We've busted out of the sticky embrace of our first landfall and ventured into that live-by-your-wits, incredibly dynamic, surprise-a-minute experience that is sailing into the vast south of this country in our own boat.
|Sooty shearwaters. Seen 'em in Alaska. Seen 'em in California. Seen 'em
in New Caledonia and New South Wales and Tasmania.
Now, seen 'em in Chile.
And, in a departure from all that is routine aboard Galactic, we had crew.
Jaime Elias Harcha, chance acquaintance at the Valdivia dentist's office and our introduction to all things rodeo in Chile, came along as supercargo.
We've only very occasionally taken anyone along on an overnighter…and they've either been family or friends of long standing. Keeping family life going on a traveling sailboat requires us to stick pretty closely to our ways, and we're very aware of how the consequences of spontaneous decisions gone wrong will fall most heavily on the boys, and on the very small tolerances that we operate under while caring for them on passage. So we haven't ever taken a chance acquaintance anywhere on the boat.
At some point in our short acquaintance, Jaime began to joke about coming with us when we set out for Chiloé. And then, when he and his wife Karina had us out to their house in Los Lagos for a fantastic asado, I realized that what had begun as a joke was becoming more serious. Jaime really would like to come.
Alisa and I were in a great travel mode that had us feeling open to whatever good things might come along. We felt an instant affinity with Jaime, in spite of our communication being limited to the very basic (and basically mis-spoken) ideas we could express in Spanish. And Jaime had just made the trip on his brother-in-law's sailboat, so we figured he knew what he was in for.
So, when we set out, we were a crew of five.
And having Jaime on board added a great dimension to what would have otherwise been a thoroughly routine overnighter for us, albeit wonderful.
|A natural sailor
As a plus, it just happened to be his birthday. So we got to do the thing Galactic-style, with a pineapple upside-down cake (muy tipico de norte america de la edad de mi mama, Alisa tried to explain), a crown for the birthday boy, and a few simple gifts.
|Elias presented Jaime with a depiction of el rodeo
|Six knots of current behind us in Chacao
But then, when we dropped Jaime at a working dock in La Vega, we got a bonus in terms of a crew exchange.
What we lost in the form of Jaime, we made up for with his 30-year-old son, George.