Blog Statistics

There is a game on this boat that involves looking at the ‘dashboard’ of our website, where we can see how many people have been visiting the site. We can’t tell who they are but we can tell where they are. The readership goes way up when we post more blog entries. By ‘way up’ I mean a couple of hundred per day. This is very likely very small compared to many blogs , but it is still enough to make us wonder : who are these people ?  When I see a single  visit to our site by a resident of the Ivory Coast , I think, cool, not that unusual. could have been a fluke or a mistake.

But who IS that in Port Clements in Haida Gwaii who visits pretty regularly ?  We know who’s reading in Courtenay , Comox ,Victoria , and Vancouver. Our family and friends with a vested interest.

We can open up a World Map with the blog readers’ locations pinpointed.

Corporate strategy.

We are doing a pretty good job with North America , based on the map.  However we have identified an untapped blog market in the northern half of Africa. Granted that is mostly Sahara , but we have a common ground in the nomadic lifestyle , and ‘ships of the desert’ sort of thing.

We would like to say Hi our reader in Latvia. And who is that in Novosibirsk?

Pretty soon , in a couple of weeks  we will be out of internet range again , probably for quite a while. Also , we will likely be getting some more interesting subject for blog posts.

E-mail only , and none too soon

A Little Mystery

Here’s another story. With an open ending.

Our first encounter with Sean Hartel on the yacht “Extreme Snailing” ( a Seidelmann 29) was at Santa Cruz, California one evening in October 2010. They were ferrying friends back and forth to the beach in their 8′ f/g dinghy, loaded to within a few inches of the gunwale. They looked interesting.

Our second encounter with Sean  was in Monterey. I was peering around the bay from where we were anchored outside the harbour shortly after dawn. I was probably using binoculars, which is usual. The local CG 40 foot patrol boat left the harbour at high speed , went out about 2 miles , stopped and took a small craft under tow , then returned to the harbour. I recognised the small vessel as the dinghy from “Extreme Snailing”. I waited until a reasonable hour then went over to Extreme Snailing ,which was anchored nearby, to ask if Sean had a dinghy. He looked around, cursed, then accepted a ride into the CG dock to retrieve the skiff.

Ok , no problem. They were leaving Monterey and wanted to stop and anchor for the night rather than going long distances , and maybe do some surfing and exploring. We talked about Pfeiffer Point and what a sketchy place that is to anchor. We (Cor Leonis and Spray Venture ) had anchored there in 1987 and had a fun and interesting time anchored behind a big kelp garden to break the ocean swell. The 2′ beach break was enough for a dinghy pitchpole with all hands.

Sean and his buddy on Extr. Snailing had worse luck there. They arrived , still towing the dinghy with outboard mounted, and ran into difficulty with fouling kelp , followed by a capsized and sinking dinghy. This led to unpowered drifting towards rocks and surf where the decision to cut away the dinghy was made. Fortunately they had another dinghy , a small oval inflatable job with oars adequate for convenient stowing, only.

From Pfeiffer Pt they went to Santa Barbara where the crew was dropped off.

Next time we met Sean, a few days later, was at Smuggler’s Bay on the S end of Santa Cruz Island. We were hunkered down with 2 or 3 other boats to ride out a predicted gale in Santa Barbara Channel. Sean blew in before dusk and anchored a little closer to the beach. He’d had a good sail across the channel and was ecstatic to have figured out how to heave-to, with the help of a sailing textbook. That allowed him to pee , a good thing in a 7 or 8 hour crossing.

The wind really blew the next day. The big CG cutter from Santa Barbara came in to pick up the mooring to be ‘on station’ for the gale. Despite the gale , Sean came over to our boat for a visit in the evening. It was really blowing. We had difficully getting to the boat in our kayak and dinghy earlier in the day. Nearly blown past out west of Anacapa Island.

Sean blew down to our boat at hull speed in his toy dinghy. Hours later he decided to return to his own boat. It was really smoking and whistling. We offered him a place to sleep on our boat. He declined. He got stoked and set off like a Flightless Steamer Duck with those little oars a blur of spray. He made it back to his boat , but we found his lifejacket in our cockpit, forgotten. We returned it next morning , on our way south .

He had told us his story , briefly , that evening. He had spent his life until recently doing freestyle skiing. He was very good at it , and had won many competitions, at national and world venues. He had spent a lot of time helping a friend who had been badly injured , and had some really interesting stories about that. The sailing thing was new , but the attitude was normal for him.

