Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Change of Plans

As all good sailors know, sailing plans are made in the sand at low tide. And such it is with us. We had, of course, planned to leave Chile and sail the boat to Ecuador this season. Then Ecuador declared a state of emergency in January due to the rampant drug crisis, which meant we had to change our final destination from leaving the boat on a mooring ball in a river (used to be very safe) to pulling her out of the water in an uber-fancy, expensive marina in the heart of gang-land. Then Sea Rover needed much more TLC than expected to get her ready for the challenging, 2500 nm sea voyage we had ahead of us. This took a huge amount of time and energy. Then we got the price to enter Ecuador back from the agents, which was somewhere between $2000 and $3000, just for the privilege of clearing in to the country – to a place we didn’t really want to go. Then the season started to change and the comfortable weather windows for traversing the Southern Ocean were becoming fewer and farther between.

When we put it all together, we decided that maybe we had done enough for this year. Maybe it was time to think about a change of plans.

The plusses of leaving the boat in Algarrobo:

1.    We made it out of Patagonia, where travel is dictated very much by the weather. We are now far enough north that we aren’t weather-dependent. According to the pilot charts, the wind and seas are similar in April and September so there is no advantage to leaving now versus in the Chilean spring.

2.    We had a chance to explore some of our favourite places this season. We actually enjoyed our time in Puerto Montt – it surprised us with its hidden beauty. And we loved checking out old haunts in Valdivia, a place where we have very fond memories.

3.     We discovered an interesting, cool new place. So far we like Algarrobo. It is a resort town with an interesting malecon and lots of heladerias (ice cream shops). It has an abundance of interesting wildlife, from penguins and blue footed boobies, to pelicans and marine otters.

4.    The marina is top notch. The yard guys are professional and know their stuff. The climate is ideal: 15-20oC in the summer with no rain, 5-10oC in the winter with some rain (but only about 20% of what they get in Puerto Montt).

5.   El Nino might be over in the fall and the Humbolt Current will be back to carry us north.

The negatives of staying in Algarrobo:

1.    We are delaying our inevitable departure from Chile.

2.   Conditions might not be favourable when our boat visa expires in September and we are asked to leave.

We carefully weighed the Pros and Cons and decided to haul the boat out for the Chilean winter.

Sea Rover and friends

While having foreign Cruisers haul out here is not the norm, the marina has been gracious and accommodating. We hauled out on Friday morning with a minimum of fuss. They blocked the boat better than she has even been blocked before (Gary was delighted). And, best of all, Sea Rover will not be lonely this winter. She has lots and lots and lots of little new friends to keep her company!

We will be returning to Piers Island at the end of the week where we will rest up and dream about the adventures that next season might bring.

Champagne in a can...delicious!

This brings Season 10 to a close. Fair winds and following seas. See you next year. Cheers!

Friday, April 5, 2024


Cofradia Nautico del Pacifico

Following a tough passage from Valdivia, we have spent the last few days licking our wounds in Algarrobo. We had been given some intel about the marina before making the decision to come here, but still didn’t really know what to expect. A google maps search showed a resort town, and indeed the first thing you see when you sail in from offshore are the miles and miles of tiered hotels on the seemingly endless beach. But as you get closer, you can see it is much more than that.

Bird sanctuary in the marina

The marina itself is situated in the middle of a National Park that was obviously formed after the marina had been developed. To generate the marina, they made a breakwater between the shore and a very large, distinctive white rock. As it turns out, this rock houses a colony of…..PENGUINS!!!! Yes, we have Humbolt Penguins living 100 metres away from us. They look a lot like the Magellanic Penguins in the south, but they have slightly different markings. There are also hundreds of gulls, pelicans and other shore birds that call the rock home. Things get noisy in the evenings.
Humbolt Penguins - found on the coast of Peru and Chile

