in amongst tall trees, but open to the E.

6.19  Isla Chatham – Steamer Duck Lagoon
50°37.98’S 74°15.73’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10350

Approach WP 50°37.50’S 74°’15.52’W.  The bottom is shelly mud, excellent holding.  Let go the anchor in 22m, warp into the cove to 12m or less.  You would need to take your axe to clear a way to get water from the waterfall.  All else correct and current in June 2010.

P215    Pitt Canal – S End

Add that the shallowest water (17m) is at the S end of the passage between Isla Pitt and Isla Chatham.  When sailing from Canal Pitt to Canal Sarmiento via Estero Peel, beware of a particularly nasty rock in the middle of Paso Ramm between Isla Trudgett and Cabo San Antonio, charted position 50°53.6’S  74°13.6’W.   It rises abruptly from very deep water, dries about 0.5m and is about 2m across.  It looks very like a piece of black ice, of which there was quite a lot about when I went by

There was no ice of any significance in Canal Pitt in early June 2010.  A considerable amount of ice was streaming down Estero Peel, but it only extended for a short distance into Canal Sarmiento.

7.1  Puerto Bueno
50°59.29’S  74°12.78’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10350

Approach WP 50°59.80S  74°13.50’W (WGS84).  It is a rather bleak spot with no tepu to be had.  There is a bit of cypress pine up by the lake with gleanings from fishermen’s cuttings to be had.  Good holding in (?) sand.  The anchor set immediately and did not budge, but came up clean.

P129  Caleta Damien
51°18.46’S  74°08.64’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10500
Approach WP 51°18.75’S  74°08.22’W (WGS84).

Caleta Damien is formed by the narrow gap between Isla Whidbey and Isla Vancouver.  The entrance is narrow but deep, least depth 15m.  Keep to the S shore on entry to avoid kelp and rocks extending 60 or 70m from the N entrance point.  The backwash reflected from the rocky south side of the entrance creates standing waves in the entrance channel, which might make entry difficult in rough conditions.  In that case, use Puerto Mayne, which is only 1 ½ miles away.

The surrounding country is low and should not produce rachas.  There are several possible anchorages.  In settled weather, swing to a single anchor in 12-13m in the first cove on the N side.  The head of the cove is foul so it is not possible to get close enough to the trees to get much shelter from them if it is windy.

If the barometer is low and the NW sky threatening, continue NW up the slot leaving the 3 large islands to port and the small islet to starboard.  Keep fairly close to the last large island to avoid a rocky patch marked by kelp about 30m off the small islet.  Anchor in 18m and warp into the cove NW of the islet.  The cove is steep-to and a yacht can be warped very close to the shore.  The cove has steep, heavily wooded shores and should be well protected from the usual winds in bad weather.  I was in Caleta Damien in moderate conditions and did not test this berth.

Plenty of tepu and a watering stream in the NW anchorage.

7.3  Caleta Moonlight Shadow
51°33.60’S  74°04.70’W (Inner Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10500

Approach WP 51°34.27’S  74°01.73’W (WGS84).  The low white rocky islet off the entrance is distinctive.  Leave all the islets and rocks to starboard (N) on entry and weave through the strands of kelp in the narrows S of the southernmost islet where the least depth is 8m.  Once beyond the narrows the a mid-channel course is deep and clear for 1-1/2 miles.  Rocks the channel are marked by kelp.

There is a berth that looks good about 1/2M from the entrance in a bay on the N shore in position 51°33.92’S  74°03.48’W (WGS84).  This cove was mirror calm when it was blowing NW 25 knots outside.  Anchor in 10m and warp into the notch, which is about 40m wide, close under a steep, wooded shore.  I sounded this berth but did not use it.

A further 1 mile on there is an anchorage in 10m, soft mud, excellent holding, with good swinging room just before the narrows created by an island.  Alternatively anchor off the island and warp into the notch west of it.  This is protected from all winds and a 4-point tie is possible in bad weather.  Favour the west side of the notch on entry as there is a rocky ledge with shallow ground beyond it on the east side.  A path leads through the fringing woodland to the open country above, with views of the caleta and beyond.

