The "Iron Lady" in winter camp in Chile
Cruising sailors who, like us, do not follow an ideally timed course around the world, but also travel off the barefoot route, sometimes experience seasons in which sailing is canceled due to the weather. In Puerto Montt, north of the Golfo Corcovado, you can currently count the number of sunny days per month on one hand. Our ship stands tall and dry between 30 other cruising yachts on the shipyard of the Club Nautico Reloncavi. Perhaps two are inhabited, the remaining owners, mostly French, prefer to spend the Chilean winter in the European summer and are not expected back before November.
The urgently needed work on the ship, fighting rust, painting the bilge and repainting the interior, is out of the question, because the surfaces are constantly damp due to the condensation. So what to do
Climbing up and down the ladder 20 times a day for three months and first burning a cubic meter of precious wood in the fireplace of the club room in the morning before it gets somewhat warm? Or turn your back on the region and head for the Pacific? No!
The area around Chiloe and the canals at the foot of the Andes have done it to us, we have seen too little of the region on the way north in the race with the advance of autumn. In the spring we want to finally set sail here instead of using the engine, that's for sure.
Photo gallery: Chile - Landpartie
We don't allow ourselves to be slowed down that easily, without further ado we buy a used Toyot4x4 and name it "Herr Beuger". We swap our 16 square meters of living space on the Lady for two square meters of loading space, pack dishes, shoes, essential clothing, tent and sleeping bags, hand over our boat keys to the foreman at the shipyard and turn our backs on rain and cold, heading north.
We want to get to know the other side of the coast, camp on the beach instead of landing with wet, cold feet in the dinghy, make detours in the mountains, visit the dry Atacama desert, maybe up to Peru to the legendary Machu Picchu.
We have been on the road for a little over two weeks, having left 3338 kilometers, 1800 nautical miles behind us. Furthermore, our children look out of the window to port and starboard, they regard Mr. Beuger like our lady as their temporary home, even if one cannot spend the night in him.
The cruising speed is different and yet noticeably the same when we cross Cape to Cape on the off-road slopes along the coast. The endlessness of the desert gives us the same tranquility as the open ocean. The girls complain that they have to be buckled up while driving instead of playing Playmobil in the sea bunk, but we can stop and get out at any time.
Seen from the sofa or the comfortable apartment with running water and electricity from the municipal utilities, life on the boat often appears restricted and arduous. But from our current point of view, it is pure travel luxury. Whether tools, screws, thread, pritt pens, groceries, fuses or spare batteries, everything has its place on the Lady. At the moment, we think of something new every day that we would like to have with us, or rummage in confusing travel bags for the missing hairbrush.
Nevertheless, it is worth taking a different look at this long, narrow country, the regions of which are numbered from north to south. From the rain-shattered south we crossed the snow of the ski areas around Villarrica, the heart of the production of the Chilean grape marc Pisco, through the Atacama desert to the second largest city in Chile, Antofogast.
The sun we have been looking for has been with us ever since. However, we cannot deny our sailing heart. When we look at the road map, we always scan the coastline, make detours to the water, talk to fishermen about the weather conditions and the safety of anchorages. In the CaletPan de Azucar of the national park of the same name there has never been a sailing boat, says a local fisherman. Me and I look at each other and think the same thing, sounds like a typical "Iron Lady" target, doesn't it
We may have to undertake this journey a second time, from one side, namely the sea side.