at home on the Rio Valdivia

We have been here a week now and we are settling in nicely. Classic mid latitude autumn weather with crisp mornings and warm mid day , or blowing rain.
Handy cheap frequent buses to Valdivia city with a great daily farmer’s and fisherman’s market.
The community of people on cruising boats at Marina Estancilla is typically mixed with the different economic strata of western society well represented , from the wealthy to the nearly penniless.

In a few days I am going to get on a bus and travel 11 hrs to Santiago to meet Barb who is going to spend a month with me in Chile. She is leaving a really nice month in BC for a worsening weather month in Los Rios area of Chile. Still the temp has not dropped under 8 c and it apparently rarely does. No snow or frost here.

Meredith is going to go travelling in SA and has only to decide on her mode of travel. More on that later.

I changed the heater tank , pulled out the corroded aluminum tank and replaced it with a normal red 5 gal plastic jug. The vent was drilled out and a nipple threaded in to accept the fuel hose. Installed on its side on a small shelf in
the head compartment and the filler can be cracked occasionally for venting. Very simple. I refilled it using a squeezebulb and hose normally used on an outboard motor fuel line.

We have pretty good Wifi from a resort a few hundred metres away using Doug Swanson’s wifi antenna.

It is a huge workout for my Spanish skills here. Nobody speaks english. This is excellent. I hope to progress beyond spanish pidgin. Start with Ser and Estar , right ?
Meredith is nearly fluent but finds it exhausting to have a casual conversation , as they do not make any allowances for her.

Geoff and Linda on Curare are still enroute ,about 500 miles from valdivia , but they are in calm conditions , so are motoring.

Emily on ‘Bobbie’ is still at Easter and may now be hauled out by crane. I will check her website. www.bobbiesailsaround the world.com

Lots more stories about the other cruisers here as they have come from all over the world. Later.

Great local beer.
Walking is good.

Marina is $175 per month.
That’s it for now.

Safe in the Harbour at last

Valdivia : what a nice name.

Marina Estancilla , on the river 8km downstream from the small city of Valdivia. A very small marina in a very quiet spot. Serene. Pastoral.

What a contrast to the violent movement from waves and wind of , particularly ,yesterday.

This big front swept over us , part of a really big deep Southern Ocean Low Pressure system just to the south of us. It was deeper and stronger than any of our sources indicated. It was really smoking. The barometer went from 1015 to 985 (30 mb) in about 18 hrs , then rebounded to 1002 this morning. Looks like a big Vee on the barograph

The Jordan Series Drogue went over the stern. Why not ? Chuck it over , go below and read a book. When the HOWLING of the wind drops a few notes , get the raingear on and go upstairs to retrieve the drogue and carry on sailing.

It is as close as we can get to a good response to the eternal demand in harrowing circumstances :”Beam me up”.

Since leaving Cabo San Lucas Mexico on Feb 5th we have covered 6499 miles in 59 days . Not a blistering pace by any means , but we had no gear failures or injuries.

Now we change gears and live here in Chile for a while. I was never really certain that we would get here so I haven’t made many plans. Looks like lots of walking. New birds. I have already seen umbrellas for sale. We plan to sail south down the channels towards Cape Horn starting in Aug or Sept.

Last Night

Here we are 70 miles west of the coast of Chile. Three months and 6000 miles of sailing and we end up approaching the new continent at night , in a gale and rain , 16′ seas from the SW.

This is the real deal. Full wet gear , 3 wool sweaters , long johns , fleece pants, gloves and toque. Blowing like the clappers. WE even had the drogue out for a while today. Gusting well into the 40’s. We were laid right over with only the storm jib up. This little sail looks like a toy, like the flap on an envelope. But it is pulling us at 4.5 to 6 knots right now.

The howl of the wind rises, and prompts me to leave the keyboard , and reach a hand out the doorway into the cockpit, through the canvas curtains , and grab the tiller ,correcting our course. The gusts over power the windvane.

The barometer plummeted from 1015 yesterday morning to 985 at noon today. 30 millibars !

Our kayaks , on the sidedecks regularly float as the decks are inundated.

Imagine closing this coast in these conditions with only a sextant and dead reckoning. I would have more than a little anxiety.

Meredith and I talk about walking upright without staggering , maybe holding an umbrella. That would be nice.

Maybe tomorrow , if we play this game carefully tonight.