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.
00 44.9 South 090 18.5 West
At 4 p.m., we dropped anchor at Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Islas
Galapagos. The 2,550 nautical mile passage took 12 days and three hours.
We arrived with 200 gallons of diesel on board. Both time and remaining
fuel were just about as planned. We arrived rested, although rising for
watches after the first three hours of sleep during the passage was never
easy. Watching dvd movies made staying awake less troublesome. We saw no
other boats on the passage, but kept watch on radar and AIS on all nights.
Unlike our visit to Puerto Ayora in December, there is a cadre of about 25
cruising sailboats anchored in the harbor. This is a natural stop for
sailboats heading to the Marquesas and on to Tonga and New Zealand. Wind
direction and currents are favorable for that route.
Family will join us on April 8 and leave on April 15. On April 16, we will
fuel at Baltra, a nearby island, and head for Zihautanejo. In the meantime,
we are not allowed to move Ice Dancer II, so we will be using excursion
boats to visit various sites in the islands. Weather is pleasant with some
fog. On the opposite side of the island it is quite warm, if conditions are
the same as we experienced in December.
01 44.9 south 089 55.6 west
We are on the glide path to Puerto Ayora--65 nm to go and Nobeltec shows
that we will arrive around 3:40 this afternoon, CST.
Four different currents converge, here, and one of the interesting results
is fog, which we have this morning, and 77 degree water, down from 87,
Uninterrupted sleep, tonight. What a treat!
13 24.6 south 085 42.4 west
Our passage is going along right on plan. If conditions remain the same, we
should anchor in Puerto Ayora on Saturday afternoon.
The job of lookout has not been demanding. Since leaving Valdivia eight
days ago, we have not seen another boat. Fishing and transport vessels run
closer to the coast. Our route has us 490 miles off of Peru, at this point.
Flying squid continue to amaze. Clean up this morning was 15 squid and two
flying fish. The record squirter made it on top of the pilot house,
although we haven't checked the bimini top.
Fishing has been a little odd, with two released, undersized mahimahi and
two very large billfish that we were able to shake off the hook.
Weather today was overcast, with 20 knots of SE wind on the starboard
quarter. Water temperature is up to 79.5 degrees.
17 33.2 south 084 08.1 west
It is hard to imagine that we raised anchor in a snowstorm, on March first,
and now we are in tropical waters. Water temperature at noon was 75.5
degrees, it is sunny and nice.
We had eight squid and two flying fish on board, this morning. One squid
this morning and the same yesterday, managed to land on the boat deck, about
15 feet above the water. One came through the pilot house door. How do
they do it? The seas were fairly mild and no water was shipping aboard.
Oil for the main engine was changed this morning. 42 quarts of 175 degree
used oil plus a large filter. It is easier in a calm anchorage, but we were
running on our auxiliary engine in a rolling sea. It was time. Our
stabilizers were helping, powered by the large hydraulic pump on the
Peru is 500 miles east of us and we have 1070 nautical miles left to Puerto
Ayora, Islas Galapagos. One fishing lure is dragging through the water, in
a half-hearted attempt a catching something. We may be a little south for
tuna or mahimahi.
Thursday 3/22/07 Noon
30 37.7 south 078 29.7 west
Big seas, yesterday, but improving today. No sign of Humboldt current. No
push and 70 degree water. It should be under 60 degrees and pushing. It
may be an El Nino issue. When we passed Isla Robinson Crusoe, in the Juan
Fernandez group, the seas were raging. We had 36 knots of wind and 12-14
foot seas, on the port quarter and beam, so, putting out a fishing line was
not a good option. One of our autopilot rudder pumps failed. Fortunately,
we have a redundant autopilot system.
Fuel is going ok, but the expected Humboldt current would have allowed more
margin. I have throttled back a little. Oil change day is Monday or
Tuesday. That should be interesting. The hardest part is the oil filter,
which is large. The filter holds two quarts of oil and when it is hot, it
is awful to handle without getting burned or spilling. I will turn on the
wing engine while the operation is underway.
Tuesday 3/20/07 Noon
36 49.9 south 075 13.9 West
Weather is clear and bright, due to the S. Pacific high out our port window.
