|Landfall at dawn
|Raising the "Q" flag - the traditional notice that we require pratique to enter a new country...
I guess that I don't want to write too much more about the passage now - I think the stuff I wrote while we were at sea captured it pretty well. I'll just sum it up by noting that as we were motoring up the Valdivia River, in a great moment of interregnum between the lawless open sea and the moment when we would clear formalities to enter into Chilean jurisdiction, Alisa and I both described the passage as our best ever.
Now that I've thought that over a bit, I would say that's not quite true, just because nothing could compete with our first passage to the Marquesas. That was our first time crossing the equator, our first time being more than a thousand miles from land, the first time that we were setting out to cross an ocean. We didn't know how it would go beforehand, of course, and it went great - we didn't want the passage to end. So that first time is a bit legendary in my memory.
This passage couldn't compete with legendary. But it was pretty damn good.
So, if you'll forgive a tired writer this indulgence, here is the story of the passage in a few pictures.
|Just some of the fruit that was given to us in the Gambier
before we left. We'll never forget the generosity of Polynesia
|After the first few days of fast sailing and vomiting (no
pictures of those days!) things calmed down and we enjoyed
|Passing time with the boys - lots of playing "go farm"
|Here, and above - how we sleep on passage
|The dreaded calms
|Here and below - waiting for the green flash at 40 degrees South
|Juvenile wandering albatross
|Lord knows where the nearest sailmaker might be. So if you rip the
spinnaker, you gotta fix it yourself and then get it back up in the breeze
|The boys think that burrowing under sails is the best thing about
living on a boat
|And the chute back up in the sky, where it belongs
Actually, the spinnaker was one of the reasons this was such a good passage. We've gone long stretches over the past year or two without using that sail - so much so that I started to wonder how "necessary" it really was. But on this passage it was a game-changer. We kept it up for days (and nights) at a time, and it kept us moving in the very light winds that we found at 40 degrees South at this time of year.
There's something so aesthetically pleasing about whispering along at five knots of boat speed in about eight knots of wind with just that big candy cane striped sail flying in the middle of the empty empty ocean.
And the corollary to flying the spinnaker so much was that we had no gales on this passage. In all the weather forecasts we downloaded over the entire 24 day passage, we never saw any winds of 30 knots forecast anywhere near us. A very welcome change from our much rougher New Zealand-Tahanea passage.
|At sea too long
|Here and below - what happens when "someone" forgets to make sure
the snatch block on the spinnaker sheet is closed
|Amazing how much force those sails generate...
|Alisa Abookire, at-sea baking machine
|Eric is still too young to really shine on passage, but Elias is really
coming into his own. He's good company afloat or ashore…though
he tends to be grumpy some mornings.
|I had all that moral advantage from the exploded
snatch block - and then I squandered it all by
blowing up the muffler. This is the fix
|Alisa, in the sunshine, on Christmas Day. We cleared into Chile quickly,
we shopped, we (mostly she) did what needed to be done to engineer a
good Christmas for the boys…and now the bliss can kick in