10 June 2008 | Valdivia and surroundings.
Since the last update, things in Valdivia have returned to normal. The truckers are driving like madmen on the roads, gas is plentiful, just about $.40 more per gallon (that helps the harmony!). It is still raining about 70% of the time, but the rainbows are spectacular.
Here at Alwoplast, things are buzzing as Espiritu Santi moves forward towards being ready to go. The lucky owners, Santi and Carolina(see pic above) arrived this afternoon...her first time seeing the boat and his first time seeing ES floating. Carolina's squeals of delight and multiple picture taking accompanied by a look of awe on Santi's face was embodied perfectly in the full rainbow that seemed to frame Espiritu Santi! All of us agreed that destiny is smiling on this boat and these people.
We are still waiting for the replacement hatch handles that Dale tracked down in New Zealand finally-they are shipping today, the two front replacement windows for the pilothouse are being made in Santiago, the special glue for them is being carried down by Chris White, the designer of ES, a few sailing hardware changes are in the works.
The people who run this yard and those who work here can make anything! I think I have fridge door handle envy since seeing the custom stainless latches that were built from a simple cardboard template that was laying on a workbench when I arrived. The dining table is almost finished and hopefully the sea trials will be uneventful....all we will need then is Alan, Dales husband and 3rd crew member, and a weather window!
The forests here are lush with cypress, eucalyptus and cherry trees. Many of the local establishments are designed with natural cypress. I am including some photos of one particular restaurant, Picamaderos(a part of New Orleans resto), where Dale had wonderful homemade gnocchis and I got my steak fix(still not even close to www.WildfireSteakhouse.com). They had a big woodpecker theme going on there so I guess that's what Picamaderos means.
Just down the street from there is Entrelagos, a haven of chocolate creations and good coffee. You can watch them dipping orange rinds and other fruits in warm dark chocolate-the smell is to die for!
Sunday, it was raining (surprise) but being the only day off, Dale and I ventured up into the Andes foothills -about a two hour drive. We drove around a massive lake with incredible homes through the town of Villarica to a place called Pucon. This could very easily be a small skiing town in Colorado in the 1970s. Overshadowing this area are two huge volcanoes.
At Alex's suggestion, we pushed north about 20 mins further to natural thermal springs encompassed in a cypress and glass building at a resort called Menetue. There we spent an hour in a large thermal pool and watched the rain outside. There was a large woodstove for heat and very few other people as it is the "off" season here. Soon all three of these places will be filled with skiers and snowboarders. (see pics - clk on "photo gallery")
You can also check it out at http://www.menetue.com/
Tomorrow, the weather should give us a small break and we should be able to go out for a sea trial. All of us are excited about this possibility.
BTW, these blogs are being written by BOTH Dale and I.