Parked on the Dirt in Puerto Montt

Yesterday was a first for the Silas Crosby as she flew through the air with stubby wings , aided by a 25 ton travelift.

I had been expecting that I would need to sandblast the bottom back to bare steel, after 20 years. However the small blisters are no larger or widespread than when I had the boat on the railway in Valdivia 1 1/2 years ago. So I plan to just re-epoxy the damaged bits before recoating with antifouling. The zincs are being used up nicely , as expected, and seem to be doing their job.

A trip up the mast revealed a missing cotter pin and a clevis pin backed partway out! (the upper end of the stbd forward lower shroud). Way better to find that sooner , than later, with a ‘clunk’ on the deck and a folding mast tangle in mid-ocean.

It is half the price to keep the boat out of the water , so I probably won’t relaunch until mid January.

There are a few foreign boats coming and going. Three boats ; Swiss ,German and French are set head south through the channels. A few boats are slowly making their way north , as far as I can tell from the radio. John on Faraway is south of the Golfo de Penas and making progress to the north.

( I was a little more free with boat and people names in earlier blogs , but some people have real concerns about their ‘privacy’ being protected, so I am now a little more vague. Clearly, privacy is not one of my own big concerns)

There are 15 or so locally owned boats at this marina. In contrast to the foreign boats which are often metal, somewhat worn and laden with gear, the local boats are mostly spiffy , sparkling, bare Beneteaus (or similar) that are used for the weekend and the occasional week trip, just like everywhere else in the world.

As I walk around the boatyard in the early morning , coffee in hand, I can get a close look at some interesting damage to the hauled boats. A 50+ foot aluminum boat with drop ballasted daggerboard clearly hit something with great force in the Antarctic. Dented hull between ribs and damaged centreboard. Ouch.

An Ovni 38 with some rough welding on the starboard quarter where she had an argument with a wharf at Puerto Deseado in southern Argentina. The boat lost the argument. A lot of boats come to some measure of grief at Puerto Deseado. Everyone who has been there has some kind of maritime horror story , with scars to prove it.

Peter and Pam have come and gone , and we had a great two weeks cruising as far south as Castro. Great crew and great company. There is much to be said for limitless curiosity and experience in the mountains, rivers ,and ocean. Curiosity and equanimity are qualities shared by Meredith , Ric , Peter, and Pam. What luck for me!

So now it is time for a little boatwork , a visit home for Christmas , and then to get stoked for the long ocean passages to the north. An epic series of  voyages with mostly fair winds and interesting landfalls.

Here are a few recent photos:




Cruisin’ around Chiloe: sailing in the sunshine, with Photos

We’ve arrived back in Puerto Montt after 2 weeks of cruising down the east coast of Isla Chiloe and over to the mainland inlets.

Pretty good weather all in all , with our share of headwinds, and more than our share of good weather , protected anchorages, congenial local Chileans, and good company aboard.

Again, I will attach some photo access.

A few days here , then I hope to haul the boat out to paint and work on it, before flying north for Christmas.

Southern Chiloe by land

The SUMMER weather continues in a brilliant fashion here in Chile , at the southern part of the island of Chiloe.

After we left Isla Quehi we sailed the 15 miles to Marina Quinched, where I tied up for the third visit. This time , though , Peter and Pam and I rented a little car and did some road travel. After a look around the old town of Castro we drove out to Cucao on the west side of Chiloe. We had expected a gravel road but foundit paved all the way. Much as we expected the west coast of Chiloe is like a lot of the west coast of the Americas , for 8000 miles ( with big gaps) broad sandy beaches with crashing surf, wheeling birds and a cool wind with few people visiting or residing.

On the long west coast of Chiloe there are no shelters at all for boats , large or small.

Next day , yesterday, we drove south towards Quellon, but took a gravel road west into the southern interior of the island. We wanted to visit Tantauco Park. 118,000 hectares of private parkland owned by the president of Chile , Sebastian Pinera, established only about 7 or 8 years ago. It is operated as a wilderness and ‘ecological’ park by the Fundacion Futuro. It is managed by Alan Bannister , the son of William Bannister who owns Marina Quinched.

The park extends to the south coast of Chiloe , and includes a cove , Caleta Inio, which by report is a good shelter for small vessels. I hadn’t heard anything about it and it is not mentioned in any of the guides. It looks very intriguing. Maybe next time by boat.

We paid $12 each for entry , a bit of a surprise. Information about the park is scarce , even interpreting from the spanish language website. The road was rough , and was the worst that the little Chev Spark could handle. 3.5 hours for 38 kms. After passing through the entry gate we were in beautiful temperate jungle with huge manio , coigue and a few other big trees. Immediately we saw a Magellanic Woodpecker and a Chucao Tapaculo.

However that forest didn’t last and we entered a big area of scrubby second growth. With the help of the on-site manager , Sergio , at the Lago Chaiguata headquarters, we discovered that the whole region has been logged for the valuable Guaitecas Cypress tree. Apparently the loggers used fire to clear the bush , moved the logs along the lake , then skidded them with oxen 5 miles to tidewater.

So, not exactly an old growth pristine forest park, but interesting. William Bannister’s other son , John, is just completing his doctorate in forestry at the University of Freiberg in Germany. He has been doing some work at Tantauco ark to try to encourage the faster re-growth of the Cypress trees, using different nursery techniques.

We drove the 3.5 hours back to Quinched after a long day on a rough road : dusty and very hot. Weird contrast to cold and wet. So now we are sailing north east to cross the Golfo to get to Estero Cahuelmo tomorrow to soak in the hotsprings.

I have a bunch of photos , but we were SO BUSY, that I didn’t get the chance to post the links while we had internet. However since the pictures are “public” at picasa they should be visible to anyone who can be bothered looking, I hope.

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