A sea kayak expedition at the outermost bounds of the world

by Duane Perszyk & Olivier Mouzin

In early January, Robin Givet and I arrive in Punta Arenas, shuffling onto Chilean terra firma with hands in pockets. The packs on our backs are laden with photography gear, sailing paraphernalia, and a few pounds of chocolate, an indispensable staple to bolster morale eroded by the expected long hours of tedious effort we will soon endure. All the other equipment, including the kayaks, arrived here a few days ago. To supplement the chocolate, we buy a cheap and easily available cache of food consisting mainly of grains, rice, and dried fruit with some cheese and pork sausage. Hopefully, fish will round out our dietary needs as the journey progresses. So, our kayaks are bulging and our spirits are high.

Soon, however, we wonder whether the Chilean bureaucrats will let us hit the water. The fact that we are physically ready but stymied by government officials leaves us feeling despondent and empty. What's more, we feel as though we aren't being taken seriously. To many, the idea of paddling from Punta Arenas to Cape Horn is evidently an insane one. We had heard such repeatedly from friends, other paddlers, and here were more skeptics' same doubts, different country. Given our frame of mind, there's but one thing to do. We quickly brush these warnings and pessimistic asides away. They run contrary to our purpose and our adventure.

After all, the Ushuaia to Cape Horn run had been done in 1978 and perhaps a few times since then as well. However, we are unable to definitively ascertain whether other kayakers have ever started the trip from Punta Arenas and subsequently rounded Cape Horn. But we figure that someone probably has. That would make us sane, right? Or at least not alone in our lunacy. In addition, the native Yamanas people have been sailing this area for decades in canoes made from tree trunks and bark. These Spartanesque native people live naked in this chilly tempestuous climate, only occasionally donning sea lions skins for warmth. The Yamanas also build fires in the bottoms of their boats for warmth as well as for cooking. Women provide most of the food by diving into the 40-50 degree water to fish for crabs and shellfish. Surely, we can handle these waters in snazzy new high-tech, cutting-edge kayaks from Dagger. Nonetheless, at the present moment, the officials remain intractable.

So we hunker down and wait for the bureaucrats to set our fate. The disconnect from friends and family begins to seep into our psyches. We try to keep busy and utilize the long daytime hours of austral summer to see more of this city of 100,000 inhabitants. Though we're anxious to embark on our planned two months of paddling, we set about making new friends and polishing our sketchy Spanish here in Punta Arenas. Every morning we wake at 5 AM and amble bleary-eyed from our Youth Hostel digs down to the Strait of Magellan to look at the ocean and read its mood. It becomes a ritual. Following this ritual provides us both a geography lesson and a more complete understanding of the word "variable". Straightway, we get verification of the standard take on Patagonian weather: one can experience four seasons in a day. Facing the Strait in the early morning chill, we take information and counsel from the Chilean Maritime authorities. "Today's wind orientation?" More or less variable. "How about precipitation?" Well, from day to day, our dawn experience had us either gazing at memorable Tierra del Fuego sunrises or weathering nasty rain showers of "variable" intensity and duration. "Temperature?" It also varies widely 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nonetheless, we remain, if not ebullient, then at least resolute. Even though authorities hang us up for two full weeks and scoff at our minimalist communication equipment, i.e., VHF radio unit, we persist. Finally, at 11:00 AM on January 24th,we are cut loose and put out to sea. The journey begins. These first hours of paddling are filled with tremendous relief and the excitement of anticipated adventure. It finally seems we will have a chance to accomplish what we had dreamed for so long.

We paddle for five hours, a good first day's effort after our protracted layover. We set our first bivouacs on a comfortable sand beach close to Aqua Fresca, a tiny village 20 miles south of Punta Arenas. By first light the next day, Patagonia ushers in its world famous sound: the timbre and pitch of 50 knot winds. Trying vainly to ignore the capricious nature of the area's weather, we naively pack and paddle hoping for a lull. It doesn't come. After several miles of miserably onerous paddling, we give it up. Soon, we are huddled on shore under the meager cover of a low-lying knoll. Around noon we resign ourselves to move camp away from the shore.