I did not sound any further up Caleta Moonlight Shadow, but there is reported to be a reasonable anchorage in 7-8m in the bay beyond the narrows created by the island.

P131  Canal Harriet

In the current edition of the Chilean charts, Canal Harriet is show partially on chart 10500 and partially on Chart 10700.  10500 is a new WGS84 datum chart and has no soundings for Canal Harriet.  10700 is an older survey on an unknown datum and has a line of soundings down Canal Harriet.  The coast detail on 10700 is at best diagrammatic and should by treated with caution. 

There appear to be no dangers in Canal Harriet that are not obvious and navigation of this Canal is not a problem for a yacht. 

The inlet on the W shore of Canal Harriet in charted position 51°40.8’S  73°51.4’W (which does not correspond to the WGS84 position) appears to be not navigable by a yacht.  The entrance about 30m wide with a rocky ledge reducing the usable width to about 10m.  Beyond the entrance is a maze of rocks.  If tempted to try it, send a dinghy ahead to buoy a channel.  Being single-handed, I could not do this and once through the entrance could not see a way on.  I had a hard time turning around in the space available to get out again.  As the excellent anchorage at Caleta Sadko is only 6 miles away, there is little reason to anchor in this lagoon.

P131  Caleta Sadko
51°44.97’S  73°44.19’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 10700

Caleta Sadko is an excellent anchorage on Canal Harriet about 3 miles N of Punta Hamadryad.  Access is easy, it is secure in any wind and a very pretty spot.  It is worth making the trip down Canal Harriet just to visit Caleta Sadko.  The coast is rather crudely depicted on chart 10700 and is on an unknown datum that does not correspond to WGS84.  However with normal prudence and using the sketch chart, the entry easy. 

Approach is S of a long island (approach WP 51°45.7’S  73°44.2’W) then follow the broad channel NNE for 0.6M  in deep water.  Caleta Sadko lies off the N end of the lagoon from which it is separated by a rocky bar with a least mid channel depth of 8m.  Weave through the strands of kelp on the bar until depths increase to 14-18m. 

Either anchor in the NW part of the caleta in 6-8m with just adequate swinging room, mud over rock, apparently good holding or continue in and secure with an anchor in 7m very good holding and warp with shore lines into 3 or 4 metres depth in the notch on the W shore. The bottom in the notch is clear and shoals evenly towards the head.  The berth in the notch using shore lines is a very secure one and a 4-point tie is easy if required. 

There are excellent walks and climbs in the surrounding hills.  If you have the good fortune to be in Caleta Sadko on a clear day take the opportunity to walk up to the ridge line.  It is a 4 or 5 hour return trip.  Once through the narrow band of woodland along the shore, the walk is over heath and rocks.  In winter the last part will be over snow and the rocks may be icy.  The views of the Andes to the E and Canal Harriet to the W are superb.  Plenty of firewood and clear water from either of two streams.

Caleta Sadko. The white dot right of centre is Iron Bark

7.6 Isla Hunter – Caleta Victoria
52°00.17’S  73°43.42’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Approach WP (off wooded island): 52°00.62’S  73°43.58’W (WGS84)

The holding is excellent in mud.  There is a water pipe on the NE shore, but this sort of thing is so ephemeral that it is probably not worth mentioning in the guide.

P 133 Isla Diego Portales – Caleta Desaparecidos

52°03.28’S  73°01.72’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts 10600, 10640, 10641
Sketch Chart

Approach WP 52°03.37’S  73°01.63’W  (WGS84).

This small bay is unnamed on the chart, but is called Caleta Desaparecidos in the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide.  It is on the N shore of Canal Kirke about ¾ mile W of the narrows and is a very convenient and safe anchorage while waiting on tide to transit into Canal Valdes.  Judging by the number of lines festooning the trees, it is much used by fishermen.  Entry is straightforward and there are no hidden dangers.  Let the anchor go in 13m when the small islet in the entrance is abeam and send 2 shores lines to trees behind the beach on the NW side of the bay then warp forward until the boat is in 5-7m.  The surrounding trees are tall and straight and should provide excellent shelter from winds from N through W to SW.  The bay is open to the SE but the fetch in that direction is only 0.6 miles so should not generally be a problem.  Holding is excellent in mud.  Strands of kelp in the anchorage are attached to isolated rocks that seem to mostly rise no more than 0.5m above the general level of the bottom.   In bad weather a 3 or 4 point tie is possible.

