Sailing along Chili

Ok, so we decided that Chili is a very big country… Or better a very long country… We have been sailing her waters continually since arriving back from our last Antarctic trip the 1st of March. Up the Beagle Canal through the Strait of Magellan in to the canals out of the sounds on her ocean and now on one of the most beautiful Islands, Robinson Crusoe formally Mas a Tierra (closer to Land).

We left Puerto Montt last week and took the southerly breeze north. No time was wasted in setting the topsails and as soon as we clawed of the coast a little, the cold Humbelt current added another 12 nml to the daily run! We were just in time to dodge another low pressure area to the south of us. The barometer hit 1020 for the first time in months! No reefs just smooth sailing. Very satisfying to peel of the layers of clothing, better even not to have to put them on for a while ;). The down jackets are still on their hook just in case there is a moment of weakness… Before we arrived yesterday, a northerly breeze picked up. So the last miles we needed some help from the Scania. That did not make our arrival less joyful! After clearing in we set of a shore to arrange our activities for to day. Horse back riding over the ridge and climbing the Silkirk lookout point ending the day with a lobster meal!

The Island is home to some endemic flora and fauna. One of them is the Juan Fernandez Fire Crown, a red Humming bird. After having spent a lot of time amongst the worlds largest birds, the Wandering Albatross and the Condor this little creature was of a different magnitude! The tiny honey sucking beak and the 300 wing movements per minute are just astonishing! They feed on the nectar of the many flours on the hills and are just a sheer joy to watch!

The Island now manly lives of fishing. The spiny lobster is not found on the main land of Chili but is plenty full here. Robinson Crusoe Island has been used for many purposes. At one stage it even was a prison colony ( as can been read in Dana’s two years before the mast) Alexandro Silkirk was marooned here between 1704 and 1709. He had doubts about the seaworthiness of his ship and demanded to be left on the Island. His ship foundered not long after this. His stay on the Island is believed to be the inspiration for Defoe’s famous novel! For us it is the ceremonial first stone we jump on our Polynesian track! And there are a lot more stones to come.

All well on board.

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