Wed 26 Oct 2016 13:28
October 26
Position 33 54 S, 75 02 W

Shopping for provisions in Valdivia is second nature to me now- we know what we want and we know what is actually available. Of course a visit to the famous fish market is always our last stop before departing to get fresh produce, eggs and fish. The gigantic sea lions never lose their entertainment value no matter how often we see them as they catch fish heads that are tossed from the market prep tables. 

The national elections were on Sunday and the following day the government workers went back to work. We got our customs clearance, went to the Navy and were cleared out by the immigration police. The gang from Alwoplast saw us off at the dock and there were loud cheers and whistles from all the guys working in the yard as their latest baby sailed off. Roni, Alex, Sven and Rodrigo escorted us out in the water taxi from the dock taking advantage of the photo op.

 It has been an exciting first two days out. After just a short bit of motoring leaving Valdivia past the channel at Corral, the wind picked up and the sailing adventure commenced. Winds out of the SW gradually built to 15-18 the first day. When heading north, it doesn’t get any better. The crew settled into the rhythm that comes naturally as sleep schedules adjust to being awake three hours in the middle of the night and your whole existence is careening off the face of following seas. This makes for frequent short naps during the day until we all become accustomed. 

Our newest crew member, Dave spent many years in the Coast Guard on an ice breaker…big changes coming his way! Sailing for 20 days on an Atlantic cat is an adventure that I could not describe to him ahead of time. To his credit, he took the leap of faith instantly. He keeps trying to fish but we are going way too fast for that. Something to entertain him nonetheless. 

John, of course, feels right at home instantly and putters about checking all systems as is his usual mode. This A47 has a much different interior layout than the previous ones. A sushi bar is a welcome addition. So far, we are forced to address it as the "breakfast bar” until the fishing improves. It makes the galley very social and I get lots of prep help as the boys sit t the counter with their cutting boards at the ready keeping them out of the galley space but engaged in the evolution of meals. 

Yesterday brought building winds from the large high pressure system sitting off the coast. They were consistently 18-25 all day allowing us to go 200 nm in 24 hours. During the night the winds were 28-39 kts with 10-12 ft following seas. Surfing down the face of the waves we do between 13-19 kts. An exciting start out of the gate for all of us, especially for Dave- it gives new meaning to the saying “rock your world.”

The Chilean Navy keeps a watchful eye on us all the way up the coast. I send them position and condition reports daily. Yesterday the seas were big and the wind was howling so they flew by in a military plane circling us and calling on the radio to check on our status. Now THAT is service for you!

There is no explaining the feeling of barreling along in the pitch black of night guided by radar and instincts surrounded in a blanket of amazing stars. I would be remiss if I did not mention the joy of seeing my favorite constellation, the Southern Cross, again…hello old friend :)

Well, mealtimes are paramount as always, we have enjoyed veggie and shrimp stir fry and oven baked chicken, fried rice and salad so far. Produce management is an art in itself and green salads are plentiful the first week, gradually morphing into slaw and crudite. Fresh fruit is plentiful and must be eaten in order of ripeness…otherwise, the dreaded scurvy might set in AARGH:))