Back to the marina. It is quite small and as mentioned in our last post, uses a med-moor type tie up system for all the boats. Despite the breakwater, the big seas just outside the walls do make their way into the basin in the way of surge. The mooring system alleviates any issues that would occur if they were using a regular dock-finger type system like we are more used to. Plus, they can fit in more boats. This is not a Cruisers marina. All the boats here are owned by locals (ie, people from Santiago) and are used primarily for day sailing (yes, out in the big, 2.5m+ swell just outside the walls – as I said before, Chilean sailors are crazy). In addition to the bigger sailboats that are kept in the water, there are fleets and fleets of different kinds of race boats lined up out of the water. There are also small sailing dinghies and a few powerboats. On a weekend, the place resembles the Jericho Sailing Club with people doing every watersport imaginable. It has been fun to watch. During the week, it has just been us and the marina workers. They all seem a bit perplexed that we are here, but have accepted it. The facilities are more geared to day use than overnight, but there is a large bathroom with toilet and shower stalls. Unfortunately there is no laundry… I think we are back to hand washing for a while. Sigh.

The local beach on Easter Sunday

The marina is at one end of the National Park. From the gate, there is a trail that travels for a couple of miles along the shoreline to another large, white rock (probably filled with more birds…). There are a couple of stunning beaches in between. We went for an exploratory walk on Easter Sunday and were expecting to have the trail to ourselves. We came around the corner to….thousands of people on the beach! It was a sea of umbrellas for as far as the eye could see. We watched the people for a while, then walked up through the neighbourhood back towards the marina. It is a nice little town that reminds me of a mix of California and the Galapagos. The backstreets in the neighbourhood are sand, not paved. And it has a sunny, ‘California’ vibe. We haven’t walked the whole beach yet as I’ve been busy this week with work, but that is on the agenda for one day soon.

We are slowly recovering and enjoying our interlude in this quiet place.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Shakedown Cruise #2

After a bumpy ride from Puerto Montt to Valdivia, we were ready to re-explore the town where we first arrived in Chile 6 years ago. The marina was much the same, and much to my delight, one of the marina dogs, Samantha, was still around. Like me, she is older and grayer, but seemed happy to see us again. 

We spent our time wandering around the town. We had a delicious banana split at the EntreLagos chocolate store, visited a few of the local fish, fruit and craft markets, caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. Gary was excited that the movie Dune was still playing at the local theatre. We thought we were being smart by going to see the English version (with Spanish subtitles), but it turned out that much of the movie was spoken in a weird alien language instead of English and so the Spanish subtitles didn’t really help. We did our best, but we may need to watch it again as I’m pretty sure we missed some key information. Overall, it was a relaxing week. 

Typical street market in Valdivia

As a weather window started to open up the week of March 25th, we began discussions on next steps. Even though we had run the engine for a solid 30 hours on the trip up to Validivia, Gary was concerned about leaving for a long offshore passage where checking on and working on the engine would be difficult. The new engine belts and a bolt or two were all quite loose by the time we pulled into the marina in Validivia and he expected he would have to make a few more adjustments after it had run for a few more hours. As such, we decided to do a second Shakedown cruise to the town of Algarrobo, 450 nm north of Validivia. 

There is a small, local marina there, with a haul out facility. Algarrobo is just south of Valparaiso at latitude 33oS (same as Santiago) and effectively out of the Patagonian ‘weather’ zone.

The weather window looked good. Seas were expected to be mostly from the south between 1.7 and 2.5 m, with winds in the mid-teens to early 20’s from directly behind. Sounded pretty perfect. 

We planned to leave at first light (ie, 8am) on March 27th. As usual, things didn’t go as planned. We were up early to do the final preparations. As it was Gary’s birthday, I was making a special batch of banana pancakes. Halfway through cooking the propane sensor went off. I shut everything off and waited for Gary to get back from the shower. We did some quick troubleshooting to determine whether we had an actual propane leak or if the sensor was malfunctioning. We had an actual propane leak. It was like Sea Rover didn’t want to do the passage... We determined that the leak was on the tank side and not at the stove, so we pulled apart our very carefully packed back lazarette and got to work. Gary found the cracked fitting and spent the next few hours replacing the defective part. We put everything away and were ready to go again. 