So that was it , we sailed away towards Catalina Island, and he sailed away , planning to sell the boat and return to Tom’s River to work in the family business. Fifteen year plan.

That was October 2010. In August 2011 (like 3 days ago) I received an e-mail enquiry from a fellow , I think in California.

This guy had been night Scuba diving and had found a submerged yacht named “Extreme Snailing”. He googled the name and found our blog , which had mentioned the boat. He wondered if I had the story on the sinking. I wish.

Unfortunately the diver hasn’t responded to my request for more info , like location , depth , and condition of the boat.

I found Sean Hartel’s Facebook page , but he hasn’t responded to my message.

Undoubtedly there is more to this story.

Maybe this posting will elicit a response.

That’s It.

At the Valdivia Yacht Club (Club de Yates Valdivia)

The first photo is of Jorge Bravo Rodriguez , the manager of the Valdivia Yacht Club. Most mornings he and I meet in his office , sometimes with Marc who is from Belgium, and we have a conversation in Spanish. Often about the  history , politics or culture of Chile. Ostensibly these sessions are to help me improve my Spanish skills. Often , though ,enthusiasm for the content accelerates the speech delivery and I get lost. Originally I was to help Jorge learn some English. However he is far more interested in hearing my Spanish improve than he is in learning English. Marineros come and go and club members phone or visit, so I get to hear a lot of conversation. It is difficult to be sure but I think it is good experience. Much appreciated by me.

The second photo is of the building called a ‘Quincho’ , the shape of which is based I think on a traditional Chilean building. Originally thatched with mud walls they served as a cooking area. This Quincho is the socal center of the yacht club.

The 3rd photo is of ‘Silas Crosby’ moored next to an Island Packet 37 named ‘Bly’. Interesting story about this boat. Made in the USA but purchased in Holland by the original owners. Then swapped for a piece of land in Chile. The 2nd owner , a South African/Swede/American/?? brought the boat from Europe to Uruguay , then subsequently , very quickly around the bottom end of South America to Valdivia. From where it has not moved since last January.

Richard L had sold his property and business in Leeds , UK and flew to the New World for a more rural existence. He was going to buy land , but sometime he realised that it perhaps might not be so idyllic. Instead of buying land in Chile he bought this yacht , from the same vendor. This yacht ‘Bly’ is fully outfitted for sailing anywhere in the world , and is only 6 or 7 years old. So that’s good. However the new owner , Richard, has never been on a boat in his life and is entirely uncontaminated by previous knowledge or experience of boats or sailing. This is a radical move , to purchase your first offshore boat to go sailing in southern Chile. I have loaned him a book or two and it will be great to watch how things go. We discovered that the 18 kg stainless steel anchor had a bent shaft , to about 45 degr. Needs to be straightened , and a second larger anchor obtained. The Bow Thruster doesn’t work. Porobably not really necessary on a 37′ boat , but if he is going to drag it around it might as well be working.

Good Luck , Richard!

The next 2 photos are of Richard standing in front of spring blossoms in Valdivia, and another in the computer department of a dept store in Valdivia. He is communicating  waht he feels about department stores and what he feels about computers. He made his living in IT and was a mainframe programmer for years.

The next photo of the interior of our boat was taken a couple of hours after Meredith returned from her epic South American travels. It was also my laundry day and stormy rainy weather, so a bit crowded

The next 2 photos are of paintings on the wall of the yacht club office. They are by Maurice Cloughley , who with his wife Katie cruised the oceans of the world in the 1970’s and 80’s and apparently visited Valdivia. He taught for many tears up in Canada’s Arctic. Their boat was ‘Nanook of the North’, a beautiful ~ 34′ wood yacht. I rmember reading one of his two books many years ago.

I also remembered some darker aspect to his history.

Here is a link to an article about his sentencing for child abuse crimes while working as a teacher in Canada. I think they now live in New Zealnd where he was born.

The last 4 photos are of a large framed map,also on the office wall, of the route through the Northwest Passage of the Belgian yacht ‘Williwaw’. Willi de Roos was the first to take a yacht through the NW Passage.He was solo. I remember when he came in to Vancouver and tied up in False Creek. Looks like he came to Valdivia , and I guess that was after his NWP transit.

Adrian , on Attila is waiting to leave Valdivia for a non-stop return to Panama. He’ll return in a year to head for the Antarctic , after saving some cash. However the weather is not cooperating , with a lot of strong north winds in the next week or so.

We will stay around for 2 or 3 weeks more , before heading south.

That’s it.