Day 493: A friend in need

After hiding in their anchorage to avoid waves and winds of 31 knots, Scott and Mary were forced to address safety issues and a slowly dying battery bank. Now the weather has abated they are back in the channels slowly making their way north, with a new friend in tow.

Day 493: A friend in need

Position: Puerto Americano

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

After hiding in their anchorage to avoid waves and winds of 31 knots, Scott and Mary were forced to address safety issues and a slowly dying battery bank. Now the weather has abated they are back in the channels slowly making their way north, with a new friend in tow

Wednesday 16 January

We finally got a window after sitting in Caleta Cliff for a week. Egret cleared the twin headlands at 0630 on Tuesday morning, with the following weather forecast from OMNI Bob.

Tuesday AM: SW-ly 12-20kts, waves 3-5ft, up to 6ft over the more exposed waters. Swells SW-W 7-10ft, periods 10-12sec.

Tuesday afternoon: SW-ly 13-20kts, waves 4-5ft. Swells SW-W 8-10ft, period 10-12sec.

Tuesday night: SW-SSW 12-20kt overnight. Possibility of wind gusts of 25kt. Waves 4-6ft in exposed waters, closer to 2-4ft in more protected waters. Swells should be a bit easier SW-W 6-9ft, 10-12sec.

Bob has been in at least twice daily contact as these systems to the south and north have developed. Yesterday was the best day we have had for a week and now the weather is on its way again. The wind has been calm for most of yesterday and through the night. On our last venture outside the winds were calm overnight but the swells were still pumping up from the Southern Ocean. We got killerated. This time, however, it was different. We still had the swell direction as forecast but not as strong. Along the horizon offshore there were large waves, but near shore things were better. We made the trip without salt on the pilothouse glass. As predicted the wind picked up later in the day but by now it was directly behind us without the swell and all was well. We spent last night in a lovely little protected anchorage with two lines ashore. We dinghy explored before dark and saw our first Pacific starfish in the clear water.

We slept in a bit this morning and left around 0900 running at 1250rpm towing the dink. It was a beautiful day and we simply weren’t bothered how far we got. It was sunny and calm with wildlife everywhere. Dolphins met us as we were leaving the anchorage and then raced off to meet their buddies who were corralling fish for breakfast. They were swimming in a tightening circle and all of a sudden one would leap up and dive making a big splash. A large group of cormorants were also nearby, along with pinguinos (penguins), albatrosses and a type of tern, which was new to us. It was almost warm enough for the flybridge. Navigation has been simple in the connecting channels using a small scale DMA chart along with the Chilean charts. Even the electronic charts weren’t doing their usual fairy tale guesstimating. MS had picked out a little anchorage on Isla Humos, a large island bordering the channel north. Pulling into the little round harbour we saw what appeared from a distance to be a large raccoon-type critter running along a white sand beach. It disappeared while we were anchoring and we soon began dinghy exploring the large, low tide white sand beach and the waterfall. Then we met Chonos (pictured).

Chonos was named by MS after the Chonos region we are currently passing through, which is also the name of the region’s indigenous Indians that have long since disappeared. She is a young, spayed, very thin little girl who was somehow left on this island. Personable and smart we decided to give her a hand. YT went back to the boat and retrieved two cans of tuna and she promptly finished both. I put the cans back in the dink after they were shiny clean. Chonos then went over and picked up a can from the dink and dropped it at my feet. So, like proud parents we brought her back to the boat. Mary fried bacon in a saucepan, added water, and a bullion cube and made a pot of rice. We gave her half after it cooled. Later she was dancing like our dogs used to so off to the beach in the dink we went. She did her business then ran back and jumped in the dink. She had come a long way from the grovelling, tail between the legs little girl we had met earlier. Later we gave her the other half of her food. While she ate she would race back to us tail wagging before returning to her food. It seems she had been starved of companionship as much as food. We’ll keep Chonos with us until we can find her a home in Castro, the major town in Chiloe or further up the road in Puerto Montt. In the meantime, until we can find some dog food she is going to have to be satisfied with meat mixed with rice. We don’t think she’ll mind a bit, she is now sleeping on her new mat in the cockpit. Life is good for the new Egret crew.

Thursday 17 January AM

This morning MS fed the little princess then took her to the beach. After her trot into the bushes she made sure she was between MS and the dink. As soon as Mary walked toward the dink she jumped in. yesterday she was nervous crossing the slats of the platform but not this morning. She made sure she was aboard so we would not leave her behind. When MS picked up a stick on the beach to throw Chonos she hit the deck cowering. Later as I was raising the anchor I picked up the boat hook to knock off a large chunk of clay and she ran to the back of the boat. Somewhere along the line she has been abused which is really sad. The two girls are now on the foredeck getting some sun and enjoying the day.


What a great day. There has been sun all day, a little wind up the pipes and we have been travelling with the current all day – 8.1 knots at times at 1350rpm. At that time we had an over 6000nm range. Don’t you wish we could all do those kind of miles all of the time?

Puerto Americano is where the schooner Ancud stopped after leaving the Chiloe (large Chilean island in the archipelago) town of Ancud in May 1843. The crew lost its launch to weather crossing the gulf just north of here, stopping in Puerto Americano to build a replacement. After three weeks their new replacement was finished so they left to pass around Golfo de Penas. Ancud got trashed rounding Cabo (Cape) Rapier and so returned to Puerto Americano to rebuild. Afterwards, they had to send the new launch with five guys to round up boat goodies to put Ancud back together again, all in tricky weather.

After anchoring we took the little lady ashore following her afternoon snack. She felt it was her duty to scare every living creature off the beach as we walked along the low tide line. She did her job well. Last night MS took out our last pack of four Argentine steaks. They didn’t smell quite right so you know who is enjoying steak twice a day. Typical gold-digging wench.

Friday 18 January

Well, we’re under way. It is another beautiful wind-free day. The Hawk crew told us weather changed north of Gulf de Penas and they were right…so far. Our dolphin buddies, fur seals, pinguinos and tons of cormorants, escorted us out of our anchorage. We’re riding the flood north, 7.9 knots at 1350rpm. The girls are up on the foredeck chatting.

If anyone would like a personable, gentle young dog (she has yet to bark) all you have to do is fly to Puerto Montt, Chile, between the third week of February and the second week of March, take a short cruise aboard Egret for a few days, and you can take Chonos home. Chonos’ vet duties and chip implant will be taken care of. Contact, if you are interested.


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