7.19 Angostura Kirke

There is an apparently accurate set of predictions for slack water times in Angostura Kirke and White in the SHOA tide tables which is very useful.  None of the computer-based tide tables that I have seen has this information.   

7.23 Passage between Isla Ismael and Isla Focus
Chart 10600

A waypoint at 51°51.9’S  72°43.9’W (WGS84) S of Isla Ismael gets you through safely.

P 139 Península Antonio Varas - Caleta Délano

Charts 1600, 10610
51°48.40’S  72°36.10’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Sketch Chart

Approach WP 51°49.30’S  72°36.20’W (WGS84)

Caleta Délano provides a useful anchorage sheltered from W and NW winds about 7 miles S of Puerto Natales.  It looks as if it should be well sheltered from the E and ESE but these winds send a short, steep swell, which refracts around Punta Jorge and into Caleta Délano, making it uncomfortable.  The best berth in these conditions is close to the salmon farm dock on the E side of the bay.  Caleta Délano is open to the S and SE.


Rocks extend several hundred metres S from the point on the W side of Caleta Délano.  To avoid them give the coast a wide berth before turning N into Caleta Délano particularly if entering from the SW.  In July 2010 there were two groups of fish farming installations and several mooring in the bay.  Anchor near the head of the bay inshore of the marine installations in 8-12m, mud good holding.

7.25 Seno Eberhardt- Puerto Consuelo
51°36.51’S  72°39.57’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Charts 10600,10610
Sketch chart

Estero Eberhardt, which has excellent protection from the prevailing W winds, is 6 miles NW of Puerto Natales.  The best berth for a yacht is Puerto Consuelo, 4 miles up the estero.  Puerto Consuelo in the middle of a private estancia and visiting yachts are the uninvited guests of the Eberhardts.  At the very least, on arrival find one of the owners and introduce yourself.  They are very hospitable and generous people.  It may be possible to arrange to leave a vessel in their care for an extended period.  They have one large mooring which may be available for hire.

Puerto Natales is 23km away by gravel road.  The taxi fare in 2010 was 10,000-15,000 pesos each way.  It is possible to reach Puerto Natales by cell phone to call a taxi by walking to the top of the hill about 700m S of Consuelo. 

Ice in Estero Eberhardt may be thick enough in midwinter to prevent a vessel entering or leaving, especially north of Isla Kruger, but the ice is unlikely to persist for more than a week or two.  Puerto Cóndor is reported to seldom have much ice.  The extreme tidal range in Puerto Consuelo is less than1m and is much influenced by atmospheric pressure.


The channel NW from Puerto Natales is wide and deep as far as Rocas Tres Mil.  Rocas Tres Mil are a group of above water rocks and should be visible from ½ mile away.  Once Rocas Tres Mil are abeam, steer towards the S end of Isla Guanaco.  Leave the red beacon on Roca Errázuriz to 100 m to port then steer to pass about 75m N of Islote Lagartija, which has a green and white beacon on its S end.  At this point depths decrease abruptly from more than 15 metres to 5-7m.  Once 100m beyond Islote Lagartija turn north and steer towards a group of ornamental pines in Puerto Cóndor.  This course is parallel to Banco Choros, which extends 400-500m S of Punta Choros.  This bank may be visible but if not sounding give adequate warning of its presence.  Once Punt Choros is abeam steer N keeping about 75m off the E shore until the S end of Isla Jamón is abeam in order to avoid Banco Jamón then steer to pass 100m off Punta Cóndor. 

The reach between Punta Cóndor and Punta Pratt is 2.7 to 4 metres deep with a drying shoal shown mid-channel on the chart.  I did not see this shoal and saw no sounding less than 2.7m on a mid-channel course.  Its existence is doubtful, but proceed carefully and watch the depth sounder.  Banks and rocks extend out from the W shore between Punta Pratt and Isla Kruger.  Most are visible and a course a little to the E of mid-channel avoids them.  The hardest to see is a spit that extends out just S of Angostura del Diablo.  In July 2010 a very small stake that stuck about 25 cm out of the water marked it, so do not cut the corner on entering Angostura del Diablo. If ice or wind makes it necessary to anchor in the reach S of Isla Kruger, buoy the anchor, as the bottom is foul in places with old salmonera moorings.  The salmoneras have been removed.