Yesterday afternoon was boisterous with large swells and 25 knots of wind
waves on our port quarter and beam. So far, today, we have calmer winds.
The large swells are still with us. The grib file weather forecasts show 25
knot winds tomorrow and the next, on our track. We are enjoying a push of
0.2 to 0.5 knots of Humboldt current. That's nice, but we were due, after
coming south against it.
We are trying to get used to three hour watches, again. It will take a few
Offshore from Valdivia
39 25.7 South 073 41.5 West
This morning, we checked out of the country with the Armada's port captain,
immigration and national police and cast off into Rio Valdivia. Offshore
seas were influenced by storms to the south, causing high winds and large
seas on the port quarter and abeam.
We spent four days in Valdivia, and it was a real treat. We stayed at the
dock of a boat builder that makes power and sail catamarans, mostly for U.S.
clients. The business is owned by a German who arrived 25 years ago on a
sailboat, and decided to stay. The town is 8 miles up Rio Valdivia from the
ocean. It has a large contingent of Germans and its culture, in a positive
way, is seen in many ways. The weather was clear and mild. Large trees
were growing everywhere. It was sort of the best of the Pacific Northwest
and the San Juan Islands.
We took on 1,386 gallons of diesel from a tank truck, today, in preparation
for our passage to Islas Galapagos. The fuel came from YPF, the national
oil company of neighbor country, Argentina. This is the same company that
supplied our fuel at Ushuaia, and proved to be very clean. Diesel price was
39 51 South 73 19 West
Yesterday's transit of the notorious Canal Chacao came off without a hitch.
The overnight run to Rio Valdivia was into a head sea. We entered the river
and passed Puerto Corral at 8 a.m., in dense fog. Using charts and radar,
we made it to Alwoplast's dock, about six miles upstream, before nine.
Concrete walls, designed to channel flow and protect river banks, subsided
below the surface during a massive earthquake in 1960. Now they are a
hazard to navigation if you stray out of the fairway.
42 19.3 South 073 15.4 West
We anchored early yesterday and will leave late this morning from Caleta
Anihue, near Mechuque. The plan is to enter Canal Chacao at the end of an
ebb tide and enter ocean waters when the tide begins to flood. The worst
waves are those opposing an ebb tide. Canal Chacao is 15 miles of tidal
race, that can reach 10 knots. If our planned schedule works out, we will
continue on overnight and enter Rio Valdivia on an incoming tide, Thursday
morning. We have a reservation at Alwoplast, which is a boat builder
located on the river that accommodates a few visiting yachts.
Once again, the contrast between the rugged and rough south and the upper,
inside passage area is striking. The hills here have softer contours and
much of it is cultivated for crops or pasture. It looks very much like the
San Juan Islands. Every available cove seems to have aqua-culture
businesses. Many are employed in the trade, considering caring for the
fish, transporting supplies, people and product.
Golfo de Corcovado
43 15.9 South 073 12.3 West
The good and bad news about southern Chile storms is that they move through
very quickly. This morning was very benign and sunny. Sunday was raging.
The further north we travel, the more protection we will get from the South
American high. You can see the isobars on the weather fax spreading further
apart, indicating less wind.
We plan to stop at a small village this afternoon, and anchor where we can
pick up critical supplies (wine, fruit and veggies). Wednesday afternoon we
will traverse Canal Chacao and out to sea. This is equivalent to exiting
the Columbia River into the North Pacific, except with greater tides. We
will run overnight for a morning tide that will help us up Rio Valdivia.
After getting fuel and provisions, we will exit Chile from Valdivia, rather
than continue up the coast to Iquique, as previously planned.
Puerto Juan Yates
43 38.6 South 073 00.6 West
Weather cleared and seas were calm when we crossed Golfo de Cocovado to
Puerto Juan Yates. On rocky islets in our anchorage were penguins with
young chicks. The cove was rich with sea mammals and birds.
44 04.9 South 073 52.8 West
It was tough sledding in the main inside channel, Canal Moreleda, so we
moved in among the islands and worked our way north, through Canal Perez.
