Monday, April 20, 2015


We've been in Chile since Christmas Eve, and we've been enjoying wonderful weather throughout.  Is it El Niño?  Just a particularly favorable position of the South Pacific high this season?  I dunno, but it's been great.

A few days ago, though, this beauty to the right rolled through.  That little green icon is the position of Galactic, at the southern end of Chiloé Island.

We were hoping to get a final round of fruit and veg at Quellón, the southernmost town on Chiloé, and then to use the northerlies ahead of the blow to cross the Boca de Guafos, the 30-mile stretch of open water between Chiloé and the start of Patagonia proper.

As it happened, the blow arrived a little too soon for that plan to work.  We consulted the graphical forecasts that we get via the radio, and thought we probably wouldn't try to beat the approaching low.  And then we saw the armada forecast and decided we definitely wouldn't.  They were calling for winds up to 50 knots, with gusts of 80 to 100.

That made sitting still seem the height of sensibility.
The magenta lines are our various tracks around
Chiloé so far.  Puerto Montt is at the top, and
the red target is where we are now, at Quellón

As the blow came through, we began to suspect that the armada forecast was dramatically over-calling the winds.  We hate to be dismissive of the local take on conditions, but we also began to grow skeptical of the numbers we were seeing.  Which is a shame, as we have/had great hopes for those forecasts as a source of info down south.

We left after the blow passed.  I fielded a long, mostly incomprehensible radio/phone conversation from the local armada, which involved a read-back of the now very out of date forecast, which was still calling for storm-force winds even though the low was long gone.  This armada radio operator was especially hard for me to understand, but it slowly dawned on me that the port was officially closed, and we weren't meant to be leaving.  Oops.

We got as far as Canal San Pedro, the southern-southernmost anchorage on Chiloé.  But the leaking transmission fluid that I noticed before we left Quellón turned out not to be a mirage.  We seem to have a bad lip seal, which means that we're glad that we didn't cross the Boca de Guafos after all.

So we're now back in Quellón, laying as low as we can re. the local armada, with whom we have had much lengthier interactions than I have recounted here...all of them convivial, I hasten to add.  I have some local knowledge indicating that we might be able to get a new seal here...I'll go ashore right now, and then we'll know.  We of course need to do whatever we can to ensure our self-suffiency down south...

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