Our fully-fledged marina queens Scott and Mary replace their batteries and enjoy a local wedding

Day 526: four batteries and a wedding

Position: Oxxean Marina Puerto Montt, Chile (yup, still marina queens)

Scott (YT) and Mary Flanders (MS) left Gibraltar on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete list of all the couple’s blog entries click here

Our fully-fledged marina queens Scott and Mary replace their batteries and enjoy a local wedding

It has been a busy week. We finally have a duct tape battery replacement. There are only three 8D AGM’s in Chile, not four. I asked the battery salesman to call the Lifeline battery dealer in Miami. I know from experience that calling from Ushuaia they cost about $600 each. This time, however, the price came in at around $780 each. A bit steep but nevertheless I asked him to get five 8Ds and one 4D (four for the house, one for engine start, and an extra for general start). Today we went in to pay and found the bill was nearly $10K. It seems the original quote was in Chilean pesos and I was a decimal off so they actually cost almost $1900 each. The high price is due to freight issues and costs, a 25% tax placed on the batteries and the cost of an agent to retrieve the batteries at the port and transport them to Puerto Montt. The bottom line is we have now bought four AC Delco maintenance free 8Ds of 200 amps each, rather than the 255 of Lifeline AGMs. We’ll use these until New Zealand anyway and see from there. They are costing about $225 each installed with the old batteries removed and they will be installed later this week.

We contacted the local yard about hauling Egret but the price was too high (three times more than we have ever paid). If we can get Oxxean Marina, where we are staying, to level the drying grid next to the sea wall we’ll do a low tide bottom touch up, zincs and so on. It is best to let the bottom paint dry overnight between coats so we’ll do the best we can using the tides.

Our British cruiser friends arrived on schedule to stay aboard Egret for the wedding of mutual friends we met in Ushuaia, Argentina. The groom is British and his bride is Chilean and her father is president of the local yacht club. The wedding, held at the yacht club, was great fun, a small group of cruisers mixed with a few of the groom’s friends from home attended along with the yacht club contingent. The ceremony was performed in both English and Spanish and a chef from Santiago prepared the food. On our table three local sailor couples, two of which spoke some English, joined us. Between our weak Spanish and their better English we shared stories. It is a universal dream of boaters to sail away into the sunset. One of our new friends is a fruit farmer with three grown children. After a few drinks his English improved and he told us how in fives year’s time he wants to get out of here as more machinery has led to more employees, more money and therefore more headaches. Like the Pacific North West you can cruise this area from Puerto Montt south to Bahia Anna Pink (staying in the good, safer weather) for years and not see it all. However I imagine most wonder after a while ‘what is out there’ just as we did and many others before us. I hope they are able to realise their dreams.

It is no secret Mary and I sold everything to go cruising. We have since realised how little the things we have accumulated over the years really matter. If we did it again we wouldn’t change a thing. Our English friends have a large home in a highend suburb of London. They have chosen to lease their home and use that income for their cruising expenses and maintain a small flat in London for when they return. The advantage they enjoy is having a location/home in much demand. They have leased their home for two years at a time, usually to Americans. They have had no headaches over their years away and have benefited by appreciation of the past five years. A different twist on finances that works well for them but don’t think it would have worked for us in the transitory Fort Lauderdale area.

Mary and I leave tomorrow by bus for Villa de Angostura, Argentina for an overnight stay. This is just over the border so it will give YT a fresh passport stamp and another 90 days in Chile. Mary is returning to the States within the 90 days so she doesn’t have a problem. We are looking forward to the trip inland through the lake district and crossing the Andes into Argentina. It should be spectacular.

As in every port we are getting to know our surroundings, finding this and that, discovering the best grocery stores and so on. We have also been making the most of all the local seafood. After the first couple of days of internet news ashore we are very happy to be out here and not part of the depressing news about people destroying each other. Come join us mis amigos and simplify your lives.