The next day, the wind subsides to a more manageable level, and we resume travel. We fall into a tedious routine of paddle strokes and subsistence living in a world of water and non-arable land. By the shear persistence of monotony-in-motion, five days pass, and we arrive at Cape Froward, the most austral of points on the South American continent. From here, a north-to-south crossing of the Strait of Magellan will bring us to the Magellan Channel's entrance. Even though this crossing is relatively short and we should knock it down in 2½ hours, we are anxious. The day has already proved long and frustrating. Several attempts to disembark for the purpose of setting camps have been thwarted either by dicey approaches or totally angular, bouldery beaches. This paucity of campsites becomes the rule for most of the remaining trip. At least today our frustration is alleviated somewhat by a slew of spunky sea lions, whom we smell before we see. Two huge males surface and stare at us behind big brown eyes, long mustaches and sage-like demeanor. The females dive off the rocks and circle the kayaks. A few times they stick their chests out of the water while paddling hard with their fins. They're showing off. We're impressed. Finally, after eleven hours of paddling, we give up searching for a "good" site and settle for a damp and gravely beach.

Since its discovery in 1520, this strait has meant untold calamity and death for many sailors. Magellan, by luck or alacrity, may have needed only 20 days to cover the strait, but other expeditions took as much as two months to navigate these often tempestuous waters. While crossing the strait from west to east in 1586, the English captain Thomas Cavendish lost an average of 9 sailors per day, a remorseful entry in any ship's log. Three years later, John Chidley left England with five vessels. Only one reached the entrance to the strait. Chidley pressed on, but after a valiant effort and the loss of some thirty more sailors, he gave it up at Cape Froward and turned back.. Dozens of such stories exist. In fact, in March we met the crew of a sailing boat in Puerto Williams who was attempting circumnavigation of the globe; they were forced to stop at Cape Froward. The captain hoped to reach the Pacific through the Magellan Channel. But woe unto he and his crew, adverse winds and bad weather got the better of them, and the expedition dejectedly realized its terminus. The harsh climate, the narrow channels, and the unmarked and unmapped treacherous reefs often make sailing here, if not catastrophic, then for sure a stern challenge.

And now it's our turn. Entering the Magellan Channel, the foothills of the Cordillera Darwin loom in front of us. Stark and ethereal, their summits are covered in snow. Suddenly we become profoundly aware of a deep and desolate kind of wilderness: a vast chasm between the civilized world and us. There is no evidence of anything homey or amicable: no ship, no lighthouse, nor cabin. There is nothing. Sunny days are gone. The sky is continuously gray and gloomy. We are forced to either bivouac on sloping boulders or secure minuscule beachheads of pea gravel that we level out with our hands a few inches from the lapping ocean water. At night an occasional rogue swell washes up against the fly of our tent.

After a fretful night, we resume paddling the next day. We enter the Cockburn Channel, and in so doing, commence what will be the most difficult part of our journey. For one thing our food and cheese stock is all but gone. We're protein-deficient. Worse, we can't supplement our cargo-heavy, protein-challenged diet with fish. The waters are too deep here, rendering our attempts to fish with light line totally futile. A protracted fight with the damp and dank also begins. It drizzles continuously. Heavy showers move in languorously from Antarctica. They cross the channel from the west and initiate a quick and precipitous temperature drop. The bleak Patagonia canopy begins to cast stinging hail pellets at our faces; others pile up neatly in our spray skirts.

For days the weather treats us in a similarly ruthless manner as we relentlessly paddle the thirty-mile Cockburn Channel' one yard at a time. After a full week, we succeed in reaching Bahia Desolada (Desolate Bay). We cross it in one day under the now seemingly omnipresent rain-squalls. Finally, beset with shivers foreshadowing hypothermia, we are compelled to set up the tent on a carpet of gravel at the mouth of a river. We try to rest, warm-up, and recover. However, at four o'clock in the morning, I wake to the sound of especially aggressive lapping water. The high tide is encroaching upon our campsite. It already has a 3-4 inch jump on us. I grab a headlamp, crawl out of the tent and tip toe through the 40 degree water picking up shoes, pans and socks like an anorexic jaybird picking up refuse in a sodden dump. These intermittent travesties reduce us to chuckles and head shakes. Notwithstanding these negative distractions, the austerity of this vast wilderness is hypnotic, and we breathe the pure air deeply and relish our isolation.