We said goodbye to our new friends at the marina and were motoring down the Validiva River just after 2pm. By 3:15 we were in the open ocean and hurtling along at 8 knots with winds on the beam. The Crew instantly felt ill in the big swell and so the Captain manned to boat for the first few hours. The Crew dragged her carcass up on deck by dusk for the beginning of our 3-hour on/3-hour off watch schedules. As the evening wore on and we made our way north, the wind and seas clocked around to be directly behind. Unfortunately, the short period of the waves and the brutal cross swell made for an ugly and uncomfortable combination. Doing anything below was out of the question. By morning the seas were up and the motion even more uncomfortable. The Southern Ocean was not going to let us go without making us remember her awesome power. I was awoken on Thursday morning by a particularly violent wave that caused our 3-tier hanging fruit basket to blow apart. I spent the next 10 minutes in a groggy daze chasing avocados, tomatoes, plums and Easter eggs all over the inside of the boat. After securing them the best I could in one of the lee clothes, I dragged my carcass on deck for my watch while Gary gratefully fell into bed. As so it went. It was too rough to cook so we ate what we could grab from the fruit basket, although neither of us felt hungry. I hadn’t intended to give up caffeine on the trip but ended up doing so as it was too hard to boil the kettle. Trips to the bathroom were a nightmare. Sitting down was fine, but we were literally beaten to a pulp for the 10 seconds needed to pull up our pants. I had read an article years ago where a woman described this bathroom experience as being in the ‘hurt locker’ – an apt description. You’d think you were in a good brace position but then a sneaky wave would come from the opposite direction and you’d find yourself hurtling in a whole new, unexpected direction. It got to the point where we both stopped tying to undress when we went off-watch. We lay down in our foul weather gear, with our boots and life jackets still on. The seas moderated a bit on the second night as we were blanketed by a thick, drenching, bone chilling fog. A meal was eaten and we both got a bit of sleep. But the seas and wind were up again the next day when the sun finally burned off the fog. 

Despite the hardships on board, we made good time. By Saturday morning we were beginning to believe that we might make it into Algarrobo by dusk. We shook out a reef, sucked it up and pushed to get there in daylight. Sea Rover seemed to want out of the mess as well as she bore down and picked up speed. By 5pm we were rounding the headland and heading towards the marina. 

Walking the plank
And then came a new challenge. Weekenders!! Despite the 2.5m seas and breezy conditions, there were people out on the water doing everything you can think of – paddle boarding (on knees), sailing in small dinghies, small and big sailboats, jet skis, water skiers, kite surfers, etc etc. God Chileans are tough. Gary didn’t know which way to turn. We finally made it to the mouth of the marina, not having a clue where to go. 

Luckily one of the marina guys saw us coming and made the correct assumption that we needed help. He jumped in his dinghy and came out to meet us. The marina uses a med-moor style of docking that requires you to grab a mooring ball at the bow and then back into a dock, where you then tie up. I told the guy we had never done this before – he said ‘no problema’ and beckoned us to follow him. He took us to the far end of the marina – this required an act of faith on our part as we could see that the fairway was getting narrower and narrower and there would be no way we could turn around. For once the wind gods were with us and had piped down to a gentle 7 knots, which made things much easier. With the help of our bow thruster and the marina attendant, we got attached to a ball, and Gary managed to back us up to the dock where another kind soul was waiting to take our stern lines. We were fully moored by 6:00. Phew.

Time to rest, reflect and think about next steps. And to explore Algarrobo which supposedly has the worlds largest swimming pool!

Monday, March 18, 2024

Out of the Roaring Forties!

Well, we did it. We managed to get Sea Rover II back into the water and on her way North. 

