In and around Valdivia, Chile.
04 June 2008
June 10, 2008
The pic here is of "ES". To appreciate her size, 57', Ron, in the yellow jacket is 6'3"!!!
Ron, from Holland, got here here 2 days ago to see his boat during the building process. His will be the 2nd "Atlantic" 57' catamaran to be built by Alex Wopper.
Valdivia, quite unlike the Atacama desert to the north, is surrounded by lush forests and many lakes and rivers...it's actually quite similar to the Quebec Laurentian mountains, except it's only a few kilometers inland from the Pacific Ocean.
This is their Fall season....almost winter here, so...Chile is chilly....and fascinating.
Much work still remains to be done on ES. On such a huge project and there are many issues and decisions to be dealt with. The running rigging on the mast leads to the wrong places and so Alex and his guys have devised a plan to remedy that. Not a simple fix, but a good one. The hatches have a problem and can't close from the inside - Dale is working with Maxwell (the manufacturer) to try to remedy that. Instruments have to be checked and calibrated. Everyone who works here at Alwoplast is a problem solver and ready to find a solution. The owner of the boat, Santi, will spend 3 days here with his wife on June 10. And Chris White, the designer, will be here on the 12th for a few days. Hopefully, we will be ready for sea trial.
Meanwhile, we are trying everything on the boat to be sure they work and if not, things are fixed promptly. Tonight, we will try the washer/dryer! After that we have been invited to Alex's home for sushi made by a woman up the street who lived in Japan for 20 years. We will be joined by Alex's right hand man, Ronnie and his wife.
Dale and I are really looking forward to that.
June 5, 2008
Since yesterday, many things have happened to make me appreciate where we live. There is a truckers' strike to protest the fuel prices (we can relate). When they strike, they burn tires on the Pan American Highway, cut down trees to block the road, and then line up all the trucks behind that. Everything traveling from city to city stops in both directions. The students at the universities are on strike for their own reasons on which I will not elaborate, the government offices, mail services, bus services and fuel stations are all closed either in sympathy with the truckers or because of them. Whatever fuel is in your car here---is what you have until the strike ends.
The mainsail and genoa for the boat were supposed to arrive two days ago but have been found to be in a warehouse in Santiago awaiting a truck to come here. Alex, who lets no moss grow under his feet, had them flown here today-they arrive in Valdivia at 6pm and will be at the yard in the morning! All of the planes are overloaded as people scramble to get their goods flown in. At least we can sail where we need to go soon!
The supermarkets are buzzing with people trying to stock up in case the strike goes on longer than a few days. We have a rental car coming tomorrow and plan to join the masses in our own version of stocking up. We will drop off the laundry at 9pm, shop for what we need for the week, get some long-awaited cappuccino at the Austrian pastry shop in town (perhaps a pastry out of desperation), pick up the laundry and head back to the yard.
I am told that in the event that the truckers hold out for very long, the country will virtually close down. People will be unable to go to work or school and businesses will be unable to operate. Alex, the owner of Alwoplast, has suggested that we stock up on the essentials like toilet paper and wine just in case. Good advice, I think.
Just so your sympathy triggers aren't going off, I must tell you that last evening we (Dale and I) were invited to a sushi dinner at Alex's house with his wife, Ronnie, his partner and his wife. The food was prepared by a local woman who lived in Japan for 20 years and uses local fresh fish to make the sushi. She also made another dish - hot local fish prepared Chilean style with tomatos and wonderful spices. The house was designed and built by Alex and is completely Feng Shui. It is constructed from volcanic rock, local stone and Oregon wood - fabulous. It is surrounded by rivers on three sides and is accompanied by a small island that he owns which houses his garden. It was truly an evening to remember.
The local open market along the river abounds with fish who's names I don't recognize but I have learned to just try. The produce here pales to anything I've seen in out local markets. There's even man smoking local salmon on an open fire.
Valdivia is a beautiful city with a strong German influence as they came here in the 1500s. The architecture is an interesting blend of South American and German ideas.
Our days start at 7:00 am for breakfast after which ES is swarmed at exactly 8:00 am by at least 6 - 9 workers, ranging from cabinet makers, to electricians, plumbers, and riggers.