It's Not All Glamour
26 March 2012 | 15 10'S:86 03'W, Pacific Ocean
Marcia and Carolina stepped on board and began imagining a life of glamour in which they were the stars. They posed like movie stars in front of the Valdivia cityscape and lay decadently on the nets, happy to be out of the office. I was glad to give them, Martin, and Ricardo a small ride onboard Hekla, the eighth Atlantic57 they had helped become a reality. They are part of the administrative and management team of Alwoplast and several had never even been on a boat before. We motored up the river and back down on a beautiful sunny day. At one point, Marcia asked, What's for dinner? And shall we have an aperitif at six on the aft deck?" she also asked, "Which cabin is mine?", and jokingly said, "We'd better be careful for stowaways". It was hard not to believe that life on Hekla was always so easy, so grand on our short trip. Now we are anchored on the deserted south side of Juan Fernandez Island in Bahia Carvahal. There are two other German boats here with us. It's a little rolly, but not anything like last night's anchorage on the front side. That bay, Bahia Cumberland, is exposed to the north and northwest, when a low pressure system tracked unusually far north and made a direct hit on the island, bringing big seas and high winds from the north with it, slamming our unprotected anchorage with fury. We rocked this way then snapped on the bridle lines that way. We rocked forward then back and sideways too. Beer bottles, puke buckets, and other assorted dishes flew off tables and counters. Hekla took wave slaps like a man, and we listened to the repercussions sounding like cannons. Waves punched the saloon underside. Violence reigned, but the anchor held and we dig not drag nor hit the neighboring boats; Spirit of Africa another catamaran and Suvretta, a monohull. Sam's Suvretta rolled showin g her underside. Her mast drew huge circles in the sky with passing waves. Her bow rose into the air bringing the mooring ball with it only to point downwards seconds later her stern end now lifted. We watched in horror hoping Sam was okay in his bucking bronco, while we ourselves, secretly glad to be in a catamaran, kept one and sometimes both hands on Hekla at all times. I wondered what the girls would think of the sailing life now? We had already endured an extremely rough 50 hour passage from Valdivia to Juan Fernandez Islands. Jeff had promised us an easy downwind sail. He felt terrible when in addition to the downwind there were huge crazy swells. Kati was laid out prostrate puking with every sip of water. I even puked, my second time in my short sailing career. Hekla surfed and sailed every which way in the every which way twelve foot waves. It sometimes looked like a three way high five; three waves coming together in a furious frothy point. Nighttime was the worst as darkness descended and the waves came at us seemingly out of nowhere. Not able to sleep as Hekla rose and crashed landed with especial force, I got up to see what was going on. Kati was prone on the sofa, Jeff was prone on the dinning settee. Zach was passed out in his cabin, and Nick was at the nav station, head phones on head bobbing to his music and to each slam. We all took turns on night watch, well except for Kati, but he r presence helped a few of us make it through the dark wee hours. When morning dawned and we finally saw land again, all of us breathed a bit easier. We were even more glad to anchor. We felt a bit beat up but we were happy to be settled for a little rest before the longer Juan Fernandez to Galapagos leg, and happy to see our fellow cruisers; Rowland and Miki moored on Spirit of Africa nearby. We had a day and a half exploring town, provisioning and hiking to the look out where we could see two sides of the island, before the anchorage got nasty. A blessed, if brief, peace.