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April 2003

Dear Friends:

Our voyage from Puerto Montt, out of the "Roaring 40´s" was definitely not roaring except for three hours when the roar came from fast moving water, not wind. Fully provisioned, so much so that we had two boxes of extra stuff in the shower/tub, we set sail with about 10 knots of breeze and spent the next three days drifting south through the Gulf of Ancud anchoring each night in a different protected and lovely spot, to rendezvous with the Canal Chacao which, due to enjoying the flesh pots of Puerto Montt, we reached during the highest spring tides of the month. Currents through this mile wide channel are said to run at up to 9 knots. We can affirm they reach 7, and we managed to arrive at the entrance point within minutes of the turn of the tide. Good fortune gave us the first real breeze in three days and we covered 17 miles in less than two hours - felt grand and the whirl pools and overfalls weren´t worrisome. Sort of counted our chickens a bit early as just as we beam reached over the continental shelf into the Pacific, we encountered 30 foot seas where the huge current met the 20 knot SW winds. Fortunately had closed up all the hatches, put the drop boards in place - forewarned by another friend who had gone through here a year before. We thought the rough seas he mentioned were in the canal, not in the open ocean.


Robinson Crusoe Island, in the Juan Fernandez Islands 350 miles west of Valparisio, Chile.

This is the place where Alexander Selkirk was stranded for 4 years. Daniel de Foe based his book, Robinson Crusoe on this.

But that was the last rough stuff we saw as for 8 days we drifted northward, each one being a bit warmer, until on the 9th we picked up wonderful SW breezes to run toward Robinson Crusoe Island, in the Juan Fernandez Islands 350 miles west of Valparisio, Chile. We´ve been here a week, not a perfect anchorage, but an almost perfect isolated village full of 500 amazingly content and friendly folks who are pleased to have a visiting yacht anchored in their bay. Tonight we have three lobsters to eat for dinner, Tomorrow we look forward to setting sail to head further north and west. Would like to stay longer to enjoy the folks we have met here and to just do nothing but enjoy cafecito´s with the local folks, and talking to the local treasure hunter, Bernard Kaiser who has spent the past 4 years digging holes on the island, searching for l700 treasure. (The locals are quite happy if he never finds the treasure as he employs 15 men to do the digging) But do want to get north and west before the northerlies fill in, just had a frontal system slide by only a few miles south of here and the local fishermen were watching carefully as they pull their boats out of the water when fronts pass overhead or to the north.

Another view of the Juan Fernandez Islands.

Sure glad we have our new spinnaker staysail, a 200 square foot 1 1/2 ounce nylon staysail we call ¨The Red Baron¨. used it a lot on the way here and suspect we´ll need it a lot more before we reach the trade winds.

Not sure when we´ll post the next update, its 3200 miles to any of the French Polynesian islands and have decided to practice ¨variable destination navigation¨choosing our landfall based on the winds we encounter along the way.

Best, Lin and Larry


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