Sea Rover going back in the water

We had a less than auspicious start. We had tested the engine while on the hard to make sure that is would actually run. No problem - she started on the third try. A few days later, on Tuesday March 12, they put us in the water, we turned the key.... and nothing. The engine turned over but didn't really try to actually start. We started going through the checklist. Is it getting diesel? Yes. Is there an airlock. No. Is there an issue with the starter? No. But wait, the glow plugs aren't working. Why? Hmmmm. Hard to troubleshoot properly when you are sitting in the slings with 3 yard guys standing around waiting for you to get your boat going. After a long painful spanglish conversation, the yard guys agree to tow us over to one of the outside slips in the marina so we can sort ourselves out. Great. They drag us out, drag us close to the slip, then let go of the line and let us coast into the slip. Thankfully all the yard guys were all there to catch us and it went off without a hitch. We (ie, Gary) then started to troubleshoot the problem. To make a 2 hour story short, he figured out that the wire to the glow plugs in the control box had broken and was hitting the case, which shorted out the start solenoid. A new wire fixed the issue and the engine started right up! Yippee!

The next day (Wednesday, March 13) Gary put the engine through it's paces and all seemed well. Thursday we completely rigged the boat, from going up the mast to pull out all the halyards (we sky them up the mast when we leave to boat so they don't bang and can be kept semi-clean), putting on the genoa, putting on the main, installing 3 bags of lines (ie, all the running rigging), and fully soaping and cleaning the deck. It only took 12 hours...did I mention that I also worked 8 hours at my day job that day?

Friday, March 15. The weather window to move North that we were watching seemed to be holding so we headed to the Port Captain's office to obtain a zarpe (exit papers) to Validivia. After a 1.5 hour wait (we are convinced this was part of a social experiment) it was done and we were officially cleared out of Puerto Montt! We paid our bill at the marina, did a bit more shopping, went out to dinner with some friends and then put our exhausted selves to bed.

Goodbye Puerto Montt!

Saturday (March 16) morning. Prepared to leave at first light (7:45 at this time of year). Delayed by a huge rain squall with a beautiful rainbow - a fitting way to leave anywhere in Chile! After the squall had passed, we quietly slipped away. Winds were light, but we were OK with that as we wanted to test the engine. A 6 hour motor southh brought us to beautiful Puerto Abtao, where we shared appis with Swiss neighbours also heading to Valdivia on the same weather window. 

Sunday morning (March 17). Left just before first light. Almost got the damn mooring ball stuck under the boat! But thankfully it popped up just as I was truly starting to panic. We got it and the anchor on deck, and officially began our first offshore passage of the season.

To leave Patagonian waters, one has to traverse a 20 nautical mile pass that funnels all the water from the southern Pacific Ocean through a 1 nautical mile wide area. Currents can run up to 8 knots in the channel and so it needs to be timed. We had an 'exciting' entry into the area 5 years ago when we first arrived in Chile, where we encountered huge standing waves that knocked the boat down, causing our salon table to topple over (yes, it was our fault as we hadn't gotten around to screwing the floorboards down in our haste to leave Validivia on a favourable weather window). Thankfully nothing 'exciting' happend on this trip. We lamented during our transit that this would likely be the farthest south Sea Rover II would ever be again (41o49' S), at least with us as owners. Hopfully it is all north from here! 

Marina Estancilla, Valdivia

The penguins and albatross led us through the pass and into big, confused seas on the ocean side. Right. We remembered why we don't love passage making. We hoped the seas would settle out a bit once we got out of the mouth of Canal de Chacao, but it was not to be. We had confused seas with a main swell of 2.7 m from the SW and a 0.5 m NW swell which magnified it every 2nd to 3rd wave. Did I mention we had 10 knots on the nose most of the night, so there were wind waves in there as well? It made for a long day and night. The Captain didn't fare well, but the Crew was smart and took seasick meds before we left. While the Crew didn't want to spend a lot of time down below, she didn't actually feel sick. Needless to say, the planned lunch and dinner were not eaten and the Captain spent a lot of time lying down. The Crew snacked on power bars, crackers and peanut butter, chips, fruit. It was a violent night where the waves tossed the boat around - you never knew which direction things would be tossed. I thought I had done a reasonable job at securing everything, but I definitely missed a few things, which made themselves known by hurling themselves from one side of the boat to the other. Sigh. We stood 2 hour watches so sleep was at a premium, but the little bit we both got was the good, solid sleep of the truly exhausted. Sometime between when I went to sleep at 4am and got up again at 6am, conditions had moderated to a gentle roll. By sunrise we officially crossed out of the Roaring Forities (latitute 40o-50oS) and into the (hopefully) calmer 30's. 

