At anchor Talcahuano
This morning, after breakfast, I was brought on deck by cannon fire. The navy were firing a 21 gun salute with much fanfare ashore adjacent their proud naval monument, the monitor Huascar. As the black and ochre painted ship hoisted bunting to dress ship I thought I should join in the spirit of things and dress Sylph overall as well. First I hoisted the big Chilean flag I had purchased in Puerto Montt for the occasion from the spreaders, then strung together all my signal flags and hoisted them to the masthead fore and aft. Sylph looked resplendent and I thought complemented the Huascar very nicely. I have taken some photos but unfortunately at this stage have found nowhere ashore with any internet access.
Today’s mission was to see if I could get a look at the old monitor. Last night I was advised that it was no problem, she is open to the public and I just have to go to this building, purchase a ticket and that is it. I thought this strange and wondered how visitors got aboard. Huascar is secured by three heavy mooring chains about 20 meters from the shore, and her link to the shore, a jetty like structure is currently little more than a mess of twisted steel girders. Maybe they run a boat I thought, but was a little sceptical. This morning’s enquiries revealed a different story. The ship is closed to visitors because there is no jetty. I asked whether I might just row over to her for a look around but was told I would need to obtain permission. “From who?”, I asked. “The Admiral.” no less, I was told. Undaunted I asked, “And where might I find him?” “Not possible,“ was the reply, “he is on holidays, for the next three days for Bi-centenary celebrations.” Bother! Oh well we will be here for another few days who know what might turn up.
Thwarted for the time being I spent the rest of the morning walking around town, some celebrations were going on in the town plaza, mostly speeches from people in period looking costumes, sounding largely political with much polite clapping, and as it was all in Spanish of course unintelligible to me. As it is a public holiday for the next three days almost everything is shut up, that is what is left in any condition to be shut up, so after a wander around, including climbing the nearby hill into some local suburbs and nearly being savaged by a very territorial dog, I eventually made my way back to Sylph where I thought to do a little maintenance for the rest of the day. Rain threatened, no painting could be done so I gave her a bit of a clean up down below instead.
I should just note here that of course while the tsunami did a lot of damage it only effected the low lying foreshore area, and that geography of the town has the suburbs on the hillside that rises a little way back from the town centre. So fortunately the damage while extensive has left most peoples homes untouched.
All is well.
A nice quiet day, no tuna, but still good for a … zzzzzzzzzzzzz