Wed Mar 4 16:39:10 EST 2015, 41 29.5'S;73 59'W
There have been a lot of forest fires lately here. If there is no wind, the smoke often doesn't blow away, and makes a haze over the water.
It rained the other day--the first rain since I've arrived--and that seems to have helped put out the forest fires.
Sat Feb 28 6:58:54 EST 2015
Fri Feb 27 6:56:36 EST 2015
With a large tidal range, boats frequently take to the beach.
Wed Feb 25 6:52:04 EST 2015
Issuma is anchored a short bus ride from the centre of Puerto Montt in Chinquihue. It is a pleasant and pretty anchorage, full of fishing boats.
Mon Feb 23 13:16:27 EST 2015
At the time of writing, a half moon is putting a magical glimmer on the wave tops, some stars are saying hello. Issuma is doing 6,5 knots, facing her bow eastward to Chile. She is going on tracks, it's a pure enjoyment, an honour to be night-watching her!
In mid October, I was still busy with charity-work in the Philippines. Me and my girlfriend went there to help after they got struck by the devastating typhoon Haiyan, in Dec. 2013. When our work there came towards its end, my girlfriend got an invitation for doing a yoga-teacher-training course in India. So of she went....and me, what should I busy myself with now? ...i asked myself. I Checked my "dream-adventure-shelf"....and came to the conclusion, I wanna go sailing!
After some longer research and a bunch of e-mails, I got in contact with Richard and Issuma. We exchanged some e-mails, soon I was invited and booked my flight.
(I joined as a crew on the 17th of November 2014, in Puerto Escondidio (Loreto), Baja California in Mexico.
And honestly, I was a bit nervous at start, seeing those two big masts and all the halyards and sheets. But it all settled in, thanks a lot to Richard's great patience, calmness and happiness in sharing his knowledge! I early on told him my admiration and deep respect for this.
It has been a full on adventure from the very start and ever since. Here are some of my best memories on Issuma:)
All the sunrises/sunsets. I been traveling for 8 years now and seen many of them in different places. But it is indeed something special far out on the open sea!
Catching fishes. All the attempts, all the "almost-ones", the raw and delicious wahoo-wahoo, ceviche, fish stew, the doublecatch of the 2 tunas. Followed by 8 days of 3 meals a day of tuna eating.
Sailstiching/Cooking. Sitting in my favourite lotus position, the smiling sun above me, focusing on the white sail and go in-out, in-out with the needle. So meditative, no wonder Gandhi loved spinning wool so much! Probably the task I enjoyed the most after reefing/shaking the sails, and cooking of course. Which I have been enjoying a lot, I just love making people happy, and especially through serving them a good meal.
Time. All the time in between for reading books, writing my diary and especially for personal reflection. An absolute treasure.
( In these months I have got so much practise on sailing, and I do for sure have a crush on it!
Richard always has an ear open for your questions and he is a great captain. He is obviously telling you how/where things have to be, but is always open for an discussion/consulting. Not at all a classic; command-you go scrub the deck-captain. He treats his crew with humbleness and makes sure they are feeling the teamspirit)
(If a full on adventure is what you are looking for, great sailing practice, alongside good conversations and laughs, then Richard is the man to talk to.)
I'm sure that this isn't our last sail together...
For now, I wish Richard and Issuma all the best on your further adventures.
Fare winds....a Big Viking-Hug!
Tack så mycket.....Max.
Fri Feb 20 12:24:06 EST 2015
The plan seemed good--it just didn't work out that way.
After a good night's sleep, we left our serene anchorage at Bahia Manao to motor 40 miles to an island--Isla Guar--where we intended to anchor for the night.
Nestled into a fjord lined with farms and forests, we went to the old river at its head, to anchor in what we expected to be mud and gravel. Twice we set the spade anchor, twice we dragged. Late in the day, with an onshore wind now funnelling up the fjord where we were a boat-length away from the steep beach if we dragged, we left for what looked on the chart as a potential anchorage. It was just a wide bay, but the American chart I was using indicated a gradually sloping bottom, taking a mile to go from 100m deep to the shore, and with a sandy bottom (good for anchors to dig into).
