It was hard to leave Isla Damas as it was so peaceful and beautiful. It reminded me of Salt Whistle Bay with its crescent moon shape bay, emerald green water, and white sandy beach. Plus you have the ability to look over the shore onto the sea. Of course, it was lacking the greenery and palm trees, but it had its own beauty. Including the surprising little startfish that came up with the chain.
We slept in to 0800 and took our time heading out. As I was bringing up the anchor, I was surprised to see that we had another hitch hiker. I was heartbroken to discover that it was a beautiful starfish. It was so very pretty all wrapped around the links. As she started to unwrap her arms, we realized she was holding a clam. Poor thing not only lost her breakfast but got plopped back into the water. She was still moving as she descended back on to the sea bed.
ISLA DAMAS TO COQUIMBO
We had a fairly short sail, or should I say motor as we were lacking wind again. Matt took out the jib once, but it was really only for show with 6 kts of wind at 20-30 degrees.
We were so surprised to see the huge metropolitan city as we neared Coquimbo. There are actually two bays. Coquimbo is the largest one with cruise ships and cargo ships. Playa Herradura is the other bay which is more tranquil. We decided to anchor in the smaller, peaceful one with the hopes of being able to walk to the other.
We dropped the hook and did a quick search for wifi before heading into shore. Nada. Once ashore, we needed to clear in with the port captain and check in with Club de Yates de Herradura. They have a well-maintained dock big enough for all the boat toys, kayaks, dinghies, and sail fish. As we were walking up the dock, a worker asked if we needed immigration. Why yes, we do! It was a short walk, within the Club grounds, to a lovely lady who cleared us in.
She did not ask for any clearance payment, nor did she ask us to pay the $169 from Puerto Huasco. Hmmmm, maybe she will just issue us our zarpe when we want to leave without having to pay those crazy fees for 11 hours in the Huasco Bay?
We made a quick stop to a local tienda as Matt was out of beer. We then back to the boat for some internetting using our local sim card. Lots of paperwork to do including finding boat insurance, leasing our house, closing our last insurance claim, and trying to get a long stay French Polynesian visas.
Miles traveled from Isla Damas to Coquimbo 48.6 which took us about 8.03 hours at an average speed of 5.6kts. and max speed at 8.6kts
THE IRKSOME TALE CONTINUES
The next day, the yard manager, Rolando called me on WhatsApp. He said that we needed to go to the Capitaneria in Coquimbo to pay the fees from Huasco. Drat! We said we would come ashore after we gather our documents.
We met in their office and I tried my best to explain why I did not think we had to pay this fee. The fee was based on vessels over 50 tons and we are only 15 tons. We showed them our documentation and the fee schedule and they agreed. They called the Capitaneria, explained everything, and emailed our documentation. However, they still wanted us to come in. Luckily, Rolando offered to drive us and help us through this process.
Rolando walked us straight to a woman who didn’t seem too pleased to help us. They spoke in rapid Spanish for 15 minutes before she made a call, then a second call. Evidently, Huasco did make a mistake by entering our vessel into the system as a 50 ton boat. She said that we did not have to pay the two fees adding up to $169. However, we did have to pay $18 and come back tomorrow for a new document. Yeah. We can do that. Even though we don’t know what the $18 fee is for, it is better than $169.