We received a proper send off from the lobos, dolphins and birds as we left the Chile Port of Antofagasta. We are headed to Caldera which is about 200nm away. The journey should take us 1.5 days with some wind even though the current and waves are going against us.
Arturo, from Club de Yates, led us out of our first Chile Port and through the foamy mess (see below top left photo. We had lots of lobos sightings along the way. It was super cute because they pop their head out of the water, look around, dip under, and pop up again. They do this in a circle of about 5-6 other lobos.
The landscape is beautiful despite not having any greenery. Rolling hills in various shades of tans and browns.
We managed to catch three of the same type of fish. We released them all as we could not identify them, let us know if you know what type of fish these are – maybe part of the tuna family?
You’ll notice the landscape is really barren and dry. We are definitely in the dry zone. They may get 1” of rain per year, but not every year. It is strange to me to see beaches near the desert but that is exactly what you see when you come to Northern Chile.
We had zero wind for this trip and glassy water conditions during the day. At night we had swirly 1m waves, but it was a full on motor the entire way. Matt did a wonderful live blog on 27 January, so I won’t repeat his beautiful words. Check it out here. We cut off one engine and slowed down the other engine so we could arrive during daylight. After 218 nm, 45 hours and 20 minutes we arrived in Caldera.
The Chile Port of Caldera bay is nice and large. We anchored near the Club de Yachts. As we watched our anchor, many yacht club members came by (kayak, boats) to say “hello” and welcome us to town. We of course found more lobos. The interesting thing is the area by the beach was set against huge, beautiful rock formations which gave the entire area a unique and stunning look.
We enjoyed this small town even though we only stayed for one day. We checked in with the Armada, had a not so tasty lunch at La Chispa de Dona Luisa, and walked around. The yacht club and the beaches were pretty busy, but that is not surprising as it is Sunday, family day.
Most shops were closed, but we stumbled across the Caldera Railway Station which was commissioned in 1850. This train terminal had the first train depart in South America on 25 December 1851.
We also came across a statue of San Pedro Caldera, lots of funny looking manikins, a hungry shark, an old ship perched on to of a tourist building roof, and a crooked Caledera sign,
We found the local markets, hardware stores, and “tourist” traps. Mostly this tiny town offered beach toys and stuff at the local tiendas. We celebrated our new town with a beer.
We motored over to the next bay, Puerto Caladerilla for our second night. The town was really, really small and we did not see any places to dock the dinghy. So, we enjoyed a nice evening onboard.
Main photo of me next to Caldera colorful sign
We left late in the afternoon and were headed to the Chile Port of Calderilla which is a small bay less than 10nm from Caldera. We made a light dinner and called it an early night. The bay was relatively calm, very quiet and peaceful. We got up early the next morning to continue heading south. As we left the bay, we grabbed a few shots of the rocky coast.
It was another windless day but at least it was not on our nose. We were able to let the jib out for a few short stints which gave us an extra knot or two. Super calm seas, blue skies, and lots of lobos playing in the water.
The Chile Port of Bahia Salado is a very isolated bay. There are 5 structures that appear to be housing compounds for the mine that operates just over the hill. They could also be summer homes, but there is literally nothing around except these compounds and the mine. How far do they have to go to get bread or milk or beer?
After we finished dinner, around 8pm, we watched two guys in kayaks make their way from shore to our boat. Somewhere half way between, one fell overboard. At this point they were about ¼ mile from shore. As I finished up the dishes, Matt said they were getting closer. Interesting. I peeked and it appeared that one guy was pulling the other guy who was still in the water. The guy in the water was pulling his kayak while holding on to his friend’s kayak. Poor thing it was freezing outside and in the water!
They asked for help to bring them back to shore. I wish I would have grabbed my camera as it was the funniest image. We tied one kayak with the guy still in it to Sweetie. The other guy jumped in the dinghy as we then tied his kayak to the back of Sweetie. He was in a t-shirt and shorts when he should have been in a full wetsuit. He was shivering in the dink while his friend was having the time of his life riding the kayak as Sweetie towed him to shore. It was hysterical.
Miles traveled from Calderilla to Bahia Salado 38.6 which took us about 6.5 hours at an average speed of 5.6kts.