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Sugar Shack and Horses?

Quintero, with a little of Valparasio and Santiago

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.

Flying the small spinnaker to Quintero

Flying the small spinnaker to Quintero

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.

ARRIVING QUINTERO

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.

Tug Boats and a Wreck Quintero

Tug Boats and a Wreck Quintero

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.

Quintero Anchorage at end of runway

Quintero Anchorage at end of runway

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 de Yates Quintero

Club de Yates Quintero

VALPARASIO

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.

QUINTERO

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.

Horses in Quintero

Horses in Quintero

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.

Orchards on rolling hills in Chile

Orchards on rolling hills in Chile

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.

Mall Sport in Santiago

Mall Sport in Santiago

Outside they had a bowling alley, a go cart track, a pool with a dozen life size ski boats, and a surf wake zone.

Surfing Lessons at Mall Sport

Surfing Lessons at Mall Sport

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!

Sunset in Quintero

Sunset in Quintero

Cool statute as you enter Quintero

Scuba Statue in Quinter

Scuba Statue in Quinter

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!

Fueling in Quintero

Fueling in Quintero

Live Blog: Quintero to Valdivia Detour

Too much wind and waves to continue the slow going on to Valdivia, so we turned around and headed for a sheltered bay.

After a beautiful day, sunny and virtually no waves and simply dodging the fishing fleet, 60+ Meter long fishing boats the sun was setting and the clouds were rolling in. Hmm. Strange sight, not used to that. Dropped the main and continued on motoring south just past Lebu. Waves picked up from every direction, could not find a comfortable point of sail that made forward (south) process. Tried toward land, out to sea and of course straight on, nothing was comfortable. Salt water was washing the boat, and I had just washed it down with fresh water during the beautiful day.. 🙁 The current was also running against us so we were going no where fast.

The final straw was when Auto lost the angle, wind and waves caused a ‘off-course’ alarm and the wind and waves were too much to get us back on course. I took over swung it around into the wind and continued on for a few moments thinking of the best course of action. Grabbed another weather report, it was supposed to get worse, more wind and we were already near 30knots. It was over 60 hrs (120 miles) more at our current pace to arrive Valdiva. 30 miles behind there was shelter, 30 miles ahead a small island that didn’t really have a good protection and with the wind getting stronger didn’t make good sense, so we tucked our tail and headed back.

What a world of difference going with the weather instead of beating in to it. Opened the jib and cruised along comfortably at 6-7knots. Made getting rest a whole lot easier. Followed one of the ‘tugs’ on AIS into the bay here instead of going the long way around the island. AIS create track from boat you are tracking is an awesome feature.

Dropped the hook, made some pulled pork sandwiches with a beer and took a nap. We are anchored in about 4 meters of water at high tide, down to 2 meters twice a day. Long beach and small town of Bahia LLico, hopefully we can brave the cold and take the dinghy ashore and explore some while we wait till what looks like Wednesday before continuing on.

56F degrees this morning, fired up the diesel heater and made the inside a tropical 80F.

Cheers,
All good here. Now 160 miles to get to the mouth of Valdivia River when the weather decides to cooperate :).

At 2/24/2019 @ 1:16 PM
Our position: 37�11.32’S, 073�33.31’W
Traveling 0.5 heading 207T

Diving Kicker Rock

DIVE TOUR: KICKER ROCK

We wanted to dive once before we left the Galapagos. So, we reserved a dive tour off of Kicker rock. Our friend Emily, at Islanders Galapagos organized a fun filled day for us. We hopped in a small boat with about 8 other guests and made our way to Tortuga Beach.

We passed by Kicker Rock on the way to Tortuga Beach and got a great photo op.

Kicker Rock in all her Glory

Kicker Rock in all her Glory

Tobago Beach Lava Hike:

We had a wet landing at Tortuga Beach and went exploring around the lava formations. They jutted up all around us creating pits, gauges, water holes, and towers.  Pockets of water, green plants and cactus poking out of holes and breathtaking views all around.

Lava Formations at Tortgua Beach

Lava Formations at Tortgua Beach

There were several goat skulls. Our guide pointed out that they are aggressive and unwanted creatures that were destroying the natural habitat.  Eating precious turtle and bird eggs and destroying vegetation.  They are not indigenous to the Galapagos.

After a nice fish lunch, we were given our dive instructions. Only Matt, Ron, and I were diving. Everyone else went on a snorkel adventure. I hate to admit it, but I was nervous. Yes, I have well over 100 dives under my belt, but this was with strange gear, new BCD (back inflatable) and full 7mil wetsuit. I had never been diving with a wetsuit and weights. I was unsure of leveling out my buoyancy. It took a village to get me into my wetsuit – and provided a bit of entertainment.  I was laughing and a bit humiliated, not in pain – despite the photo below.

Squeezing into my wetsuit was entertaining for all

Squeezing into my wetsuit was entertaining for all

We jumped in the water which was a brisk 22 Celsius (warm in their standards, freezing for me). Took awhile to get used to the BCD, suit and weights, but we descended to 90’ fairly rapidly. The current was a bit of a bitch to get used to, but we saw some amazing sea life! We swam above several white tip and Galapagos sharks which was a first and a bit intimidating.

UNDER WATER WORLD:

Diving Kicker Rock - descending to 90'

Diving Kicker Rock – descending to 90′

Santiago, our dive guide captured this beautiful manta ray, eel, fish, and starfish.  Not the best photos, but you get the gist.  Clarity was only marginal.

Kicker Rock Underwater Creatures

Kicker Rock Underwater Creatures

The second dive, on the other side of Kicker Rock, produced a huge school Galapagos sharks, a hammerhead shark, lots of sea tortoises, and some beautiful schools of fish.

Swimming with Sharks

Swimming with Sharks

We did see one hammerhead but were not able to get a clear photo of him.  He was there and then he wasn’t.

Kicker rock Fish

Kicker rock Fish

Cerro Brujo Beach Stroll:

We joined the snorkelers back on-board for some hot tea and snacks. On the way back, we stopped by Cerro Brujo to get the iconic view of Kicker Rock through the rock formation. We also enjoyed a beautiful stroll down Cerro Brujo beach (witch’s hill).

Cerro Brujo Beach Walk

Cerro Brujo Beach Walk

Matt and a Sea Wolf Practicing Yoga

Matt and a Sea Wolf Practicing Yoga

PASSAGE PREPARATIONS

Before we leave for our 1800nm passage, we needed to provision and fuel up. Luckily, we still had a lot of frozen food and a few pre-cooked meals from Costa Rica.

Fueling in the Galapagos only takes place in San Cristobal and is done with jerry cans. First, you need to tell your agent 3 days in advance when you want to fuel and how much fuel you need. We needed 150 gallons of diesel, which came in (9) sixteen gallon jerry cans, plus one can of gasoline.

On our delivery day, a panga pulled up with one driver. This should be interesting as each jerry can weighed about 130lbs a piece. After we secured the panga to Sugar Shack, the driver attempted to transfer one can off the back of his boat to our sugar scoop. Let’s just say it came on-board, but it wasn’t pretty.

The rest of the cans were hoisted using a spinnaker line off the side of the boat. Much easier and more efficient process.

We were uncertain as to the quality of the fuel, so we filtered it using our baja filter. To bad our fuel filter wasn’t working properly.  We will have to fix it for next time.  It just took a little ingenuity.

Five hours later, all filled up, we returned the jerry cans and considered it a successful day.

Refueling in Galapagos

Refueling in Galapagos