Our French Polynesia Long-Stay Visas were ready for pick up. Which means we had to make our way to the closest port to Santiago. Normally, that would be Valparasio. However, the three marinas and anchorages in this port are not suitable for us (for reasons explained below). The next port over is Quintero which is where we ended up.
We left Playa Herradura / Coquimbo around 0730 with a bit of sorrow as we both really liked this tranquil bay. If we had time, we would of stayed several more days to take enjoy its calm, beauty. But, our visas were ready and off we go. About 2 hours into our motoring, we rounded the corner and to our great surprise we had 10-12 kts of wind blowing from behind. We wasted no time in getting our small spinnaker out! Following the wind caused us to go about 3nm out of our way in order to enjoy a day of sailing, but it was well worth it! This trip was 42.5 nm in 6:54 hours with an average speed of 6.1 and a max speed of 9.9.
Being able to do this trip in a down wind sail put us both in a great mood. What a glorious day! We arrived around 1430 to a pretty industrial bay. So, not what we are used to. We typically avoid bays like this at any cost, but we really had no choice.
As we approached, we navigated between a dozen cargo and container ships. Once we passed through that mess, we had to zig zag through a field of tug boats. We finally came to Quintero Club de Yates anchorage which had all the boats bow and stern tied. Not so unusual. But what was odd was that they were tied with their stern to the wind. Maybe it makes it less rolly for the monohulls?
Cristobal from the club came out to meet us and offered. He asked how long we were and how much we weighed. After a quick discussion with his mate, he took us to a mooring on the outer edge of the anchorage. He told us the mooring was good for boats up to 20-tons, which was good as we only weigh 15-tons. The disconcerting this was the half-sunk boat just behind us.
The other “interesting” thing is we are right in the path of the military runway. Which would only be a problem if this were a working airfield.
At this point, you are probably thinking, “why are you staying Quintero”? It’s industrial, tons of cargo ships, tugs, a wreck and an airstrip? Well, the three other marinas in Valparasio were not suitable for us.
Quintero Club de Yates
Club Nautico Higuerillas wanted $300 per night to anchor. What? Yep, you read that right. Yacht Club de Chile is too small to accommodate us and asked for $50 per person, per night to use their dinghy dock. And the third place, wanted $25 per per person, per night in a rolly, unprotected anchorage with no dinghy dock in sight.
It is rather frustrating as we had really wanted to stay in Valparasio as it is only 1 hour from Santiago. But we made the best of it by staying in Quintero which is about 1:45 from Santiago and a better anchorage, even with the other issues.
After we checked in with the armada and the club, we went to explore this very small town. It is bigger than Playa Herradura, but not by much. It was Saturday so there were lots of people milling around.
There is a really long beach that runs along the bay and in front of the airfield. They have a cool way to get from one side of the beach to the other…horse drawn wagons. Matt did not want to “commit” to petting it – as you can see in the photo below. It is not every day you get a picture of your boat with a horse in it as well.
Matt and I hopped into a collective taxi to Vina del Mar (Valparasio) to rent a car. 35 minutes and $12 later, we arrived at our car rental, picked up a Kia Morning and were on our way. We needed to find a marine store, bus/RV parts store, and a few other things. Valparasio is extremely difficult to navigate as it has tons of one-way streets, long stretches of highway with no exits and barely visible street signs. We quickly got frustrated after not finding two different stores and left. We headed toward Santiago.
The road to Santiago is lovely. You meander through sweeping mountains and valleys. They grow their crops almost to the top of the hills. Can’t imagine how they water and pick the fruits in steep hills but it makes for a lovely image.
MALL SPORT: Bringing the outdoors, indoors.
We found ProNautica at the Mall Sport. We did not know what was inside “Mall Sport” and frankly did not care as we only wanted a marine store. However, when we walked in, we were astonished! The entire mall is dedicated to sports. And I mean, the entire mall, inside, outside, stores, everywhere! Each and every store was dedicated to a sport, futbal, basketball, equestrian, biking, climbing, camping, swimming, etc… In the center of the mail, they had activities and showcases. A huge area dedicated to showing off elite bikes where you could test drive them. A rock climbing wall, a zipline, activities for kids of all ages.
Outside they had a bowling alley, a go cart track, a pool with a dozen life size ski boats, and a surf wake zone.
The ProNautica did not have nearly enough marine products, but we were able to grab some spark plugs, dynema, and 2-stroke oil. Not a lost adventure, as this mall was beyond anything I have ever seen. We so need one in Austin and LA!
Cool statute as you enter Quintero
Another fuel adventure. Motoring down the southern coast of Chile is costing a lot in fuel, but somehow we always seem to find a way to get it done. The administrator of the club had a staff member, take 5 of their 60 liter drums to the gas station, fill up the drums, and put back inside her car! They then helped load them into Sweetie and repeated the process a 2nd time. Chileans truly are amazing people!