A note from Dick and Gail Barnes:
Dick and Gail Barnes are off on another excellent adventure on their Nordhavn 57, Ice Dancer II. They departed Honolulu on May 4, 2009 for an expected one-year cruise of the deep South Pacific. On Ice Dancer (I), a Nordhavn 50, they completed trips to Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii and French Polynesia for a total of 23,545 nm. Ice Dancer II has been to Mexico, Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Cape Horn to Hawaii for a total of 28,708 nm. At their first stop for this trip, Palmyra Atoll, they had completed 52,253 nm on their two Nordhavns. You are invited to share their observations, here.
Fondeado de (anchored at) Islas Huepan, Bahia Tictoc
43 38.3S 073 00.4W
We are relaxing in a delightful anchorage in Puerto Tictoc, on the east side
of Gulfo Corcovado. Thanks to drawings from two cruising guides and
scanning sonar, we threaded our way into a group of islands reminiscent of
atolls of Islas Tuomotus, French Polynesia. It has a steep-to bottom, so we
have 300 feet of chain out and two heavy lines tied to shore. Our stern is
sheltered from today's rachas, or wind gusts, by the heavily forested
islands. The tall mountains above the eastern shore generate williwaw winds
during unsettled weather. Low pressure systems pass every three days, on
average, according to the guides. We were joined by two small fishing boats
this morning, but have the spot to ourselves, again.
This morning we photographed from our smaller Zodiac, Magellan penguins
enjoying sunshine on a rocky shore. In this basin of about one-third mile
in diameter, we have sea otters (different from Alaska's) porpoises, grebes,
cormorants, albatross, gulls and los penguinos. All are busily feeding on
If weather allows, we plan for tonight a bonfire and hot dog roast, ashore.
42 05.9S 072 33.5W
After stuffing in the boat as many provisions and as much fuel as would fit,
we pushed off from Puerto Montt, this morning. The kind treatment by
everyone, especially marina management, continued to be wonderful. No one
flinched that much over our smashing the Spanish language, and when they
could, English filled the gaps.
Our first day out brought us to an area on the east side of the country,
where Douglas Tompkins assembled a conservation zone. He was one of the
founders of North Face and Esprit. He spent a considerable fortune to buy
an area stretching from the Gulfo de Ancud to the Andes mountain range. His
desire was to preserve this old-growth temperate forest for future
generations. Tonight, we are anchored just outside his domain, in Caleta
Andrade, which is crammed with salmon farming pens and shellfish aqua
culture. This development feeds families, but at a high cost on the
environment, especially if you consider the wholesale slaughter of sardines
for fish meal/salmon food. Additionally, Antarctic krill is harvested for
the pen-raised salmon, at a cost to the whales and general food chain.
Tomorrow, we will see the other fiord bought by Tompkins, then head for
Puerto Castro on the island of Chiloe.
No one will know for sure if we have slime on our waterline, at least not
for a while. Ice Dancer II is sitting a little lower since we took on 1,636
gallons of fuel at Marina Oxxean, the only source of diesel on a floating
dock seen since we left Zihautanejo. Fuel loaded at Isla Galapagos was from
a ship anchored with us med moored stern to stern. At Antofagasta, we
loaded fuel from a tank truck while we were tied between a Travel Lift
runway and a light-weight slip. We plan to fuel at Ushuaia, Argentina, in
Canal Beagle, at Valdivia, in Equador and Mexico.
Yates in Puerto Montt were interesting types. A large portion of the
sailboats were motor sailers, with large, enclosed cabins. Most of the
other sailboats had extensive dodgers. Two were large Swans. There were
many trawler style boats, mostly manufactured locally, and several large
Hatteras yachts with cabins extending to the transom. Enclosed designs is
probably attributable to the wet climate. Trawlers we visited had interiors
styled like commercial working boats. Many owners came by to look over our
Nordhavn. They were very impressed with what they saw. Marina del Sur,
where we stayed, saw one American cruiser in a sailboat last year. They had
never seen a motor-driven foreign cruiser come through before Ice Dancer II.
At Marina Oxxean, there were six cruising sailboats tied up when we fueled,
one from Seattle and the remainder from other countries.
Obtained our Zarpe from Armada de Chile, today. The Armada absolutely
controls all movement of boats and ships in its waters. Conditions require
twice daily reporting of position. This is hard to achieve over radio, VHF
or HF. This is especially true if you are not fluent in Spanish, which we
are not. Many Chilean radio operators freeze when an unfamiliar accent
turns up. It is not just us, we hear it when large ships try to communicate
with ports. We hear them call over and over again. Our way out is to
e-mail our required information, using our Winlink system over ham radio.
We still have to communicate with lighthouses and other watch posts as we
travel along. It seems that they try harder than the port radio stations.
Food and propane were replenished, today.
41 29.4S 072 58.9W
This afternoon, we shoe-horned our way into Marina del Sur, Puerto Montt.
We radioed Marina Oxxean and this marina, but after no answer, we spied an
end tie with plenty of room for us. Fenders down, lines prepared, we barged
our way in. An employee rushed out to tie us up. The office is closed
until Monday, so I guess we have the spot until then.