Finally, the weather gods loosen their grip; the feeling tone becomes more pleasant. Further east in the O'Brien Channel, the sun throws long shafts of yellow light over the gray water. We encounter people for the first time since departing the American continent at Timbales: a Chilean couple who look after the west entrance of Beagle Channel. Ricardo and Pamela, living here for a year, graciously accommodate us for the night in their warm wooden cabin. We relish the pleasure of a hot shower, surely one of the crowning inventions of civilization. We wash our clothes. Pamela cooks a complete dinner of soup, and turkey with mashed potatoes and peas. All this and a fresh loaf of warm bread puts us in fat city. We discuss the Chilean army's presence in these remote parts and the harsh life the couple lives here. It's not possible for them to walk very far away from the cabin. There are no trails, and the dense vegetation makes passage difficult and frustrating. They spend most of the time hunkered down in the cabin. Ricardo checks any boats that pass this way and reports twice a day by radio to his headquarters in Puerto Williams. The couple has chosen to spend a year together here for better or worse. We're thankful for their hospitality and for the warm, dry clothes we put on in the morning. It will be a long time before we have this feeling again.

After departing the next day, we are soon close enough to begin seeing the summits of the Cordillera Darwin peaks from time to time. The south faces are covered with snow and ice. Through the binoculars, we gasp in awe at long plumes of wind-driven snow scudding like wild white flags off summit ridgelines. At lower elevations the typical mountain vegetation is beaten and ravaged. Having been savaged relentlessly by the Patagonian winds, the trees and bushes cling stubbornly to the rocks and lean decidedly away from windward. Moss covers the slopes from 1,000 to 4,000feet. From there to the Cordillera's highest summit, the 8,094 ft Darwin Mountain, snow is deep and eternal. We know that somewhere out there two famous English mountaineers (Simon Yates and Andy Parkins, Simon Yates author of "Against the wall") They are attempting to establish a new route. Though oxygen is plentiful, climbers here deal with Himalaya-like conditions. The ascent of a steep, ice-coated couloir is proving arduous and difficult for them.

However, we gaze at this ineffable scenery from the relative peace of our kayaks. Though we are often at odds with the elements, we remind each other to enjoy these moments of tranquil beauty. Taking full advantage of the wind and sunshine, we dry our sopping gear and soak up the scenery. A tenth of the Earth's glaciers migrate from the Darwin Cordillera and calve-off into this ocean. Glaciers are metamorphosed beings: massive slugs of ice, then huge tenuously-balanced seracs, then ocean-ferried icebergs. Glaciers here are like over-sized icy blue tongues thrust upward over the waters until their mass causes them to fracture and crash into the frigid austral waters. They carry the homeland monikers of the early European explorers: Romanche, Allemana, Hollanda, Italia and Francia. Once ponderously marching to the sea at a sloth-like pace, they eventually become hapless riders of the oceans currents' helmless yachts careening about in roisterous waters. Other bergs waft in secluded fjords, serenely bobbing abstract ice sculptures. Paddling up these fjords affords us an incredible view at close range. We beach and take advantage of these magnificent sights: ice blocks the size of houses, first crashing into and then floating on this pristine and remote ocean water. Everyone should experience such a sight once in life.

Further on, close to Ushuaia, we confront the two possible passages to Cape Horn. The first and shorter pass is through the Murray Channel which is flanked by Hoste Island and Navarino Island. It is controlled by the Chilean Navy and foreigners are forbidden. The second passage skirts around to the east of Navarino Island before heading south to the Cape. This route requires the crossing of Nassau Bay and is known for notoriously horrendous ocean conditions due to nearly constant gale force winds. Our only real choice is to forge a passage through the Murray Channel. We set out not wanting to defy the ban, but just hoping to avoid more weather battles and time delays. Our attempt is futile and short-lived. We are forced to paddle back to Puerto Williams because military authorities spot us. We arrive in this tiny village of 2,000 people on a Sunday evening after paddling a tough forty miles. We soon learn that the Chilean president, Monsieur Lagos, is set to make an official visit at the end of the week. Consequently, the processing of our case is summarily pushed to the backburner. We are told, much to our dismay, that perhaps we'll get a hearing at the beginning of the following week.

Nonetheless, we try to fabricate a positive mindset. With a mixture of reluctance and relief, we take advantage of yet another bureaucratic conundrum to rest and fatten our ravaged bodies. In addition to having half-starved bodies, our skin isn't too attractive either. It is dry enough to look like desert salt flats. The constant and pervasive exposure to salt water has taken a toll in strange ways. A scratch becomes something more. A minor cut on my ankle was particularly irksome. Because it hadn't adequate time to heal, it repeatedly broke open when bumped and developed into a gaping ravine of a wound. This respite from saltwater gave it a chance to improve. In addition to regaining physical vigor, we verbally bolster our optimism on the hiking trails of Navarino Island and on the dirt streets of Puerto Williams. We are only one hundred miles from Cape Horn now, and only the Chilean officials can thwart our success. We're ready for the final stage.