By noon (March 18) we were in a slip at Marina Estancilla, almost 6 years to the day of our first arrival in mainland Chile back in 2018. We cleared in with the Port Captain, caught up briefly with old friends we'd met 6 years ago, and are now ready for a good nap. 

The Captain and Crew need a few days to recover and will enjoy the quiet and peace of Validiva, which will be a nice change from 7.5 weeks living in an acitve boat yard. We will be watching the weather and looking for a window to move north starting next week.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Time in Puerto Montt

Club Nautico Reloncavi, Puerto Montt

You are probably wondering what we did for the 5 weeks we were waiting for the heat exchanger. While we had decided to put off doing things like rigging the boat and putting the sails on, there was a long list of other boat jobs that needed to be tackled. We re-installed our hydrovane (wind self-steering device), installed new bilge pumps, fixed the stove, installed new navigation lights, fixed our canvas bimini, cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned, washed the engine, got the alternators rebuilt, got the life raft serviced (had to send away for this), painted the bottom (thankfully paid people to do that), tightened the steering etc, etc, etc. Oh, and we rescued the batteries, which was an absolutely massive job. It took a huge amount of cleaning, but both start batteries and all the lithiums are now back in full operation.

Swimming in the ocean!
In between working on the boat and working my full-time day job, we have found time to explore a bit more of Puerto Montt. We had spent a few weeks here in the spring of 2019 but didn’t get to do a lot of fun things as we were focused on getting the boat put to bed. Our first impressions were that it was a bit of a rough working town. When we came back in the fall of 2019 the riots had just started and so most of the town was boarded up with plywood and everything was closed or on fire. Last year when we were here I was very busy with work and had no time to do anything extra. But this year we made time. One weekend we took the local bus to the end of the line. I knew there was a small town and a beach there but didn’t know much else. It turned out to be a really interesting place. We went on a hot, sunny, Sunday afternoon and discovered that this was where all the people from Puerto Montt go when it is nice out. The beach wasn’t that nice (coarse sand, mostly rocks) but it looked like Kits beach on a busy weekend. There were people everywhere! We dipped out toes in the water and were surprised to discover that it was warm. I vowed to come back with my bathing suit the next week. We had a nice dinner on a patio overlooking the ocean, ate salmon cerviche and enjoyed the ambiance. The next weekend I suited up and we headed back to the beach for a swim. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as the week before, but I did go in. It was amazingly warm, which I don’t understand. It must have been at least 22oC as I was able to walk right in without cringing. Very enjoyable. 

Isla Tenglo

Salchipapas - a southern Chilean delicacy
The next weekend we took the little ferry next door over to Isla Tenglo, which is the island directly in front of the yacht club. We walked the entire length of the island on the beach and only got chased by dogs once. We ended up at the far end of the island where we thankfully discovered a restaurant as the Captain was tired and hungry! That definitely perked us both up. We had a good rest and enjoyed a plate of ‘salchipapas’, which is again a Puerto Montt delicacy consisting of French fries with cut up fried wieners. Very salty, but tastes better than it sounds. We were both thirsty for days afterwards.

Curanto cooking

While at the restaurant, we were introduced to another southern Chile dish called a ‘curanto’. It is basically the Chilean version of food covered and cooked on hot rocks. It looked really intriguing so we vowed to come back the next weekend to try it out. As promised, we recruited a few other Cruisers and did another walk on Isla Tengo the following weekend (no dogs this time). We visited the big cross that is at the highest point on the island and then went to the restaurant for lunch. 

Removing the first layer
Gary and I ordered a single curanto to split between us and got a piece of chicken, pork, a sausage, a potato, a dumpling, weird Chilean flat bread, and a bowl of seafood that consisted of 5-6 huge mussels, 3-4 clams and a very large barnacle. Thankfully we shared! I can’t say I’ve ever had barnacle before but it was surprisingly good. Tastes like crab, which I thought was weird until my Dad told me they are crustaceans, just like crabs. Makes sense.