Our passage through Canal Chacao was interesting. We arrived at the inlet
while the ebb tide was running strong, about four knots, and against swells
and wind waves. That was very mixed up. We persevered through the break of
daylight and got beyond the mix zone. We slowly worked our way upstream
against the continued ebb flow, but in fairly smooth waters. By the time we
reached the first of two squeeze zones, we had slack or flooding tides and
the rest was easy. Interesting.
Tomorrow and Monday, we will do our provisioning and get our zarpe for the
run south. Weather is fair and warm. Water temperatures are 13 degrees
warmer than out in the Humboldt Current.
Friday 1/19/07 5 p.m.
39 55.7S 073 41.6W
Friday at 3 p.m., we pulled anchor at Rio Valdivia and started toward Canal
Chacao. Chacao is similar to spots in Alaska and British Columbia, where
large volumes of tidal water move through a narrow slot. Timing is
everything. This slot is 10 miles long, so it is impossible to hit the
whole thing on slack or flood. If our progress goes as planned, we will be
riding into Chile's inside passage on the morning flood. Once through, we
will head for Puerto Montt for supplies, fuel and a new zarpe permit,
covering the south. This is the last city of any size until Ushuaia,
Argentina, which is located in Canal Beagle.
Yesterday was clear and beautiful. We used the Zodiac to move close and
photograph groups of black-necked swans. Afterward, we went ashore at Isla
Mancera to view the ruins of a baroque church built in 1774 and the nearby
fortress used by the Spaniards to defend the river mouth.
Seas and winds are favorable, so far.
Puerto Corral, Rio Valdivia
39 53.6S 073 23.1W
After a bumpy night, we anchored this afternoon behind an island is the
mouth of Rio Valdivia. The Spanish occupied this little island from the
1760s to the early 1900s. Unlike the rivers of the northwest U.S., there is
no bar to deal with entering this sanctuary, which is a welcome advantage.
The vista is reminiscent of the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle, except
the hillsides are even more lush with trees.
Last night we had sustained winds to 37 apparent when we were making about
7, slowed down to soften the ride. That's why we are enjoying the clear,
brisk weather here near Valdivia. The town is 10 miles upstream, and if we
were to go up, the Armada would have a cow because we didn't include it in
our Zarpe. We will hit it on the way back and probably make our last
Chilean fuel stop, with the intention of refueling in Ecuador.
We may wait for a few days for the weather to settle down. The mantra here
is fair skies, big winds. Wishing for cloudy, wet days seems unusual, but
it beats harsh seas. Our next move is about 110 nm to Canal Chagao, a
high-velocity-current entry into the Gulf of Ancud, Puerto Montt and
interior waters. Flood tide runs at 8 knots, like spots in British
It can't last long, but still we have seen only one other cruiser since
Zihautenejo, a French family in Islas Galapagos, with a sailing catamaran.
This place is another surprise around the corner.
37 30.3S 073 44.6W
We enjoyed a quiet Monday-night anchorage among large fishing boats at
Ensenada Rere, Bahia Coliumo, which is just north of Concepcion, Chile (36
31.9S 072 57.2W). The bay is about one mile square and has good protection
from the prevailing south swell. Hillsides look like Oregon, with a mix of
pines and ornamental trees. Two very nice beaches are being exploited for
what seems like a strong appetite for vacation homes and high-rise condos.
New earthmover scars show plans for more. The beach attraction is
surprising, considering the 55 degree water temperature.
This morning, we weighed anchor in heavy fog and moved on south. Large-boat
traffic was heavy passing the ports around Concepcion, then we dodged large
fishing boats dragging nets in circular patterns. By afternoon, we rounded
a cape with typical magnified seas and winds.
Tonight, we will continue on with a planned arrival at Puerto Corral (39
53.1S 073 25.6W), in the mouth of the Valdivia River, early tomorrow
afternoon. We put off until our return trip the 10-mile run upriver to the
city of Valdivia. Weather permitting, we will press on toward Puerto Montt,
33 50.1S 072 01.1W
Our grandson, Diego, and seven of his Chilean relatives drove from Santiago
to Algarrobo to be with us, on Saturday. We had four or five days to scrub
the boat clean: inside, outside and underneath. We had two Zodiacs and the
kayak all ready for the boys. Gail cooked for a hearty lunch. Then came
the winds. We had 20 to 27 knots all day out of the northwest, which left
us totally unprotected in this anchorage. By the scheduled arrival time, we
had five to six-foot waves rolling by the boat. The swim step was going
from underwater to about three feet above. We decided to join them onshore,
and took the kids to a beach to play and had a nice lunch at the clubhouse,
afterward. We had a wonderful visit and it was well worth the wait to see
One casualty of the hobby-horse action of the boat was the parting of our
5/8" double braid stern anchor line. It caught around a sharp rock and
chafed in two. Leaving our large, FX-55 Fortress anchor on the bottom
wasn't a good option, so the scuba gear was dragged out for a salvage dive.
