Slow and steady...
18 October 2011 | Valdivia, Chile
While the boat is in the water, we are not going anywhere soon! It's been kind of a rough week. Both Zia and I were sequentially sick for a couple days, and the work on the boat seems to take forever. The mast is finally on, but no boom or sails. The critical path is the electrical, there is only one electrician. I try to grab small jobs and finish them, but we cannot understand each other so I have to wait for the shop boss to come around to get stuff worked out. I am probably annoying them standing around so much. Finally now, there are a few systems hooked up that I can start testing and programming, which keeps me somewhat busy and is probably a relief for everyone. It took a few days to figure out how to reliably start the engines, between missing parts from the engine supplier and wiring quirks. All good now.
The artistic painted floor is completely finished. The protective top coat was barely dry when the shop covered the floor with cardboard, though they kindly uncovered it last Thursday so Nancy could see it in sunlight before she left later that day. Once that cardboard was on, the boat was swarmed with workers, and Nancy could see how anxious everybody was to get on with it and how much remained to be done. There are a few more photos of the floor in the “construction” photo gallery, and when all of the pieces are in place we’ll put up a nice semi-professional gallery on it.
Today we are into our 5th week here. I have been saying "two weeks to finish up" but I am not sure when to start that clock! There is a chance that we will be able to move on to the boat late next week, but not likely sailing at all.
Zia is going all-in with Spanish lessons, attending class 8 hours a week and spending more than that on homework. We are getting fairly comfortable out and about, finding ourselves understanding more every day of the rapid-fire soft spoken local dialect. We are well advanced with shopping, outfitting and provisioning for the journey, with the spare bedroom in the cabanya quite stuffed with boxes of non-perishable food, bags of ropes and drogues, special boots and gloves, months of vitamins, supplements, medical supplies, etc.
We attended a local beer festival in town last weekend, the third annual for this community. The craft brewing industry here is definitely in its infancy, though there are a couple of well established players. Alex the shop boss says this was a chance to walk through a living museum. It was perhaps the size and sophistication of the GABF in 1982, however very family oriented.
We are working on the Patagonia logistics. It is far more complicated than sailing around the warm islands of the Caribbean. For example, as is common in high latitude glacial fjord regions, the calm anchorages are very small and very deep, making conventional anchoring impossible; it is necessary to also run two or more long lines to trees or rocks on shore for stabilizing the boat. So it goes something like this: we back gingerly into a tiny cove while setting the anchor, someone tries to stabilize the boat with the engines while another launches a kayak or dinghy, grabs two lines hanging off the side of the boat, races to shore without the lines getting tangled and ties them around a tree before the boat drifts onto a rock... We practiced this today (just launching and pulling the ropes with the kayak, the boat remained at the dock). Our South African friends showed us their methods and said it seems complicated but we would quickly develop a natural procedure.
Until next time...