Wednesday, January 04, 2012

CHILE

On December 23rd, we uneventfully entered the notorious roaring 40s on our continued passage to mainland Chile from Easter Island. We were now below 40 degrees south and heading almost due east. We were not anxious as it is the summertime here now in December, and the pilot charts indicate a very low chance of heavy weather at this time of year.

It seemed to be nonsensical to check every 15 minutes as after 18 days there had been no sign of another soul. But still, it had to be done. You just never know when something might appear. Very lonely feeling - where is everyone! The whole rest of the world could be collapsing and we wouldn't know it.

But then we finally saw our first boat early in the morning at 06:15 on January 1, 2012. Funny how something so minor can still be exciting! I woke Jordan to see if he could identify it as I didn't know what it was. He thought it resembled a square rigger without the rigging and then thought maybe a whaling ship. I sure hoped it wasn't out for whales.

You want to see the boat, right?

Starting the last week of December, we were talking with people once again through the Patagonia Net on the Ham radio. One day we even spoke with Steve of SV Silas Crosby on the net - we had met Steve last year in December at a potluck in the Sea of Cortez (Mexico) and he is now in southern Chile.

Boat jobs at sea: Jordan re-caulked the leaking stateroom hatch so hopefully no more leaks. And the bilge alarm kept sounding meaning a leak somewhere else. When Jordan tasted the leaking water, he discovered it was fresh water and not sea water. Phew! Took him awhile to find the source but then it was an easy fix. The water pre-filter housing had a crack so Jordan installed a replacement.

After 21 days, Land Ho! Sea life became abundant on our approach and entry to the channel. Seals, dolphins, pelicans, gulls, cormorants, and even little penguins! Landfall was after a raucous last day of sailing with strong south winds on the beam. But the skies were clear and the wind abated for a splendid channel entry motoring and then some lazy sailing into the channel islands with the snow capped Andes as the backdrop. It was the first day that Jordan never left the cockpit, taking it all in.

Puerto Montt and the Andes Mountains as we approach

We were trying for a Puerto Montt check-in but couldn't quite make it before sunset, so held up 20 NM south and then finished the next morning with a sunny spinnaker run. Club Nautico Yacht Club had a berth waiting (S41°29.969' W072°59.247') and arranged the officials to come down to do the paperwork. It was January 4, 2012.

We achieved some great speeds on this trip - most nautical miles in 1 day: 153. However, we were becalmed a couple of times, once for almost an entire day. That gave us only 29 nautical miles. This journey felt longer than it really was. We were fighting for favourable winds so much of the time with it coming from the wrong direction or then all of a sudden not at all for hours on end. This made for a lot of sail changing. Total nautical miles from Easter Island to Puerto Montt: 2,178. This was actually about 200 NM less than sailing to Easter Island which we did in a quicker time of 19 days rather than 21 days to Puerto Montt.

As a side note, one of the officials asked us if we knew that a search was on for a single-handed sailor who had left Easter Island 12 days behind us. A couple of days later, we heard that he was rescued. He was 84 (no, that's not a typo) years old and was making his 7th attempt to round Cape Horn when he had a rigging failure on his Westsail 32. The Chilean search and rescue had spotted him 2 days after he activated his EPIRB and had arranged a freighter 250 miles away to go pluck him off his boat. A happy/sad ending for him.

5 comments:

Kyra and Rick said...

Loved your stories of Easter Island, can't believe you're in Chile! It's so great to follow you on your journey - so refreshingly different!
Happy New Year! Cheers

White Shell II said...

So good to hear your voice the other day on Skype. Many blessings sent your way for a great year of sailing until we meet again. Luisa y Claes in Costa Rica heading back to El Salvador and our boat.

SV Estrellita 5.10b said...

We saw your registration on the Puddle Jump and thought we should say hi to a fellow Victoria, BC couple on a 35' boat.

Hope to meet up somewhere tropical,

Livia & Carol

Anonymous said...

Hey you guys.. way to go!! You must be the 'most distance travelled' for our fleet (2004)... Keep up the great blog.. love to follow your travels..
Carolyn & Kathy
SV Shannon

Tara said...

I follow you regularly too and tweet links to your blog. Love the photos of Easter Island. Glad all is well on your adventure. Nothing new in #yyj so keep cruising.