Curanto opened

The meat and potatoes plates

So, we are keeping ourselves entertained. Living on the hard for the last 7 weeks has been a pain, but we’ve mostly gotten used to it. I expect it will feel weird to float again when we get launched next week. It will be nice to have access to a toilet again though. We are at the far end of the boat yard, so it is a bit of a trek to get to the toilets and showers etc.

Very large cross on Isla Tenglo
Our impressions of Puerto Montt have certainly evolved this time around. We have discovered some really neat neighbourhoods and have explored a bunch of new areas. We can see one of the volcanoes from our position in the boat yard, and we can see the Patagonia mountains in the distance. We alternate between being amused and annoyed at the neighbourhood dogs, who either sing (ie, howl) or bark pretty much all night. We love it when an ambulance goes by as and all the dogs start to howl together – it is quite an experience. 

The weather has been really good so far, mostly sunny with only a few days of rain and wind each week. The locals say that this has been the best summer in a long while. 

So, even though things haven’t gone according to plan, we’ve been making the best of it and just trying to live our lives.



Wednesday, March 6, 2024

It's been a while

Sea Rover II safe in Puerto Aguirre
When we last left off (November 2022), Gary and Mark were stuck in an anchorage waiting for weather, just after crossing the Gulf of Penas. To make a long (and sometimes barfy) story short, they managed to make it the rest of way up the exposed coast (in 4 m seas – hence the ‘barfy’ part) and into more protected waters. As there was no room at the inn (ie, marina) in Puerto Montt, Gary left the boat in the small town of Puerto Aguirre a few hundred nautical miles south and came home for Christmas. He and I then returned in January and completed the trip up to Puerto Montt, where we hauled out for the season. Sea Rover II wasn’t much of a sailboat in the 2022/2023 season.

Our original plan was for Gary to return to Chile in October 2023 to get Sea Rover ready for our departure from the country. However, life intervened and we spent the fall celebrating 80th birthdays, digging a trench in our backyard (don’t ask), and replacing aging infrastructure on our pier. At the time, it didn’t seem that leaving the boat on the hard for three extra months would make that much of a difference.

Fast forward to mid-January 2024.

Meat!! (and vegetables)
Day 1: Gary and I arrived at the boat after a long 27-hour journey. At first glance, everything looked good. The cockpit wood was still in good shape despite being exposed to the elements for 11 months, and the mold wasn’t too bad. Everything looked clean and orderly. Then we stepped on the floor. “Squish”. Oh dear. Up came the floorboards – there was water up to the very top. We had left a through-hull open to prevent exactly this scenario, and we had 2 separate bilge pumps that were supposed to keep things dry… But the bilge pumps failed, and the tilt of the boat on the stands meant that the engine room and battery compartment were lower than the hull opening. One of our start batteries and all the lithium house batteries were completely submerged, as well as the lower 6 inches of engine. Not an awesome thing to deal with in our sleep deprived state. We immediately started manually pumping all the water out the bilge. One hour and one very large blister later, the water was down to a more manageable level. Step 1 complete. Step 2 was to figure out how to get power onto the boat as the batteries were not useable. After accomplishing that, we set out to the local fruit stand to buy something to eat. There would be no cooking for us until we got the batteries sorted out. We ate a few plums and nectarines and set about unearthing our bed, hoping that things would look up in the morning.

Day 2: Things did indeed look better after 15 hours of sleep. A shower and more fruit put us into a better frame of mind. We worked through all our options (walk away from boat, sell boat, fix boat), made a list and started working through the problems. We did some shopping and discovered an excellent place for dinner. A heaping platter of pork, beef, chicken, vegetables and French fries (typical Puerto Montt fare) was a welcome sight as the last hot meal we had had was in the LA airport several days before.

Day 3: Cleaning day. We pulled about 20 L of sludge out of the engine compartment and cleaned the battery compartment. On a positive note, we determined that all the engine fluids were still in their correct compartments. Then I worked my day-job.

