Friday, 15 September 2017

On our Way Again

During the last six months since arriving in Valdivia, Chile, we had barely moved our sailboat TRAVERSAY III more than a few hundred meters. Some of the winter storms in Valdivia are indeed fierce but at our berth, the river is less than a half a mile wide and any discomfort was limited to the sound of heavy rain hammering on the deck and wind howling in the rigging. Inside, we were warm and dry.

We benefited greatly from social occasions with friends, old and new, and from the cultural scene in this fine university city. There were concerts to attend, museums and colonial fortresses to visit and fine dining, sometimes just ourselves and at times with company.

The Yacht Club de Valdivia where we and our boat stayed was friendly, helpful and secure.

As is usually the case though, after such a long time stationary we become restless and feel that it is time to leave. We have a large part of the coast of Chile to explore and a limited time available. The first difficulty though is getting away! The first 10 miles is easy ... down a calm scenic river with high green hills on each side. After that though, the route is south 100 miles through open ocean before sheltered water is again found. That hundred miles is generally either very stormy or has strong contrary winds. Once every week or so, there is a weather window just long enough that the usual unpleasantness is limited to 2-3 meter seas flowing across the entire Pacific from storms thousands of miles away.

To add to this timing burden, the entrance channel from the open sea to the sheltered inside passages of southern Chile has tidal currents so fierce that there are only two periods each day that allow entry. Not only are the contrary currents stronger than our boat speed but they also cause those large Southern Ocean swells to rise up and break dangerously. Timing is everything!

We have now run that gauntlet and are peacefully anchored with sheltering green islands close all around. We visited the nearby village of Mechuque this afternoon and chatted with people who have spent their whole lives there. Large wooden motorboats and passenger ferries are dried on the beach as the five meter tides recede to allow work to be done on them. Across the harbor a wooden skeleton of a new boat was taking form at the local shipyard. The whole village and its people seem to have been transported magically from a more peaceful time and dropped into our present busy century.

Tomorrow we move a short distance to visit another island village as we slowly move towards Castro, our last city on the way south.
At 2017-09-15 02:04 (utc) our position was 42°19.37'S 073°15.28'W

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