We easily build bonds of friendship with the hearty Chilean people who came here to populate one of the most remote outposts in the world. Alexandro Nielsen is one of them. The son of a Swedish father and a Chilean mother, this strapping fifty year old tells us of life on his estancia on Bertrand Island. His talk is fueled by "mate", a popular Argentine drink that is somehow capable of reducing both hunger and fatigue. We imbibe freely as well. Back in the "70's, Alexandro's life was filled with adventure as six or eight of his friends paddled around the Wollaston Islands to hunt otters, beavers and seals. When the hunting season ended, Alexandro would sell his pelts and return to his estancia to tend the cows and sheep as they grazed the surrounding prairie land. Listening to Alexandro's tales is like revisiting the stories written by Francisco Coloanne and Luis Sepulveda. These two Chilean writers have effectively captured and conveyed the lives of the fishermen and farmers of Patagonia. Their stories, as well as Alexandro's, lend a deeper meaning and connection to our trip and these native people.

The Chilean bureaucracy takes ten days to grant us authorization to travel Since there's not a whole lot going on here, it's our feeling that we'd been held up to justify the existence of these bureaucratic positions. It seems the officials are flaunting there power a bit, and there's nothing we can do until they tire of the game. Finally and unexpectedly, the captain of Puerto Williams gives us an official military send-off. We have a meeting with him at the Puerto Williams military base. We lay out two possible routes to Cap Horn. If the weather is good we will cross Nassau Bay and if not we will paddle along Navarino Island and Peninsula Hardy and then finally cross to the Wollaston islands. The captain tells us the best idea is to wait for good weather and then cross Nassau Bay because there would be no sailors in the Hardy Peninsula area, and, consequently, we would be out of radio contact if we ran into trouble. He emphasized how unpredictable the weather is in this area. He made us promise to make contact with any boats we happen to pass. He graciously promised to transmit one weather forecast specifically for us every evening at 9:30 PM. (We were never able to pick-up this transmission.) That afternoon, a soldier comes to check our safety gear, warm clothes and food supply. Everything is OK so they decide to let us go. We then go to the harbormaster's office to sign a departure authorization form. Freed again. We're relieved and appreciative because the process could have been held up longer. Apparently, however, it was expedited because a major debriefing was called after the El Presidente's visit. So, we don't have to worry about any further impediments thrown our way by the Chilean navy until we get back to Puerto Williams.

So, our wilderness trip returns to the wild; we're back on the water. Our first two days out are gorgeous and sunny. We are stout, warm, and happy. However, on the 3rd day, the wind is blowing straight out of Hades again: tempestuous and demonic. We are forced to land at Punta Guanaco and weather it out for a full day atop a cliff. A rage-filled storm moves in, and we hunch down and wait it out for two full days before we can get on with it. The tent is constantly lashed and whipped by the winds, but secure inside, we read and play chess with jagged pieces of ripped paper. We plan our big crossing of Nassau Bay. By 10am on Saturday, March 3rd, the winds have tempered to a slight breeze from the NE. With frustration fueling determination, we hit the water running. We make the twenty-plus mile open ocean crossing of Bahia Nassau (Nassau Bay) in six hours and finally reach the Wollaston Islands. While searching for a campsite, we are drawn to the visual incongruity of stark white arches on a distant sandy beach. Drawing closer, we realize the sun-bleached vertebrae of a whale. We set the tent close to this wondrous reminder of deep wilderness and sleep deeply.

For the next five days we can paddle only every other day. The routine becomes a pattern: paddle one day, read and play chess with soggy paper pawns and rooks the next. During one of the paddling days, four dolphins dazzle us with a jazzy, unpredictable display of aqua and aero-dynamic grace. A simple escort would have be inadequate but their darting turns and gamboling jumps were pure joy.