 It is possible to pass either side of Isla Kruger but the usual route is to the W of the island through Angostura del Diablo.  There are no hidden dangers in this channel.  Once N of Isla Kruger, steer for the large shed on Punta Cajón and anchor wherever convenient.  The bottom is soft mud and once the anchor has had time to dig in, holding is excellent. The surrounding land is bare of trees and a NW wind can funnel down the estero with considerable force, which is unpleasant but not dangerous.

Puerto Consuelo

7.28 Peninsula Zach – Bahía Isthmus and Mallet
52°09.58’S  73°35.69’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Approach waypoint 52°10.93’S  73°37.02’W (WGS84). The outer buoy is correctly identified as green in the notes but on the sketch chart is shown as black and white. Similarly the text correctly describes the beacon onshore as rusty steel but it is shown as red and white on the sketch chart. The inner green buoy has been removed (July 2010). There is considerable kelp in the narrows between Bahía Isthmus and Bahía Mallet. The bottom in Bahía Mallet is indeed soft mud and very good holding.  It is also very smelly. I anchored in Bahía Mallet in calm conditions in ice 10-15mm thick.  This did not slow the yacht down much but was too thick to row through. It would not have stopped a dinghy with an outboard motor.

8.4 Isla Desolación – Bahía Wodsworth
52°59.64’S  74°03.56’W (Western Anchorage, WGS84)

The notes are complete and accurate. Could we call the western anchorage by the high waterfall Pozo Nanook for Katie and Maurice Cloughley’s yacht Nanook of the North? They used the anchorage in the early 1980’s and told me about it.

8.6 Isla Desolacíón - Caleta Mostyn
53°15.45’S  73°22.21’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Approach 53°15.41’S  73°17.18’W (WGS84). The sketch chart shows a depth of 96m  in the middle of the caleta. This should be 36m. Otherwise all correct and current in August 2010.

P 150 Paso Tortuoso

Most yacht try to get past Paso Tortuoso as quickly as possible as it is bedevilled by tide rips and overfalls and prey to sudden squalls. The worst section for overfalls and eddies is from Cabo Crosstide to Isla El Bonete but tide rips affect all of Paso Tortuoso and Paso Ingeles.  Cabo Crosstide is the meeting point for tides flowing east from Paso del Mar and west from Canal Barbara, complicated by the strong current flowing in and out of Jeronimo. An east-bound yacht can carry a fair current most of the way through the narrows by timing its transit so as to be off Cabo Crosstide at about HW.

8.12 Peninsula Córdova – Bahía Borja
53°31.71’S  72°29.97’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Nothing to add to notes.

8.20 Canal Acwalisan

In July 2010 this was still not an approved route.  Like most yachts, I used it.  The notes are complete and accurate.

8.21 Canal Acwalisan – Caleta Felix

The notes are complete and accurate except the dimensions of the caleta are more like 500m by 250m.  Sketch chart attached.

8.22 Isla Capitán Aracena – Caleta Hidden
53°57.07’S  72°36.10’W (Western Anchorage, WGS84)

In August 2010 there was enough scattered strands of kelp in the narrows half way up the caleta that it was impossible to miss them all.  The kelp is not heavy and not a problem.  A snug, pretty spot with birds and a beaver.

P 166 Isla Clarence – Caleta Cludo

54°15.98’S  71°46.80’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 12400

This un-named inlet on the SE coast of Isla Clarence is called Caleta Cludo in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide.  The entrance is straightforward and without hidden dangers and should be possible in any wind. The anchorage is near the head of the inlet in 9m with shore lines, protected from all directions except a very narrow arc centred on E. The small basin beyond the anchorage where the stream enters the head of the calata is rocky and shallow. In the anchorage there is just room to swing but the holding is patchy and because of its E-W orientation the caleta can be very windy, making shore lines advisable.  A 4 –way tie is possible and a good idea given the Caleta Cludo’s windy nature. The caleta does not seem to be subject to rachas, but I experienced 50 knot squalls funnelling down the valley during a spell of nasty weather.