At least the rain is warmer, and so is the water temperature. Both are up
10 to 15 degrees from the far south.
45 01.5 South 073 41.9 West
Anchored last night at Caleta Yate, in Canal Darwin. Decided not to
continue in Darwin, today, because of adverse currents and poor charts.
Instead, we returned to outside waters and moved north to Canal Ninualac.
The route was wide, straight forward and well charted. We anchored in
Puerto Americano and enjoyed a picnic on the beach.
45 30.2 South 074 54.6 West
In another two hours, we will be turning into Canal Darwin. Yesterday, we
crossed the Golfo de Penas in benign conditions and our luck continues
today, with very little wind. We saw several minke whales and a freighter.
We are a little tired after a late arrival at Caleta Cliff, then changing
oil in the main. Before leaving this morning, the job was completed by
changing the oil filter, which was too hot to deal with last night.
Tonight, we will be back to inside-passage waters, so we will be less
exposed to gales. The further north we go, the fewer storms we should see.
The twin to the stationary North Pacific high sits a bit further north.
Golfo de Penas
47 25.6 South 075 03.3 West
We did have a lovely evening yesterday. At anchor, our boat kept its bow
toward the wind, and as luck had it, the sun was shining from the opposite
direction. Lounging in our deck chairs, behind the cabin, it was shorts and
short sleeves and cold beer. The flying bridge was untenable, with 15 knots
coming over the top at 55 degrees temperature. One day of clear weather was
all that we were afforded. Today, we are crossing the Golfo de Penas in
overcast. Winds are off the starboard quarter, which helps knock down the
usual SW swell. We have a full day of it, so we will see if our good luck
endures. One of our cruising guide books says that freighters don't cross
when the weather is stormy. Now that's a thought.
We plan to use Caleta Cliff for an anchorage tonight. We left marks on our
chart plotter from our last ocean entry, so it should be an easy landing.
Charts, both paper and electronic are way off from reality. It will be time
to change oil in the main (42 quarts), so there will be that chore to tend
to after we anchor.
48 47.6 South 074 24.9 West
We passed through Angostura Inglesa this morning, a tight spot that sports
high velocity currents. Moving through between ebb and flood tides tames
Complaints about the weather seem to have made an impact. Today is without
clouds; bright and sunny. The barometer has risen from 980 to 1020 in a day
and a half. Traveling through the channels without seeing the scenery is
not much fun.
Tonight, we plan to anchor near Faro San Pedro and cross the Gulfo de Penas,
tomorrow, weather permittng.
48 59.9 South 74 24.7 West
Passed Puerto Eden, in improving weather, this morning. We reported by
radio to the Armada station all of our boat and navigation information.
50 16.1 South 074 35.2 West
Left Puerto Mayne in heavy rain but reduced headwind. The storms and seas
here are easy to recognize. Conditions are just like Alaska. When summer
is over, it's over, and a parade of storms begins. The season is over--even
the tour boats have disappeared from the channels. About five minutes of
sunshine peaked through, this afternoon. Maybe it is a good sign. We have
had wind and rain for several days. Yesterday, it was 35 to 40 knots on the
nose, as a cold front passed. Added to the opposing
current, we only made 6 to 7 knots of headway. We need to get up to 30
degrees south. After that, it should be reliably nice.
One of our autopilot compasses is acting a little schizophrenic, but other
than that, everything is working properly. We are warm and dry. We
continue to pick up a few centolla crabs while at anchor overnight. They
are so sweet and good, there is no need for melted butter.
Anchored at Caleta Bolina with lines to trees.
52 28.6 South 073 35.4 West
Rain most of the day. Estrecho de Magallanes was very rough toward the west
end, with some 40 knot winds. Current caused fits. Anchored in Caleta
Darde in light rain.
Caleta Playa Parda
53 21.4 South 072 58.2 West
We raised anchor this morning in a snowstorm. Good news was four centolla
or small king crabs in our crab pot. We should have put the pot out weeks
Weather is squally in the Straits of Magellan. We start and anchor up
early, to beat the afternoon winds. We are headed toward Caleta Playa
Parda, about five miles ahead, and should have anchor down by 3:15 p.m.
Winter is not far away here.