Saturday, March 10, 2018

Valdivia (first week or so)

[Kyle]During our first week in Valdivia, we took the bus into the main town and tramped all over what seemed like every road. We met some very nice people from other boats and spent several enjoyable evenings with most of them (finally we found foreign boats visiting Chile). One of the owners of a nearby Chilean boat was the manager of a nearby shipyard. He was a real source of information on how to get parts for our broken stuff. Unfortunately, it wasn't what we wanted to hear. He said sending anything through the post office would likely take up to eight weeks to get delivered. Apparently, stuff arrives in Chile pretty quickly, but they take their sweet time notifying Customs, so it takes forever to actually get anything. Because of this, most people here work around the post office by using private couriers or freight companies like FedEx. Going through the shipyard, he said we could probably get the stuff we need in about ten days. Great! But the problem is that the fees and duty would typically run about 200% of the cost of the items. That hurts for a $20 bag of shackles, but we need a $2000 windlass, plus some other non-trivial amount for rigging terminals and spares. We're having a hard time affording what we need without having to come up with $4,000-$6,000 in duty.

We went next door to Alwoplast. They are a yard that builds beautiful high-end catamarans. Rumor is that they are capable and don't mind taking on a little side work. The manager there was very nice and spoke vey good English. He initially said they were so busy, they couldn't do anything for us. Later he said he would try to see if he could cobble together some sort of fix for our shroud from parts he has around. (The catamarans they build have Kevlar rigging, so they don't have a lot of parts for stainless steel wire.)

A bit of sightseeing among the chores - Valdivia and the country side around the marina

{Maryanne: We kept trying to visit the local (to the Marina) restaurants, and craft breweries (for which the area is well known) only to find them closed. It seems tourist season is well and truly over after the 1st March! Still we got plenty of exercise and were able to munch on blackberries along the way.}

While they were perfectly confident it would stand a pacific crossing and more, "Cobbled together" is not a state that I want for our rig. That's fine for temporary repairs to get us to a continent, but I don't want to leave one that way. With rigging spares in short supply, and windlass un-fixable per the locals, it gradually became apparent that the only way we were going to get the parts to fix the boat properly was if I flew all the way back to the U.S. to collect them. This was no trivial matter. Each way would require a 750 mile drive and two flights totalling quite a bit more than 12 hours of flying. {Maryanne: but I was excited as I'd be able to get a new (to me) phone and be connected again, and oooh, all the other spares I could order with such an opportunity}.

We had some beautiful sunsets at the dock
And rainbows - even double ones

Once we became sure it was the only option, we booked the flights and then started a program of having not just the windlass and the rigging parts, but a bunch of other things we needed but couldn't find, shipped to my mother's house for retrieval.

A day trip to the nearby Niebla and its Spanish Fort

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