I tried to snag the line with a heavy jig dragged around in the dinghy. I
found it, but couldn't pull the line up. It was wedged under rocks at one
end and tied to the set anchor at the other. I spooled the pole back to the
boat, so I had a direct marker to the lost anchor line. It all worked out.
By the time we stowed three boats, two anchors and the flopper stopper rig,
it was 2:20 p.m. when we left this afternoon. We will run overnight and
arrive at Bahia Coliumo (36 31.7S 072 57.2W) at about four tomorrow
afternoon. The wind shut down today. It is a good thing, because we are
rolling along over 8 to 12-foot, glassy swells.
33 21.7S 071 40.9W
We dropped anchor at Algarrobo at 8 a.m. this morning, after traveling
overnight from Bahia Tongoy.
This is an upscale resort, west of Santiago. It has two small marinas, one
a yacht club and the other a commercial marina. Between the two, they put
at least 100 sabot-sized sailboats on the water this afternoon. We are
anchored out in roadstead style. Squeezing into the marina looked like more
grief than it was worth.
What a difference 200 miles makes in the vegetation. From the scrub area of
Bahia Tongoy to the pine-covered hills here, the difference is remarkable.
Scattered among the pines are eucalyptus, Norfolk pines and many other large
31 14.0S 071 42.3W
Sunday night we anchored in Bahia Tongoy (30 17.4S 071 35.9W), a wide bay
with high-rise vacation condos on one side and modest homes strung across
the balance. It was a breezy place to anchor, with 20 to 30 kts, but no
swell, so no roll.
Our current voyage is an overnight jaunt. Tomorrow morning we will show up
unannounced at Algarrobo and try to get into the harbor. I say unannounced
because every time I call the marina on sat phone, the girl listens to my
Spanish for a minute and hangs up. Maybe it is just a wrong number and I am
talking to the hairdresser.
29 48.6S 071 30.1W
Today, we are making a 65 nm run to Bahia Tongoy. That's the one right next
to Bahia Barnes. Winds are calm and skies are mostly clear. Water and air
temperatures are 65 degrees.
We toured the protected coast of Isla Damas yesterday, first in our kayak
and then in our smaller Zodiac. Swells made the shore break too large for a
comfortable landing. So, we viewed wildlife from the sea. It was a very
The Chileans are getting the hang of exploiting eco tourism, it appears.
Pangas run back and forth to the island with visitors. Some stay to use
small dome tents, clustered about.
The pangueros stopped to take pictures of our Nordhavn, a unique boat to
these waters. Since leaving Zihuatanejo, Mexico 3,300 nm back, we have seen
only one other cruising boat, a French family in a sailing catamaran on its
way to the Marquesas.
29 14.2S 071 31.2W
We are anchored in a spectacular cove on a little island called Isla Damas.
The island is designated as a national park of Chile. This afternoon we
saw several large pangas bringing tourists back and forth from a town on the
Tomorrow, we will stay here and explore the island, rather than pushing on
down the coast.
27 03.8S 070 49.7W (Puerto Caldera)
Wednesday evening we tied to a mooring ball at the Puerto Caldera Yacht
Club. This was our second club visit and were treated similarly...great. A
launch with three aboard met us upon arrival, led us to our mooring ball,
tied our line, waited while we secured the boat, took us ashore, drove us to
the Armada office for clearance, etc. All of the above was at no charge.
It is the policy of the club to accommodate visiting yachtistas.
The club is a small facility in a town of about 12,000, consisting of
mooring balls, a landing dock, club house and grounds. Like most of the
ports we have seen along the northern Chile coast, the primary activity is
shipment of metals and concentrated ores mined in the interior. A
reasonably large fishing industry is present. The fleet targets sardines
that are rendered into fish meal at a local plant and shipped to fish farms
to feed salmon. The locals complained about falling stocks of larger fish,
the cause being inescapable.
Today, we are running 65nm south to Puerto Carrizal Bajo, a river-mouth
anchorage not shown on our charts, but described in a cruising guide. Winds
are calm under a June-gloom, foggy sky. Water temp 63, air 65. Today, the
fan was stowed and heat turned on. We will see if the fog follows the
California pattern and burns off this afternoon.
Thursday 1/2/07 6 p.m. local
25 39.1S 070 38.7W
Last night, we enjoyed Caleta Blanco Enclada, a hook and rock pile that is
protected from the predominant south wind. The cove had several skiffs of
double ended design, brightly painted in red. Ashore were fishermen's
shacks, but no people. One guess is they were at home for the holidays.
Sea birds keep changing as we head south. More surprising than the shapes,
sizes and plumage are the songs they sing; different from anywhere we have
traveled. Large fur sea lions look somewhat like the shaggy male lions of
Africa. Air temperatures are moderate for the latitude, cooled by the
Humboldt Current. The backdrop for all of this is the stark, barren desert
that rises sharply from the coast.
This afternoon, we anchored at Caleta Cifuncho, about 125 miles south of
Antofagasto. In this well-protected cove is a fishing village of perhaps 25
houses. A handful of tent campers are scattered along the sandy beach.
Days are getting longer, with the sun up from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Tomorrow, we will run another 80 or 90 miles down the coast.