Thursday, April 30, 2015


Like a lot of other sailors of limited budget and broad ambition, we dislike marinas. To me, marinas resemble nothing so much as RV "campgrounds" - parking lots for expensive traveling contraptions that were supposedly meant to be off traveling, rather than paying rent for a space in a parking lot…

I think you get me.

Still, marina time is a fact of life. Our old favorite was the marina at Wé, in the Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia. We could clear in there, it was cheap, the interior of Pelagic was soaked in salt water when we arrived, and there was a hose on the dock for rinsing everything out. Plus there was enough flow-through in the marina for hard coral to grow on the pilings. Enough said.

Our new favorite, though, may be the "marina" that we currently find ourselves at - on Isla Jéchica, in the Chonos Archipelago. The joint appears to be a high-end eco-resort, now closed for the winter, which makes its single dock free for us to use. Plus! The winter caretaker will turn on the internet upon request.

This morsel of information - free wifi! in the Chonos! - has swept through the little community of yachts operating in the area during the off season. Internet access continues to be the double-edged sword of modern travel. It allows us all to take care of "important" business while we travel, just as it makes it impossible for us to truly get away. We know nothing of the remoteness that travelers reveled in only a few decades ago.

In this instance, internet access has made it possible for me to send analysis results to a biologist from California with whom I'm collaborating, and thereby allows me to continue to earn a living, even from a yacht in Patagonia. It's a tradeoff that we're happy to accept.

This spot also conveniently has walking tracks that allow us to penetrate the thick vegetation that closes off so much of the Chonos. This makes it a fun place to celebrate Eric's fifth birthday, which was yesterday.

He's a very sweet kid, when he's sweet. At other times, he takes such a perverse and obvious joy in doing what he knows he musn't, that I wonder if we shouldn't throw up our hands and accept that a life of crime awaits him.

"If only we can steer him into white-collar crime," I say to Alisa. "Payoff's so much greater than retail crime. And the penalties are so much less."

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday to the kid who keeps his parents edgy! Nice work on reaching the 5 year waypoint, Eric. This is where the going starts to get really interesting. Your parents didn't need to bring you to Patagonia for the winter for that to happen, but they did, and when they're reaching significant waypoints, you might return the favour! love Diana and Alex