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Thu May 28 12:44:52 EDT 2015, Mechuque

Wed May 27 12:40:08 EDT 2015, Mechuque

Sun May 24 21:11:30 EDT 2015, Mechuque

The beautiful and serene village of Mechuque, on the island of the same name in Golfo de Ancud.

Mon May 25 16:40:14 EDT 2015 | Jocelyn
It is always interesting to read you.
Wed May 20 17:53:13 EDT 2015, Ayacara

I liked this recycling mural, on the side of the bank building in Ayacara

Ayacara Beach
Sun May 17 18:12:36 EDT 2015, Ayacara

At low tide, after the storm.

Anchorages, Storms and Forecasts
Sat May 16 18:00:00 EDT 2015

After enjoying the great hot springs at Isla Llanquahue and the stunning sheer cliffs and waterfalls of Estero Quintepu, we needed to anchor someplace very secure for an expected storm with North (N) winds. There were a couple of possible ports nearby with shelter from N winds; we abandoned our previous cruising plan and chose the farthest, Caleta Ayacara, and had a pleasant sail and motor there. We planned to arrive a day early, but the weather system seemed to move faster than expected, and we were now seeing forecasts of 35-40 knot N winds. This seemed no problem, as Caleta Ayacara was well protected from winds from all directions except South (S) and Southwest (SW).

The anchor dragged at first, then set on the second attempt in a very soft (mud or silt) bottom. We secured everything on deck for high winds, then relaxed. I was very glad that we were at anchor in a port well protected from North winds, rather than at sea.

About midnight, just before going to sleep, I read the latest forecast: South to Southwest winds 35-40 knots--the only directions that our chosen port was not well-protected from! The wind was already howling through the rigging as I considered the options. Relying on the anchor, and a second anchor to hold us against the soft bottom in the waves generated by 35-40 knots of wind coming into the harbor seemed doubtful. We were anchored less than 100m from the beach.

Leaving the harbor and heaving-to at sea seemed the best option, but it depended on how fast the wind would change from N and NW to SW, as we needed to sail several miles along a lee (downwind) shore to get to the open sea if the wind was SW or S.

It was midnight, and would be dark until 0800. I was tired, as was my crew, and I figured that we would need to be at sea for 24-36 hours. My two crew had only been aboard a few days, so didn't know the boat well, and I thought it likely that either or both would be seasick in those conditions, so that I'd need to be awake for most of the time.

Getting some rest seemed like the first priority, and delaying a few hours would likely mean getting a more updated forecast. After a few, fitful hours of sleep, I got up and found updated forecasts, in Spanish and English. I got my crew Maria Olga, who has more experience with this area and Spanish than I do up to confirm my interpretation. Nothing was better, it seemed to me that the storm was hard to predict, which is what was resulting in the greatly changed forecasts.

The dilemma remained--should we put to sea for safety when the wind goes SW (having first to get several miles along a shore exposed to SW & S before we would have nothing downwind of us to be concerned about the wind & seas pushing us into)? Or should we stay in port, safe from the current N winds in the hopes that the forecast change to strong SW doesn't occur?

I reread the section on weather in the cruising guide for the area. It mentioned that the typical passage of a cold front (storm) in this area is to start with strong N winds, then very strong NW winds, followed by W, then SW winds and rapidly decreasing strength. This was encouraging information, though it was talking about typical cold fronts, not this one in particular.

As I plotted the predicted positions of the cold front on the chart and continued to ponder the choice, another forecast came in, only calling for 15 knots of S & SW winds. This was much better!

As daylight arrived, the names on the other boats in the anchorage were now visible. My other crew, Dani, called up the nearest fishing boat, who we had overheard discussing the weather conditions with the Armada (Navy) on the VHF, to ask about the forecast. The fishing boat skipper had a newer forecast, which was for very light SW & S winds, and said that the storm would not be a problem for boats anchored in the harbor.

The later forecast was correct, and we saw only light SW & S winds and waves coming into the anchorage. It was a great relief not to have to consider putting to sea in a gale! Later in the afternoon we were able to row ashore and enjoy the village of Ayacara.

Ayacara Supermercado
Mon May 11 20:02:28 EDT 2015, Ayacara

Ayacara has four friendly little grocery stores (supermercados) of which this is one.

Fri May 15 1:08:44 EDT 2015 | Victor
Can I get avocado there with no volcano ash on it ?
Hope so. Amazing place and the girl in front of it.
Sun May 17 20:29:52 EDT 2015 | Richard Hudson
Fortunately, I'm far enough away from the volcano to not need to be concerned about ash.
Fire Truck
Mon May 4 7:28:53 EDT 2015, Ayacara

I liked this old fire truck. Ayacara is not really on the highway system--there are roads to and from it, but they don't go far. A ferry connects it with Puerto Montt.

Ayacara Church
Sun May 3 12:04:09 EDT 2015, Ayacara

Ayacara is a pleasant little town of about 500 people.

Roadside Bull
Thu Apr 30 19:37:51 EDT 2015, Ayacara

What this bull was doing, 3m (10') away from the road (not obvious from the photo, but that's where he was), I don't know. He looked quite content, but I didn't want to get too close to him.

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