Hakan Öge
Hakan Öge
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Hakan'ın Kamerasından
Brazo Noroeste

2 month of self-sufficient living, nature and us, mountains and us, water, glaciers and Chilean armada...

I've been shopping for food like I have never done before, 2 month is so long, I even have trouble projecting me so far in the future, let alone know what it is that I will want to eat or drink. I have made a list for one week and then multiplied it by 8, I got scary amounts of food, 100 eggs, 3 kilos of dried fruit, 30 cans of peeled tomatoes, 24 big bars of chocolate 32 packets of crackers... ourghph this can't be true... remade my list, arrived on same amounts, decided I would just buy the whole lot without giving it a second thought. I told Hakan I would do that on my own because he has trouble handling supermarkets and it lessens my confidence and confidence I will need for buying such obnoxious quantities...
I started with buying cans, cereals and dried stuff, 2 full caddies and the card I wanted to pay with didn't work. Somehow I knew it would not work so I didn't flip completely and got Hakan at the marina with his credit card, but when I was loading the merchandise on the black carpet and then transferring it into the boxes I got hold of beforehand my whole body was shaking, on the verge of a fever. I felt being watched by the security guard, my hands trembling like my guts. How was I to fit all this on board? Friends were giggling at the prospect of storing all this on such a small boat and I understood suddenly it was not just for the big waves that one needs a big boat, but if you want to be self-sufficient you better have storage room...
The next day we bought water, wine and sodas, again 2 trolleys full, and we still had nothing fresh. The floating line was getting closer and closer to the water, were we going to sink, 600 liters of diesel, 300 of them in jerry cans attached on deck. During the channels the wind will flow against us accelerating down the mountains and channeled in the very opposite direction of our course. we'll be on motor the whole time, well maybe one day or 2 the wind will come from our back, but we can't count on that, there being no shops no village no houses 1 whole month, and then again one month with no roads no people walking, just boats floating lighthouses and the Chilean armada.

The ever present armada, ruling the channels like big brother. They called us in their official offices, made us with warm olive coloured skin and wide white smiles give them our route until the end of their waters. Wanting every channel we take, every cove we intend to anchor in. with the date of arrival, date of departure, the whole lot. I felt my guts shrink, how could we know what anchorage we are going to chose in a place we have never been to, how can we foresee the weather, the wind the rain the sun that will direct our moves? We tried to tell them, they saw our impotence on the matter and helped us put down in words our very next move for the next few months. With their golden shoulder pads, their very dark perfect sunglasses, their milimetrical hairdos and their starched uniforms I feel my freedom being sucked out of me. "For security" they say, but to me it sounds more like the leftovers of a dictatorship pushed way down south, the rulers of the scattered land, wanting us to communicate our position several times a day, following our route, knowing better than us at what time we'll throw anchor, what lighthouse we'll pass, what we'll see say do eat think feel.
What a paradox, in the wildest part of earth we'll be watched and studied, in this nature labyrinth their will be no way for us to get lost, for even if we wanted to they'll be putting us right back on track, and if we don't comply, if we get lost again, we'll be escorted right to the border of their thin and fractured country, never to be allowed in again.
So I?m hanging on my radio speaking out my position, number of crew, colour of flag, quantities of food water and fuel, I?m hanging on my radio trying to keep the entity of my self intact, trying to keep my voice level, to shorten the conversation, please their hunger for control as rapidly as possible. Armada ... watching us!

And right next to the Chileans we've got the Argentine, hungry for territory, teaching their infants the Falklands are theirs, the Shetlands are theirs, South Georgia is theirs they even teach the pupils that they own a piece of Antarctica while signing the international Antarctic treaty. In front of Ushuaia Chilean have a fully manned naval base to protect their territory from Argentine hunger. Spying on one another, having no means of transportation between the 2 hostile towns. "You go to Chile?" asks a disgusted faced Argentine. "Don't throw argentine food on Chilean territory!" says a Chilean starched olive "everything that comes from Argentina is bad" he tells us with his big frightened eyes. I want to be away from these political disputes, I want to not have to answer questions about what I think of their unliked neighbors.
I think both are very sweet people though, very warm, very friendly, very similar... brothers really, living in rough environment.

Bmip bmip bmip, 6 am the alarm goes of, we're going, away from the disputes, to our quiet anchorages, to the waiting glaciers. The air is cold outside my bed, Hakan is moving about, getting ready, I need to extract myself from the bed, just like when I needed to go to school, to work. Don't like... want to sleep on. I study the sounds, from inside to outside, ropes being undone, time for me to make my move.... and guess what my move is? What is my first action after having slipped into my clothes? Yes, you're right, grab the radio, with my rough night voice I call "Puerto Williams Puerto Williams aqui el velero Mardek, we're about to leave the marina, heading to caleta olla, estimated time of arrival, 19 hours."
They wish us well, we wave goodbye as we pass their watchtower, we pose for the pictures they take of us.
Sweet Chilean armada, watching us.
It is raining, it is cold, I have not really been out since the goodbye waving and posing bit.
I made my first vegetable pie, dough and all, using the oven to warm the boat, I wear thick sheepskin slippers and I?m seriously thinking of napping again. After I'm done with you and what holds me with you? I don't hear you asking me for more, I hear the warm blankets ... do you hear them to? Soooophiiiiiii come to meeeeeeeeeeee. What can I do? Say bye then and see you when the sun comes up again. Byebye...

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