Category Archives: Chile

Adventures in Chile and along the southern coast

Hanging out on Robinson Crusoe

Storybook Island: Robinson Crusoe

Not many people have an opportunity to visit this small island.  Chileans refer to it as Juan Fernandez, but it is more famously called Robinson Crusoe island.  The storybook is based on this island.  From Valdivia, Chile to Juan Fernandez is about 500nm and should take us 4-5 days.  We did not expect a lot of weather and were hoping for a good sail.  As luck would have it, we sailed the entire way with the mostly the small spinnaker!

TRIP DETAILS

  • Departed Valdivia on Saturday, 9 Mar at 1415pm
  • Arrived Juan Fernandez on Wednesday, 13 Mar at 0100am
  • Miles Traveled 485
  • Max speed 12.1
  • Average speed 5.5

Very early morning arrival at Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe. Certainly not idea, so we took all precautions entering Bahia Cumberland at 1 am in the morning.  We circled for about an hour trying to determine the best anchorage.  It was extremely deep, even close to the fishing boats, at 40-60 meters.  Not good for anchoring.  It was pitch black, no moon, and only a few street lights on shore.  On the first attempt, we dropped the hook in 26 meters of water.  We sat and watched it and decided we did not feel comfortable with our swing.  The second attempt. we dropped it in 24 meters of water.  We had a little more swing room, but didn’t feel comfortable.  Matt ended up staying awake until day break when we moved for a 3rd time.  Deep, dark blue water.

Cumberland Bay at Robinson Crusoe

Cumberland Bay at Robinson Crusoe

FORMALITIES:

Went ashore and first met with SAG (agricultural department) to ensure we did not bring any fruits, veggies, meats from another country.  Then we stopped in to see the Parque National Arch de Juan Fernandez to get our park passes.  Our last stop was the Armada to clear into the island.  Everything went smoothly.

Decision time.  Go back to the boat and try to catch up on some sleep or explore.  We decided to go exploring.  We only have a few days here so why not make the most of it?

HISTORY OF ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND

The archipelago was discovered in the 1500’s by Fernandez, a Spanish sailor of Portuguese origin. There are three islands that make up this archipelago.  Robinson Crusoe, Marinero Alejandro Selkirk, and Santa Clara.  These islands are thought to be between 2 and 4 million years old.

Many unsuccessful attempts were made to colonize the islands.  Two ships from the English corsairs anchored in front of what is now known as Robinson Crusoe island in 1704.  A boatswain by the name of Alejandro Selkirk argued with the captain and was left on the island with only a bible, knife, rifle, pound of powder, tobacco and some clothes.  He remained on the island for 4 years and 4 months before his rescue by an English corsair.  Alejandro’s diary and story were the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s famous storybook “The Incredible and Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.”

TODAY IN SAN JUAN BAUTISTA

Newly constructed buildings now house small tiendas and restaurants along the shore.  It was lovely, but odd because they all looked so new.  We discovered a tsunami destroyed Cumberland Bay and the small town of San Juan Bautista in 2010.

Robinson Crusoe Town

Robinson Crusoe Town

Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Valdivia Serene Beauty

It was such a relief to reach our destination.  Mainly because the point of sail we were on sucks!  Heading into the wind and current and bashing through the seas is just no fun at all.  We traveled 5-6nm  up the river to Club de Yates, Marina Estancilla.  It was breathtaking!

Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Club de Yates, Marina Estancilla is located right next to Alwoplast which is a pretty famous boat building location for Chris White Yachts.  We had originally planned on staying at Alwoplast because we were hoping to haul the boat out for a survey.  However, we could not find any qualified surveyors in the continent.  We convinced a Brazilian surveyor to come, but he cancelled 1 week before the haul out due to illness.  Huge long, boring story but we need a new survey to obtain insurance.  Couldn’t get the survey so on to plan B.  Another time.

Alwoplast in Valdivia, Chile

Alwoplast in Valdivia, Chile

Club de Yates – Marina Estancilla

Club de Yates has two floating docks, hot showers, laundry, electricity, water, and a good wifi.  It is really small but fits our needs perfectly.  At a cost of 24,500 pesos per day ($38 USD) it was an offer we could not refuse.  The staff is extremely helpful, the bus stops right in front of the marina, and it is incredibly peaceful.

Club de Yates, Marina Estancilla docks

Club de Yates, Marina Estancilla docks

This beautiful, colorgul bird can be found in the field of the marina – do you know what it is?

Chilean Bird

Chilean Bird

We washed the boat down, took extremely hot showers and headed into town.  We were not sure which bus to take so we just hopped on the first bus heading in the right direction.  It cost about 650 pesos per person, one way.  We passed the Kuntsmann Brewery, crossed a bridge, passed through a small town with lots of eateries, crossed another bridge and arrived in the heart of Valdivia 10 minutes later.  (Follow the red squiggly line from the marina to downtown Valdivia).  The red line below starts at the lower left corner and shows you the route to downtown.

Bus route Marina to Downtown Valdivia

Bus route Marina to Downtown Valdivia

Our goal was to find Club de Yates Valdivia to meet the manager who had been assisting us.  He manages both marinas.  On our way to find him, we found two marine stores and the Armada where we checked into the port.  After a little wandering around, we decided to have lunch at the Kuntsmann brewery.