P 166 Paso Andrade Taraba

Paso Andrade Taraba is the channel between Isla Clarence and Isla Seebrock. Rocks both above and below water constrict the navigable channel to about 500m. In good weather the rocks are easy to see, in bad weather they break. There are strong tide rips and eddies in Paso Andrade Taraba which kick up a very confused sea in bad weather.  The worst seas are W of the entrance to Caleta Cludo.  A SW-bound yacht meeting heavy seas here can find convenient shelter in Caleta Cludo.

P 168 Canal Ocasión

Add:  The W entrance to Canal Ocasión between Isla Guia and Isla Aguirre can be very rough as it faces NW and is completely unsheltered but the seas decrease rapidly to the SE within Canal Ocasión

9.12 Peninsula Brecknock -  Caleta Brecknock
54°32.69’S  71°54.65’W (Anchorage, WGS84)

Caleta Breaknock anchorage
Caleta Brecknock is 2.5 miles up Seno Ocasión, not 1.5 miles as stated in the text.  There were no tyres on the rock wall near the cascade, otherwise the notes were current in August 2010.  There were two permanent lines attached to trees in the Caleta, which made securing in windy conditions easy. All else complete and accurate in August 2010. Photo of the anchorage attached. 

9.21 Isla O’Brien -  Caleta Emilita
54°52.96’S  70°22.92’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Sketch chart attached

Caleta Emilita on the E end of Isla O’Brien is of easy access and well sheltered from all winds except E. Islotes Golondrina and the more distant Timbales give some shelter from that direction.  The approach from the S is straightforward.  From the N round Punta Americana and pass between Islotes Golondrina and the green beacon marking a shoal to the E.  Anchor and tie off using 2 shore lines.  A 4-point tie is possible and advisable if there is a chance of an E wind.

An Armada vessel was using a semi-permanent mooring arrangement alongside the rocks on the N side of  Caleta Emilita consisting of a large tyre fender attached to the rock wall and a set of mooring lines to trees.  This vessel sent a boat across to check my papers.

Fishing boats was using Caleta Goméz, N of Islotes Golondrina.  They had a line stretched across the head to the caleta to secure their bow lines.  A buoyed anchor with a floating line encumbering the approach.  In a moderate E wind, Caleta Emilita. was better sheltered than Caleta Goméz.

9.26 Bahia Tres Brazos

All information correct in August 2010.  I moored Pozo Caucane.  There was freshwater fast ice in the Pozo and approaches thick enough to make it difficult to enter.  The sun does not reach the pozo until late August or early September, so the ice is persistent.  A lovely, well sheltered spot.

10.2 Fiordo Pia
54°50.42’S  69°40.89’W (Entrance WP, WGS84)
Chart 13113 (new, WGS datum)

General:  all correct and current in August 2010.
Entrance: I crossed the bar at 54°50.42’S  69°40.89’W (WGS84) in 12-14m.


Three possible anchorages are shown on the sketch chart.