After a week, we bivouac on Herschel Island, the last shelter before starting the circumnavigation of Horn Island. Suddenly the weather goes inclement again. It takes us two grueling days of paddling through the different islands before we finally spot Horn Island at the exit of "Paso Mar del Sur" between Herschel Island and Deceit Island. We have dreamed of this moment for years. If everything goes well, we will be paddling in front of the Horn pyramid in a couple hours. The thought that we will soon reach the most storied and notorious cape in the world fills us with both anticipation and anxiety. However, as we set out, the wind switches to the southwest so we beat a hasty retreat to Herschel Island. As expected, in two hours we are hunkered down in gale force winds once again. We stay buttoned in for twenty-four straight hours before the weather gods release their grip. Circumnavigation becomes our prompt and cue again.

The story of the Horn includes not only the European explorers of the Renaissance period fighting the elements, but also the pirates, vagabonds, scientists, and merchant sailors of the past two centuries. The strategic route around the Horn from Europe to the Pacific has been used since 1850. Americans built the first clippers to quicken the trip between New York and San Francisco. These clippers ranged in length from 70-100 yards. At full sail they reached cruising speeds of20 knots and were able to complete the trip in less than 100 days. Europeans with these ships could now open up markets with Australia, Japan, and the west coast of the New Land. Guano, grains, coal and animals were packed into the holds of these ships to stabilize them during the long and treacherous journeys. And the toughest part of this epic trip was most often the southern ocean and the rounding of Cap Horn.

Many called it "Tough Cape", a far too subtle and milquetoast moniker for a place that is automatically associated with chaotic seas, physical exhaustion, and the kind of mental stress that has tipped more than a few sailors over toward complete lunacy. Yet, we're here and presently hale and hardy. As we paddle along the northwest coast of Horn Island, the scenery we are passing is worthy of the most grandiose film noir setting. Rock spires rise precipitously out of the frigid waters. We are obliged to slalom between them out of curiosity and awe. The place is grim and gray' even the moss. The ocean has an inky blue hue. The waters converge from two oceans and roil unpredictably into pyramidal swells. It's as if we have entered a hurly-burly cosmos. We accelerate each paddle stroke in order to hasten our way through this dastardly and dank labyrinth.

Cape Horn itself is now only3-4 miles away. We are already partially spooked and realize that we could turn back and still consider the trip an hellaciously good effort. Despite our trepidation and anxiety, however, the prospect of turning back is quickly squelched. There is no shoreline anywhere in the area due to the lurking and looming cliffs, and, the eerie swells and ragged reefs would negate any possibility of a landing anyway. We do not turn back. We paddle on victims of mean geography and our self-imposed obsession.

We have to continue paddling further south to pass the Cape and to finally disembark on the east coast of the island' the only place where we can set our feet on land. At this moment the feeling of insecurity dominates the satisfaction associated with reaching the expedition's main objective. Will our temerity cost us dire consequences?

After fighting for one hour to exit the Dedale-like labyrinth, we arrive in front of the rocky pyramid that marks the head of the Cape. The wind is light, but we see a squall on the Hardy peninsula twenty miles to the west. We have to make the most of this window of opportunity. After 700 miles of paddling, we have hit our mark. Facing us down, however, the Cape Horn sits imposingly like the Druid King of the Oceans. Years ago, I saw a black and white photo of this place in a book by the famous French skipper, Eric Tabarly. I was only 10 years old. Today, Robin and I are facing the real thing, and again, the weather reminds us of just how real it is.

We withdraw to the east coast of the island just before the squall reaches us and begins to sweep the Cape with frigid rain. We temporarily hang tight in a bay the size of a tennis court. Then we beach the kayaks and ascend a wooden staircase that rises 400 ft to a plateau covered with grass and moss. From this perspective, Cape Horn is more inviting than from the water. The east face, leeward, is covered in verdure and the 1394 ft summit peak of the island is rounded in a thin misty coat. Below the monument "Cabo de Hornos", 2 groups of 5 sheet of metal four meters square was unveiled in 1992. In the middle of these 2 groups, the shape of an albatross is outlined against the sky.

The albatross symbolizes the brotherhood of all sailors and here especially commemorates those sailors who died in this austral Chilean ocean, fighting the big water and bad elements, while attempting to round the Horn. Amazingly, after weathering 50-70 knots or more of wind every day for almost ten years, the memorial still stands.

Inspired by the history of the place, Robin and I consider piercing our ears upon returning to the civilized world. Traditionally, all sailors who survived the trip around the Horn put a gold earring in their right ear. At any rate, we are caught up in the gravity of what we've accomplished and touched by the rich history of this extreme outpost. We happen upon the cabin of two Chilean navy personnel that night and subsequently stay with them. Even though the cabin was tethered to the rock with a thick cable, the cold and fierce S-SW wind rocks the cabin all night long.