Day 4: Finally got one battery hooked up so that I could use the stove. Food!!! And tea!!!! Everything got better after that and we just got on with it.

 A hole!!

Unrelated to our little flood disaster, we discovered that we had a second major issue to deal with. For the last few years, the heat exchanger on our engine has been leaking a bit of coolant from the end cap. When we had the engine rebuilt in 2013, our Volvo mechanic told us that this was the one part he was unable to replace. As such, he told us to never touch it and predicted that it would be the thing that killed our engine. Eleven years later, he might be right. While it didn’t look awesome last year, it looked much, much worse this year. Gary decided to take it off to have a closer look…better to do that on land than offshore…and discovered a good-sized hole just above the end cap. Sigh. The heat exchanger is a critical part of the engine. We knew that if it couldn’t be fixed, the engine would have to be replaced. Here. In Chile. While not ideal, as it would create an issue with the boat and Chilean Customs, we decided it was a viable option. We agreed that we would start with Phase 1, which was to see if we could get it fixed. If it could be, and if the engine ran, then we could put the boat fully back together and plan to heat north.

A chance encounter with another Cruiser in the yard that afternoon sent us into town the next day in search of “Mauricio”, who could apparently ‘weld anything’. Despite cyptic directions that included a photo of the building and an approximate pin location on Google Maps, we managed to find his shop. Mauricio took a look at the heat exchanger, nodded and said “Wednesday”. We were delighted! We had a short conversation to make it clear that we only wanted the hole welded and he shouldn’t touch any other part of the exchanger. Gary explicitly said, ‘do NOT take it apart’. And so began the saga of the heat exchanger.

We went back to pick it up on Thursday full of hope and optimism, only be discover he hadn’t looked at it yet. “Next week”, he said. We returned the following Tuesday. “Later this week”, he said. Gary returned on Friday – some progress - the heat exchanger was now in pieces and the hole still wasn’t welded. Oh dear. Would it go back together??? Regardless, Mauricio said he’d have it done by “Tuesday”. And so on. Sometimes Gary would go up there, sometimes Mauricio would send a preemptive text saying it wasn’t ready. On it went. Four weeks later, Gary told him that we needed it by the following Tuesday or he was taking it back whether it was done or no. Apparently the threat worked, as he texted Gary on Monday night to say that it was done. Gary picked it up on Tuesday and it looked beautiful! Mauricio had managed to reassemble it (a miracle), the hole was filled and he’d even painted it Volvo green! Mauricio told Gary it shouldn’t be touched again but would probably last another 1-2 years. Gary was ecstatic. Until Wednesday. Gary went to complete the re-assembly and realized that Mauricio had installed the heat exchanger core incorrectly. Doh! It would have to come apart again. Thursday – back to Mauricio. I’m sure he was horrified to see Gary again, but he spent the next 3 hours pulling it apart. Gary then spent Friday reassembling it (very challenging!!). We put it back on the engine on Sunday and started the engine on Monday to see if it leaked. So far so good. We won’t know for sure until we are back in the water and can run the engine for a long period of time, but we are confident enough that we can move on to Phase 2: launching the boat and preparing to leave Chile!


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Sea Rover is on a Christmas Break

Here is a quick post wishing everyone a spectacular holiday with friends and family where ever you are following from.  

In terms of prioritization, writing a blog falls pretty far down the list of things to do on a boat.  I know that many are disappointed to hear this but yes, keeping the crew and boat safe does rate higher.  Sometimes due to this prioritization, the gap between what is actually happening and what is written grows so great that notes are needed to remember the details.  Those notes are sitting on Sea Rover while the Captain and crew are not.  This means that there will be a delay for the next installment of the epic journey north.  

Rest assured that Sea Rover is safely secured at a lovely island marina just north of Gulfo de Penas.  Nobody died and nothing is broken but we had some very noteworthy adventures in getting her there.  Tales which will be well worth the wait to hear until January.  As a reward for your patience we should be able to include a few pictures. 

Stay tuned...  We'll start up the adventure again before you've had a chance to miss us.