Caleta Sur is un-named on chart 13113.  It trends SW for 1.8 miles from Brazo Weste.  The approach is easy and clean with the shallowest water abreast of a small rock off the SE shore.  It is possible to pass either side of this rock, least depth 8 to 11m.  The obvious anchorage is at the SW end of the bay, either swinging in 22-25m or with the anchor in 15-20m and shore lines.  In August 2010 the entire bay was had was frozen with 50mm of hard freshwater ice and it required full engine power to break a path through.  Anchoring seemed unwise because of the ice so I did not spend a night there.  The rock on the SE shore has 1 very small bush growing on it that looks too small to hold a yacht but ice prevented me from getting a close look at it.
  1. Caleta Norte is un-named on chart 13113 but is so called in Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego Guide. It is a slot on the W shore of Brazo Pia Weste at 54°46.35’S  69°40.63’W (WGS84).  The approach is straightforward but may be encumbered with ice.  Let the anchor go in 15-18m in mud, good holding and send lines ashore. A 4-point tie is advisable as the caleta can be very windy.  A strong SW wind is deflected by the surrounding hills and enters the bay as a SE with great violence and can bring large amounts of ice into the caleta.  I spent a very uncomfortable night there, buffeted by squalls and pestered by ice.  Ice filled the bay and blew out again at least 4 times during the night.  Most of the ice was no more than large brash but there were some larger rafts of refrozen brash weighing at least as much as Iron Bark.  Apart from being very noisy and hard on the paint, the ice snags on the mooring lines and can impose large strains on them. Fortunately the trees are substantial. In bad weather this is “a berth to be chosen from necessity and not from any hope of tranquillity” but by reputation is still the best in Seno Pia.
  2. Caleta Beaulieu, so named on chart 13113, off Brazo Pia Este, seems to be a good berth but has a reputation for rachas ricocheting around off the surrounding hills. The approach is easy with very little ice either drifting or grounded when I was there. Either swing to anchor or (better) anchor and send lines ashore in the SW corner.  There is ample room to manoeuvre while berthing.  I did not spend a night in Caleta Beaulieu, but it was relatively tranquil when Caleta Norte was unpleasantly windy.  Good views of the glacier from the berth.

10.4 Caleta Olla
54°56.44’S  69°09.40’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 13113 (new, WGS datum)

Approach WP 54°56.60’S  69°09.07’W (Approach, WGS84). Add:  The bay is a little open to the E but the fetch in that direction is less than half a mile and the bay is secure, if not comfortable in fresh to strong E winds.  All other information correct and current in August 2010. 

I have attached a new sketch chart not because it has any new information but because I could get an accurate outline from chart 13113. 

P 183 Isla Navarino – Caleta Segura Norte

54°54.80’S  68°12.81’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 13113

The anchorage is in the east corner of Bahía Honda between an un-named headland and island.  It is sheltered from all directions but the shores are low and rocky so the anchorage can be windy.  It does not seem to be affected by rachas. It is called Caleta Victor Jara in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego Guide.

There are three wide, easy channels to enter Bahía Honda. The obvious approach from the west is between Islotes Garcia and Islas Lawrence (WP 54°54.41’S  69°15.90’W, WGS84).  From the east the approach is between Punta Bartlett and Islas Lawrence (WP 54°54.09’S  68°13.82’W, WGS84).  The only danger in Bahía Honda is Banco Lara, which is marked by kelp and has a red and black isolated danger buoy on its west end.

The final approach to Caleta Segura is either to the east or south of Isla Vasquez, which looks like a headland from a distance. The approach south of Isla Vasquez has a least depth of about 5m and passes through a thick bank of kelp with a maze of drying rocks close to the south.  The approach east of Isla Vasquez is simpler with a least depth of 7m, much less kelp and no hidden dangers. Caleta Segura Norte is separated from Caleta Segura by a short, narrow channel with a least depth of 4m.  Anchor as convenient.  Shore lines are not necessary but can be run to rocks (there are no trees).  Holding is very good.

10.10 Isla Navarino – Puerto Williams
54°56.09’S  67°37.13’W (Anchorage, WGS84)
Chart 13200

Charges alongside the Milcavi in September 2010 were US$6 to US$14/ day depending on boat length and season. Due to difficulties with the Argentine authorities it is likely Puerto Williams will have many more charter yachts in the 2010-2011 season, which is likely to strain facilities. 

Formalities: In September 2010 the Armada would not give an outward clearance for the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) unless the yacht had a permit from Argentina to visit Stanley (Puerto Argentina).  The permit is issued by Buenos Aires and takes a minimum of 2 weeks to obtain so it may be easier to clear for the Falklands from Ushuaia than Puerto Williams. Any yacht visiting the Falkland Islands without a permit from Argentina is subject to draconian penalties if it subsequently visits an Argentine port.  The situation is constantly changing and would be wise to check on the current situation if intending to visit both Argentina and the Falklands. 

Facilities:  All correct except there is a fast ferry service from Ushuaia and Puerto Williams, weekends only in winter, daily in summer, cost US$125 each way.

No comments:

Post a Comment