Paula López Wood
It starts with a reversed map. Tale of an imaginary and literal sailing through the southernmost tip of America.
It’s January and from the boat the weather looks changeable. From a copious rain the sky has opened to give way to a clean and flat horizon, which seems very close to the earth. We have sailed from Punta Arenas at six in the afternoon, we have passed Puerto del Hambre and Fort Bulnes, and from the command bridge the sunset seems eternal, red, almost endless.
The captain, don Lalo Leal, who has been navigating the Strait of Magellan for more than forty years, dictates a kind of sentence while pointing out the labyrinth of fjords and channels present on the sailing chart shown on his iPad: “Mother Nature must have cut in two the island of Tierra del Fuego and thus this crossing would have been extremely fast”, he says, in a spirit that thousands years ago the indigenous people of the canoes and also the Portuguese Hernando de Magallanes would have longed for, when he attacked in 1520 from Bahía San Julián to the Strait of Todos los Santos, which would later be baptized with its own name: Estrecho de Magallanes. A maneuver that, months later, would allow Magellan to find the expected interoceanic passage: the connection between the “North Sea” or Atlantic with the “South Sea”, the Pacific Ocean.