Last night we stood on the bow, squinting out in waning dusk for the Cuernos – the Horns – of Torres del Paine. They were out there to the east, tantalizingly close amid the labyrinth of islands, but we’d lost the sun, and talk turned to memories of Kenai, Talkeetna, and that one winter at Pole where…
The stories are on a scale that are hard to comprehend, and they are why I come here to be among their tellers. As darkness fell and we sifted through the day’s narrow passage for pieces we’d bring home with us: dolphins playing chicken off the bow, fragments of glacier-blue ice dotting the channel, waterfalls that seemed to go on forever, I tried to listen, tried to learn better how it was done.
But. The Program doesn’t pay me to tell stories – it pays me to get the freakin’ new Data Acquisition System debugged and online, and that’s what I’ve been spending damned near all of my waking hours doing since I got to the boat 10 days ago. It, too, is tantalizingly close – we’re running on live data without locking up, losing records or interfering with the existing shipboard system, none of which were true when we left Valparaiso.
But time is too short – we’re only 20 miles shy of the Strait and the westward run to Punta Arenas. Chief Mate says we’ll make port by tomorrow morning, 10’ish. Of course, I’ve still got a few days with the ship after that, but not nearly enough. And even standing there on the deck taking in the hushed evening splendor, I’m half-wondering how to track down why my websocket server is running out of connections.
So forgive me: a full telling of our inside passage is going to have to wait, and I’ll beg off with a stack of pictures from the day.