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La Cancha.


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1. Caleta Tortel (de)
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Story


Caleta Tortel


In Caleta Tortel there are four teams: Estrella del Sur, Caleta Tortel, El barrio y 21 de mayo. Miguel, a qualified centreforward, played in the best one: Estrella del Sur. Nobody denies that superiority.
It is the only team that can hope to enter the Cochrane league. Four teams may sound too few, but we will change our minds if we learn that only 500 people live in Caleta Tortel.
You only have to make some calculations (substract the women, the grandparents, the babies and those with some handicap) to realize that everybody plays football in this village.

Probably there is no family without a player in the league. It is a remarkable fact. But well, Caleta Tortel, is a remarkable place.
To begin with, it is a village without cars. There are no cars because there are no roads. It is a village that ends up in the sea. Situated on a hill that looks out on to the risk, it is built on poles and footbridges.
A kind of southern Venice. It is a village of carpenters, of people who work the wood. But, like Miguel, everybody does lots of things: they build ships and boats, furniture and houses' they breed cows and tame horses.

Caleta Tortel is situated in a place in where the Baker river reaches the sea. In the mouth of the river there is an estuary and islands are formed, the only flat area in the zone. A small landing strip and a football pitch were built there. The only one.
The cancha, as everybody calls it. Until three years ago there were no roads and the communication was only by ship or on horse back along around 25 kms. As far as the southern road. And about ten or fifteen years before not even the southern road existed.

One day by ship as far as Puerto Edén, or two as far as Punta Arenas, main destination of the timber of the place. It is still made. The road brought tourism but life goes on more or less as ever. Calm, without shocks, along with the tides.
In the estuary is the farm of Michel’s family, where the animal graze, the same animals that get into the pitch. What can you do? There is no room and you have to share it.

There is also a small beach that holds the camping site (better to say where the camping site is blown away by the wind) and there you can kick the ball a bit and dream that you are in Brazil. After all it rains a lot around here and it is so green that it looks like a jungle. However we are in the south, well far into the south.
Michel hardly plays any more. What with his two kids and his jobs he has no time. He is about to retire and, though he left behind those days without sadness, it is a small tragedy if we think about it. Where will you find another centerforward with his mastery?


© Andreas Matt

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