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!

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