We'd seen a lot of fish farms (salmoneras)--large, penned-off areas containing fish--in Chile, and expected there would be some in the bay. Avoiding fish farms is not easy--they seem to have only two flashing lights, and judging where they s
tart and end at night, especially with multiple farms around, is difficult.
It would be night when we arrived, I considered just putting to sea and heaving-to for the night. But first, I decided to try anchoring , which would allow us a good nights sleep (by not having to stand watches).
Some more checking of charts showed that an old Chilean chart of the area agreed with the American chart, but a newer Chilean chart showed no information about the type of bottom (sand, mud, rock, etc), or the depths.
In the darkness, we motored slowly into the bay. Max was on the foredeck with a spotlight, I steered and looked at the chartplotter, radar and depthsounder. Sometimes we would see the fish farms on radar before picking them up with the spotlight. Not only were there fish farms with their minimal lights, there were what seemed to be disassembled fish farms, with no lights. And large, unlit, plastic (invisible to radar) buoys with thick ropes between them.
We picked our way carefully thru the dark maze. When we reached the position the chart said should be 16m and sandy bottom, the depth was over 100m. No problem, I thought, the longitude could be incorrect on the chart--a common problem with old charts (surveyed before accurate time or satellite positioning was easily available), even though the chart said that satellite-derived positions could be plotted directly on the chart.
Another hour of picking our way thru the maze found us in 50m of water, about 100m from shore, surrounded by moored boats and barges. It was time to back out.
What a blessing it was having a track on the chartplotter of the route we had come in on. We tried taking a simpler route out, but found too many fish farms and anchored pieces of them to be able to leave that way. So we retraced our entrance route completely , and ultimately left the bay and got into open water, away from shore and islands, and under sail by 0400.
We divided the remaining three hours of night into two watches, though Max kindly didn't wake me for mine until dawn, so I had three blissful hours of sleep, awakening shivering (from not having taken out enough blankets for the temperature) and refreshed.
Cold, wet and misty, the dawn brought an invigorating tailwind. With hot cups of tea, I set more sail and we headed towards our destination, the city of Puerto Montt.
Wed Feb 18 8:20:07 EST 2015, Isla Chiloe, Chile
The wind was strong and cold as it pushed us east. Though not really cold -- 9C (48F) -- we're still adapting after coming from the tropics. For night watches, I had three layers of clothes on and still spent much of the time in the doghouse (the entrance to the pilothouse, made of 12mm (1/2") polycarbonate over a steel frame, slightly larger than a person, it is a snug place to look out from). An unwelcome wave had earlier awoken me with a slap in the face while I was sleeping in bed.
There was a coastal wave warning on the navtex. The seas weren't really large -- 3-5m (10-15'), but the Armada seemed to be warning people to avoid the coast. We crossed the continental shelf (where the change in depths makes the sea rougher) in daylight, then slowed down overnight to arrive at the coast after dawn.
At dawn, we checked the distance to the coast with radar to confirm what the chartplotter indicated, then raised more sail and enjoyed a wonderful broad reach to the north of the island of Chiloe.
There was a channel ahead with nine knot tidal currents which we needed to enter at the correct time. As we had arrived early, we anchored and enjoyed a couple of hours of blissful sleep. We confirmed with a nearby fisherman that the timing was correct for the channel, then, in fading winds, motored into it. The channel was much less challenging than I thought it might be--we arrived at neap (small) tides, so there was little current.
After the channel, we motored thru the largest tidal race (confused seas) I've ever gone thru, to a nearby bay, past many salmon farms, where we anchored for the night. The water in the bay was calm, the air was still, the sun shone softly on the farms and forests ashore. A serene place to relax after three weeks at sea.
A local sailboat (see entry below), built by its owner, came over to say hello and welcome to Chile.
Wed Feb 18 8:19:04 EST 2015
Sat Feb 14 8:49:00 EST 2015, 41 00'S:81 00'W,
The light of the moon feels cold. But it is most welcome as we make our way further to the cold south.
We've been fortunate to have moonlight most nights since leaving Rapa Nui.
Not to detract from the beauty of the stars at night, but it's peaceful and inspiring to watch the waves sparkle and move in the moonlight. Makes it easier to stay awake on night watch, too :).
Sun Feb 8 10:01:00 EST 2015