Wednesday, February 28, 2018


[Kyle]The anchorage at Mechuque/Añihue was idyllic, but it was finally time to leave the islands around Castro and start heading north with the sun. The days are getting shorter here and soon, cold for us is going to turn into cold for here.

We had to leave at first light because of the tides, The tide floods northwards in the Gulf of Ancud and our destination for the day at Heuihue can only be safely entered on the top half of the tide. That meant we had to leave at low tide which is at 6am, except that it doesn't get light out until seven, so we had to wait until then and keep our speed up.

We had a lovely easy downwind sail past the cliffs on the northeast side of Chiloe with the Andes filling out the view in the other direction. We arrived to a cove choked wall to wall with mussel farms and exposed to the wind and sea. Our goal was behind them in a basin distressingly marked on the chart as being behind a thin line of dry land. We checked our guides and the tides about five times and they all seemed to indicate it would be possible to use the high water to get to the protection within.

Maryanne went into the cabin and pulled up a charts from a different source on our laptop and interfaced it with our AIS GPS receiver so we had two different chart sources running from two independent GPS antennas. Then she was able to guide me while I alternated between the chartplotter at the helm and watching for obstructions in the water.

We found our way to the entrance, where we were relieved to find three other sailboat masts visible. Anchored directly in the middle of the narrow entrance however was a largish local fishing boat. We're not sure if it was intended to be a message or if the guy was just clueless, but what's the deal with fishermen acting like no one else is going to need to use that water?

Waiting for the right window to head North

We eased our way in by passing close enough to lob a beer can into his wheelhouse (had we been the type inclined to such antisocial behavior {Maryanne: an example of Kyle's unique "sense of humour"}). We found our way over to the vicinity of the other sailboats through water that would not be deep enough to let us out. Because of the timing in Canal Chacao, we would need to leave when the water was a full meter and a half lower. Fortunately for us, the next morning's low tide was even a meter lower than that, the same as our draft. All we had to do was make a point of getting up early and making note of a safe path out around all of the sand bars that had appeared overnight and we would be good.

There's not a whole lot to do in Heuihue other than enjoy the birds, the good protection from the weather and wait for a window to move on. The upside is that we have a decent phone signal and enough credit left to get somewhat caught up on internet stuff. We managed to get an email out to the guy who installed our rigging. He reassured us that the broken strands were not indicative of any bigger problem. The stay would just be 4.2% weaker. He also verified that the fix was pretty easy and would restore it to its design strength, so I can probably take that off the list of things that keep me awake at night.

We are now poised at the eastern end of Canal Chacao, waiting for a weather window to leave the Gulf of Ancud and start heading north along the open coast.

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