Early the following morning, we give visit to the very tip of South America. Standing on a concrete pedestal, we are looking straight south in the direction of the Antarctica peninsula, 560 miles away. At our feet, water of the Strait of Drake seems to move into infinite distance. We sense being at the outermost boundary of the world. After a protracted journey of obstacles and fear, we are now feeling an emotion alcatharsis. All uncertainties about the prudence of such a far-flung journey are eased. At the end of the afternoon, we finish the task begun yesterday: the actual rounding of Horn Island. Undoubtedly, it is the most satisfying moment of the journey. But as it turns out, we are soon again reminded that satisfaction and serenity are emotions quickly displaced by intensity and turmoil in Patagonia. Winter is coming and we still have a long paddle North.

Motivated to quickly and safely complete the final portion of the trip, we begin the paddle back to the northern part of the Wollaston archipelago. We are not relishing the thought of more paddling, but we do want to get back to civilization as soon as possible. Enough is enough. Nonetheless, we know that caution is in order. Our success has not extracted us from danger. It is analogous to there treat following the summit of a major peak. The confluence of exhilaration and exhaustion that occurs after summiting a big mountain compromises the climber's skill and focus. This is when the majority of life-threatening mistakes occur. In spite of fried minds and wilting bodies, we must focus on a safe retreat. And sure enough, as soon as we set out, the weather gods are back out to challenge us. A storm moves in quickly and it takes two attempts over the course of the next three days before we can cross Nassau Bay.

For the first try, we left Cabo Ross an hour before sunrise. Cabo Ross was named after internationally-acclaimed explorer James Clark Ross. Ross discovered the magnetic north pole in 1831. Due to his Antarctic expedition from 1835-1843, the Ross Sea and "Victoria Land" were named by him and for him. A north breeze, which is supposedly a harbinger of good weather, is blowing on Nassau Bay. The ocean, however, is getting bigger and rougher. Leaning forward in our kayaks, we are pulling every paddle stroke with all of our strength, yet progress is practically nil. We are barely holding our own and Navarino Island is still ten miles away. We are yo-yoing in the huge waves the crest of the breakers hitting the bow as well as the sides of kayaks. We set our boats parallel and support each other. We confer, yelling over the roisterous sound of wind and water. We decide to paddle four miles to the Daedalus Islands. We reach the first island after a two hour full-on fight with the elements.

Trying to set-up a camp here would be ludicrous. The only possible beaching area is covered with massive basalt boulders. We are in a tiny bay surrounded by cliffs one hundred feet high. We hang out, drinking tea while watching an otter play in the weeds near shore. The warm tea energizes us somewhat and we paddle another mile to the next island. As we approach it, a multitude of panicky penguins either dive into the ocean or do their scurry-waddle to a broad shelf up from the rocky beach. We hike the island, which is only a quarter mile squared, then set up the tent under cover of some bushes. The streaming melt-water tempts us but since the penguins have colonized the entire island, we realize their droppings have fouled all the water. We go to bed without eating or just a few dry fruits. So, after a full night's sleep, we put back out to sea the next afternoon with dry throats. This will be the last major crossing of the trip. Nassau Bay is calm now and sparkles in the mid-day sunshine. The majestic mountains of the Hardy peninsula are covered in new snow brought down by yesterday's tempest.

By sunset, we reach Estancia Bevan. On the short grass where sheep and cows graze, a cover of white and purple flowers take advantage of the last warm days before the long nights and cold days of the austral winter. Nobody is here to greet us. Wooden and sheet metal cabins stand alone and unoccupied. Inside one, two old dogs sit patiently in front of the cold stove, waiting for their master's return. He has "gone to the city", Puerto Williams. On the table under a piece of glass are the yellowed mementos of this estancia's history: the shaving of sheep, the cutting-up of butchered meat, a cavalcade in the surrounding prairies, and portraits of visiting travelers with Juan, the estanciero. This photo-montage poignantly depicts the lifestyle of the people who colonize this remote region. We regret not being able to meet Jan, a symbol of this vanishing lifestyle. It would have been nice to celebrate our return to civilization with him. But finally a proper celebration is brought to fruition 30 miles away, with some of the hearty and hospitable fishermen of Puerto Toro. It is nice to be back and full of memories to relish and share

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