Chilean departure preparation
12 March 2012 | Valdivia, Chile
While there are a few rumors of a rough passage suffered from the Patagonia channels to Valdivia, the crash and splash gear in the photo above is not our chosen apparel for the upcoming sail! We took a river rafting trip yesterday, class 3 and 4 rapids, a great fresh-water bonding experience for Hekla’s crew, and naturally a great time.
We have been back in Valdivia at the boat yard now for nearly a week, to run through an extended maintenance and inspection, and prepare for our passage to the Galapagos. Nick is onboard, and the entire crew is harmonizing and practicing together very well.
Our exit from the sheltered Patagonia waters back to Valdivia took about 32 hours, more than half of which was on that notoriously lumpy Pacific passage we wrote about in December. We expected gentle westerly winds, but we saw northerly winds, head-on to our course, with mixed southern ocean swell and wind waves that made for rapid and confused boat motion; let’s just say it was one of the more uncomfortable stretches I have ever experienced and three of the stomachs onboard protested, marking our course with intermittent trails of partly digested food. All is well now, attitudes have recovered, and we are looking forward to some warm weather.
Provisioning for 5 people for minimum 3 weeks involved 10 groaning shopping carts and nearly $2000. There is a lot of good Chilean wine in that bill, and overall I do not expect to have provisioning ever as economical as it is here in Chile. Prices are slightly lower than mainstream USA stores, selection good (except for the absence of organic products), though we usually need to go to several stores to get everything.
All in all though, we are ready! Land will fade from sight in the early hours of Tuesday, March 13, until our first expected landfall at Isla Juan Fernandez (also known as Robinson Crusoe Islands) two days later, a tiny outpost of Chilean territory at about 30 degrees south latitude, and right on the way to the Galapagos. We’ll spend a day or so there, fill up on lobster, look for the tiny brewery Insular, and be on our way non-stop north.
We will try to make a post daily, with position shown. One half of our satellite communication gear has failed, leaving only the handheld Iridium, so if we fail to make a post please assume that that equipment has failed, too.
The crew is rested and ready! Cheers!