KUNTSMANN BREWERY

The Kuntsmann brewery, is a local Chilean beer that Matt has enjoyed on several occasions.  It is one of the reasons we came to Valdivia.

Kuntsmann Brewery

Kuntsmann Brewery

It was packed when we arrived.  Where did all of these people come from?  It was incredibly crowded!  Kuntsmann offers 16 flavors of beer.  And of course, Matt had to try all of them.  Luckily, they offered a flight of 16 two-ounce tasters.  After a scrumptious lunch, I made Matt tell me his top 5 which surprised even him.  Picks: Gran Torobayo, Lager, Bock, and Experimental.  Runner ups included Torobayo and IPA.

Kuntsmann Brewery

Kuntsmann Brewery

We did not have much time to explore or see the sights, but we really did enjoy Valdivia.  The bay is surrounded by huge, lush, vibrant, green trees.  After being in the desert and seeing a large variety of browns, it is a welcome change to be surrounded by so much green.

Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Fun Photos

A few fun eateries we found walking around.

Kuntsmann Eateries Around Town

Kuntsmann Eateries Around Town

Notice the blood drops on the mouth of the large on on the left.  And vultures fight for food with the lobos.

More crazy lobos hanging out by the fish market

More crazy lobos hanging out by the fish market

Entrance to Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

Entrance to Club de Yates Marina Estancilla

We needed fuel again.  The last few times we had to man handle huge drums of fuel, connect it to the side of our boat, and manually filter and pump into our tanks.  It would take all day to fill both of our fuel tanks.  However, the marina arranged for a fuel truck to come to the dock, drag a 150′ hose to our boat and push almost 500 liters of fuel out in less than an hour!  We felt like the mega yachts, spoiled and grateful.

Fuel in Valdivia

Fuel in Valdivia

Look for the mega yacht power boat at the far right edge of the photo.  We are just in front of him, hardly visible – that is how far the hose reached.

Alwoplast Wooden Carved sign

Alwoplast Wooden Carved sign

Fun eatery with large sunflowers

Fun eatery, Growlers with large sunflowers

Sugar Shack alone at Bahia Llucio

El Mar: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

El Mar, the sea, the ocean, the Pacific.  All the same, a challenge.  Must admit, it has been a bit frustrating traversing across this side of the ocean.  Perhaps it is our route and I am being unfair, but gesh!  The majority of our days sailing down the coast of Chile have been with the wind and current on our nose.  We can figure out how to deal with that, but then you couple those conditions with the swirly seas and it becomes downright uncomfortable.

Please refer to the “live blog on 21 February 2019” as I don’t want to be repetitive.

The 600nm trip from Quintero to Valdivia should have taken us between 5-6 days.  We padded it a little as all of our trips have taken longer than expected with the stronger currents and weather conditions.

Early on the 4th morning, we were seeing almost 2 knots of current and over 20 knots of wind pushing against us.  El mar was so squirrely that our auto pilot could not hold our course.  We had a choice.  We could either keep our heading and make it to the next safe harbor 60 miles away.  At our speed it would take us 2.5-3 days.  Or we could turn around, backtrack 40 miles and hide out in Bahia Llico.  We decided to backtrack.

Bahia Llucio

Bahia Llucio is a one horse town. Well, not literally, but there are only about 4-5 streets, 3 small tiendas, 6 restaurants, and a fish market.  We walked the entire town in 10 minutes.  However, they do have a magnificent, long beach peppered with lovely little sea shells, crabs, clams, and muscles.

The bay is surrounded by lush, green trees which is a stark difference to its Northern towns.  Fishing boats are pulled in and out to sea using a tractor and a dozen dogs are your welcoming committee.

Bahia Llucio Anchorage

Bahia Llucio Anchorage

It was cold, so we were in full cold weather gear when we went to shore.  The pack of dogs followed us on our walk down the beach.  A small herd of cows were sun bathing, but would have nothing to do with Matt.

Bahia Llucio beach walk

Bahia Llucio beach walk

We hit out in this bay for 4.5 days before a weather window presented itself.  We had 180nm to conquer against the wind, waves, and current.  El Mar was cooperating as we were leaving.  The trip started out decent enough, we had a double reef in the main for about 12 hours before taking it down.  But then, el mar started to mimic a washing machine cycle making it a really uncomfortable ride.  We forged ahead and arrived at the Valdivia mouth at dawn.  A short 2-miles up the river and we arrived at Club de Yates Marina Estancilla.

Valdivia - Club de Yates

Valdivia – Club de Yates

Some fun photos.  Matt surrounded by his computers and charts, sunset and sunrise

Matt navigating from inside

Matt navigating from inside

Sunset at sea

Sunset at sea

Sunrise at sea

Sunrise at sea

This is what it looks like when a fishing boat encroaches on your space.  Of course, this only happens at night.

Close encounter at sea

Close encounter at sea

TRIP 1 – Thwarted and had to backtrack

  • Total miles – 377
  • Total hours – 76
  • Max Speed – 11.1
  • Average Speed – 4.9

TRIP 2 – Continuation to Valdivia

  • Total miles – 199 nm
  • Total hours – 40.25
  • Max Speed – 8.3
  • Average Speed – 4.9