Otters in Hotpools


Club Nauticos Reloncavi

Canal Tenglo

Puerto Montt



The 3rd of April marked the end of the journey for Zephyrus and crew, after setting off on January the 24th, from Ushuaia some two months back.

As the crow flies around 1000 Nautical Miles twixt hither and yon, luckily for crows they needn’t tack! So for us double the distance.

If you have been following the journey, the last time I wrote we were heading out of “Bahia Anyway”. From there we turned west and on to the Island of Melinka, I’ll pick up the tale with a setting sun and us headed into it. Night fell fast as we approached the island but luckily Tom’s fianc√© the crazy chikka Jaquikie guided us into port with her screams of “Tommy Mi amor” and before long we were safely anchored.

We passed a pleasant few days on Melinka meeting all the science crew that run the Blue whale centre.


Our time on the island was ridiculously short for such a great place, and only just long enough for me to complete a wee mission. Which I would have liked to take some days over alas.

Back in the UK this summer past, two friends had asked if I would deliver some photos to a group of people living on the island. On the afternoon before leaving, Tom and I drove the 40km to a small fishing village called Repollo Alto.

We met some lovely folk who all remembered our friends Theis and Kicki. And their little boat wanderer III.

For them, that the photos had returned to Melinka via Sweden Cambridge Ushuaia then sailed up the channels was nothing short of a miracle. Emotions were high and as we left an aged and noble Don Vera gave me a big hug, holding me for a time as we shook hands, he said he hoped we would meet again soon. I could only wish the same.


Tom decided to remain on Melinka as the main bulk of his work was done and the next few days were really about getting Zephyrus up to P. Montt.

But the story could never end on such a simple note as “we sailed a bit more then arrived in Puerto Montt” oh no! First we had to take on another crew member.

Enter “Howie” or as he is otherwise known ‘the Earth Wizard!” One time tour manager for rock band Kiss, also London motorcycle courier (he says his horn was a wolf whistle instead of a beep beep, I believe him) his most recent adventures have involved him spending several weeks in the jungles of Ecuador sampling exotic hallucinogenic potions with Ecuadorian shamanic tree folk.

Welcome aboard Sir!

In a word Howie is one of life’s truly wonderful characters, a little leading light with plenty sparkle to share as he makes his way through the world.

He had not sailed since he was five and that was a few years back, but before long he had all the anchorages between Melinka and Puerto Montt marked on the chart. Waypoints plugged into the gps, bearings to Way points written down, back bearings just in case. Our course over ground was his specialty and in the event that we might end up sailing at night which we did, all stars that we should see in a northerly direction were drawn up in a little star chart. (with distances!) I.e. Star “Sirius”, constellation Canis Major distance 9 light years, Star “Betelgeuse”, constellation Orion distance 522 light years….Footnote Nb..light year, distance travelled by light in one year 9.4607 million million kilometres

Light speed = 299,792 kilometres per second.

Where did he think we were going? And if we are making seven knots on a beam reach that would mean arriving at …No don’t even go there!


Our sail north was bliss. Three sun filled days and one overnight passage we had enough time to go and check out some hot springs, naturally heated pools of sulphury smelling water surrounded by lush forest. Our excited chatter soon tailed to silence as each choosing his pool, we soaked silently; all of us lost in the splendour of the surroundings. After a time I got out and went for a walk naked as the day born wandering around in the sunlight, studying little insects and rock pools, I found a group of crabs that lived in the thermal waters they moved slowly as you would in boiling water, an otter wandered out from the bank to drink at the rivers edge the two of us standing with one foot raised each sniffing the air, wind against body and the sound of the river giggling past, otter turned and butterfly took his place tumbling down on waterfall of air, kingfisher called and I called back. See you soon see you soon…


One last star filled night, and a final fire under them

A few hours after sunrise the following day we entered the narrow channel behind Isla Tenglo arriving presently to yacht club Nautico Reconlavi, whereupon a few ropies were thrown about, and they and that marks the journeys end.

Hope you enjoyed it


2 thoughts on “Otters in Hotpools

  1. Well Andy, another great adventure! Give us a call the next time you’re in the right hemisphere.

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