October 10, 2005
Seno Gala 44 08 S 73 06 W
We arrived in Puerto Montt almost three weeks ago. We were met at the Club Nautico in the fading twilight by the helping hands of the adventurers who called it their current home. Ruth and Mark on the blue steel Thressera II from Holland; the gruff single hander Rudy from Germany; and Tese and Kiki from Sweden, all became our instant friends. All had arrived after long voyages and, like us, needed social contact.
We invited the group over for Pisco Sours the next night. We exchanged stories about places and passages. Ruth and Mark had worked in Television, she in production and he as a cameraman. They planned to go on to Tahiti and cruise the South Pacific but would have to go back to work for stretches here and there.
Tese has been sailing on Wanderer for seventeen years. Like us, he and Kiki had crossed from New Zealand but had terrible weather. They were rolled over during a ten day gale. Tese fell from his bunk onto the cabin top and was knocked unconscious with a gaping head wound. Kiki bandaged him up. The wooden dinghy and other bits on deck were smashed but somehow the mast stayed together.
Tese is a wooden boat builder and was busy putting the wooden Wanderer back together. They invited us over for dinner and we learned more of this remarkable couple. They were married in South Georgia after Kiki joined single hander Tese in St. Croix. He plans to write a book about the ocean and hopes to spend a year in a nice quiet anchorage. She does not want it too quiet.
We had remarkably little damage and our to do list was small. It took us a week to find charts, repair a sail and provision for the two month leg to the bottom of Chile.
A highlight was a visit from our friends from River Forest, Ann and Anibal Pepper. They were on board when we left for Chiloe, the peaceful island that marks the western side of the Bay de Ancud. We motored out on Tuesday and down the East side of the bay to a narrow almost land locked bay surrounded by snow capped peaks. It was spectacular and a taste of what was to come.
October 17, 2005
46 09S and 73 31W.
We were taking a "short cut" on Saturday between two islands when we ran aground on an uncharted shoal as the tide was falling and had to spend some time before the tide lifted us off. We went to a salmon fish farm, "Salmonera", where a diver looked at the bottom and it looks ok. The fish farm called the Navy and they showed up at 3:00 AM just as we were getting to bed. We had to follow them into the nearest fishing village yesterday, Puerto Aguirre, so the local Armada official could inspect the boat and clear us to go.
I went into the water and looked at the damage-surprisingly it was cosmetic. This was our hardest hit yet. Jeannie was shaken by it but seems to be getting over it. She is making a pizza which is her recovery meal. We will avoid the short cuts for awhile.
We spent today cleaning up and general maintenance we will be on the way tomorrow. The next leg is the toughest in Chile. Since entering Chile we have sailed south through sheltered waters through bays and channels. Now we have to go outside of the channels to enter the Golfo de Penas and the southern channels. This drops us from the roaring 40's into the furious 50's and is the turning point for all of the lows that run around the world unobstructed until they bump up against the Andes which are visible in their snow capped splendor outside the porthole as I write this.
November 2, 2005
51 53 S 73 42 W
We made it around the outside and to the bottom of the Gulf in two days. Our winds were strong and from behind us. We were able to sail most of the way. Downwind sailing continued for long legs through Canal Mesier and Canal Wide. There are hundreds of coves to slip into and channels to explore. We took a diversion up to see the Pio XI Glacier and spent a day marveling at the wall of ice as internal explosions announced the dynamic state of the ice.
We had some unplanned excitement today. After a long downwind sail, I turned on the motor and put it in gear. There followed a lot of vibration but no forward motion. The nut had come off the drive shaft which had then slipped out of the coupling! With some difficulty were able to find an anchorage and, with 20+ knots got the anchor down and a line ashore. We had not seen another soul for days but just at the right time a small fishing boat appeared with three fisherman who helped us.
Tomorrow morning I will go back in the water. I will have to wrap a line around a propeller blade and use winches to pull the shaft forward and then reconnect it.
- Click here for Part 2 -