There are two parts to this blog post. The first is called, "The Attack of the Mold Monster." The second is, "Exploration Continues". I've mentioned to you several times how rainy it's been and that we never seemed to get a break in the weather. Well a few days ago I went into Heather's room on the boat and lifted up the mattress and there was mildew starting to form on the matress cover. I immediately went to the other bedrooms and checked and sure enough, there was mold or mildew on the other mattress covers as well. Even though the mattresses are up on some special springs to allow air flow underneath, I guess if you make your bed every day, that nice tucking in of the covers around the edges keeps the air from flowing and after several weeks of rain, and condensation inside the boat was just what the mildew needed to get started. So we went on the offensive immediately and took off all the sheets and mattress covers and put the tea kettle on to get really hot water. I used a 5 gallon bucket that I have on the boat to wash everything in hot water, clorox, and soap. I did it on the back deck with this amazing hand washing machine gizmo that Jay found on the internet. I posted a video of me washing clothes with it on You Tube at http://youtu.be/UkEwb0B1f6c. It saves your back, when doing the laundry and really circulates the clothes, or mattress covers around as you can see on the video. We hung everything out on the lifelines around the boat, but as soon as we did, it started to rain again so I hung a line from one side of the bridge deck to the other inside the boat, hung everything on that, and turned the heaters and blowers on to try to dry everything. Next, we took more hot water and clorox and wiped down the whole insides of the boat to kill any mold that might be getting started in the bilges, bathrooms, or any other place. That wasn't the most fun I've ever had, but it's part of the adventure and something I'm told by the other boaters that's pretty common on boats, especially metal boats. Now, we keep the hatches cracked even if it's raining to improve the air circulation and I run the heaters for a while each morning to dry out the boat. I also prop up the mattress each day, one day I prop up the head of the mattress, the next day the foot, so it gets air circulation. That seems to be working. Since Elaine worked so hard helping me clear out the mold and mildew, I took everyone out to supper that night at Kuntsman's which is a pub and restaurant up the road about 3.6 miles. She insisted on serving the beer though so I took this picture of her serving Kuntsman's finest lagger.
The next day was overcast and sprinkling off and on so we put all the mattress covers and dirty clothes in a bag and took it down town to the local laundry shop and turned it in for another wash before putting it back on the beds. They don't really have do-it-yourself laundermats here in Valdivia so we had to leave it overnight and then go back the next day to get it. Everything came back fresh and clean, but it was still a pain to pack it all a half mile or so from the laundry place to the bus stop. Heather and Elaine waited on the boat practicing their water painting while Jay and I went to retrieve the laundry. Later that night, Jay cooked this fantastic meal of BBQ chicken, grilled potato slices, and peppers. It was really good and then we all sat around the table and watched the movie Tin Tin until the internet went out about half way through, so we hooked up the external hard drive and watched the movie War Horse. It's a really good movie if you haven't seen it. We have a hard drive that my son Chris got in Afghanistan that has over 400 movies on it and when he found out we were getting the boat, he sent us the hard drive thinking there would be long passages on the ocean when we might need to watch a movie, or two, or three.
The next day was Mother's day, and still rainy off and on so we took Elaine in to Valdivia to walk around town and to see the museum there. The museum was closed, but we were able to walk around the museum grounds and look in the windows. It's mostly about the various cultures that settled in the Valdivia area and the displays are distributed among several old houses. Here's a picture of one of them. There were carriages outside the buildings we could look at like the one below that Elaine and Heather are looking at, and the rooms inside were set up to look like they did a couple centuries ago when the inhabitants occupied these houses. We could see the rooms through the windows as we strolled around the grounds.
Since it was Mother's Day we also took Elaine to one of the local restaurants for coffee near the bus stop. Here's a portrait of the owner of the coffee shop. The coffee was great, the service was good, and we had a good time just sitting there contemplating this adventure.The next day, Jay and I stopped by the Fish Market and picked up this big salmon and Jay put it on the grill that night. Since it was Elaine and Heather's last night on the boat, we invited some of our neighbors over for some of Jay's special broccoli soup and grilled salmon. They brought some wine and we added our own bottle of wine so we had a great time talking about all the places they have been and some of the places we have been too. The couple we invited are from Germany and they are spending the winter here after coming up from the south where we had originally planned to go. They had the misfortune of having their boat blown up on the rocks down there and had the hull breached such that water poured in. They spent last winter down near Port Williams at the very bottom of South America getting it patched up and now they're waiting to have final repairs made here.
Earlier in the day, I got to practice my wild life photography when I saw this bird that looked like a huge blue Jay land on the pier next to ours. I put on my big 400 mm lens and went way out on the bow of my boat to get as close as I could. Just as I snapped this shot, a big hawk landed right below this bird, but he didn't seem to be concerned. I talked to the production manager Roni Klingenberg about this bird and he said it's a pretty rare bird and is some kind of a Martin. He told me the name, but I forgot it already. He said they are very shy and rarely seen, but this particular one lives near by and knows he's not threatened here so he comes to the marina regularly and fishes here. He's a big bird about 12 inches high.
The next day, the 14th of May, Elaine and Heather left around 11:30 AM on a shuttle I had arranged to take them to Puerto Montt to catch their flight back to Santiago, then Mexico City, then home to LA. It was a clear sunny day, so Jay and I cast off the lines and headed to sea to spend the night out at an anchorage away from the Marina. On the way down the Valdivia River I took a movie so you could go along with us (virtually of course) and posted it at http://youtu.be/gPfRzWqXxD4 on You Tube. What little wind there was on our way down the river was right on our nose so we were just motoring along at about 2400 rpm and 8.5 knots.
Once we rounded the bend down by Niebla, however, and headed out to sea, the winds really picked up to over 20 knots. The swells were around 10 feet high and we were cruising along at 9.5 to 10 knots going down wind. I posted another video at http://youtu.be/_zKroF4TBEk so you can appreciate what it's like when the wind gets up to 20 knots. If we can get those kinds of winds, we can cover over 200 miles a day. We sailed out to sea about 2.5 to 3 miles and then went in a box pattern to get experience sailing in all directions to the wind. Coming back toward Corral, of course the wind was pretty much on our nose so we had to tack at an angle to make headway back to port. Even so, we were maintaining 9.5 knots most of the way. We sailed past Colleta Amargos and Puerto Corral which both have ruins of old forts we wanted to look at the next day and we looked for anchor points as we went by on our way to Point Roma where we planned to spend the night at anchor. We got there around 4:30 to 5 PM, dropped the hook in about 13 feet of water, and let out about 70 feet of chain and rode. We cooked up some fantastic Chilean sausages on buns we had bought at the market the day before and settled in for a relaxing night. Here's a picture of the anchorage site just south of Pt. Roma. You can see a house just in the distance and some fishing boats in the foreground. I posted a movie of this site on You Tube at http://youtu.be/lYA-tdwv0-Y
It was really cold that night, around 41˚ F according to the instruments on the boat, but it was quiet and peaceful. We were protected by the point from any winds from the north or west and the tides weren't nearly as large here as they were at our previous anchorage. There was a small waterfall adjacent to the boat about a hundred yards away so we could hear that at night and it was very peaceful until about midnight we heard a loud metallic clanging, which we thought was something to do with the anchor system breaking. We jumped out of our beds and ran up to the bridge deck with flashlights in hand and found that it was just a metal ring that had fallen off one of the dome lights in the ceiling and hit the table on the way down. Wow, what a relief so we went back to bed and pulled the covers up over our heads. The next morning we woke up as the sun was coming up and I went up to turn the diesel heaters on to take the chill off before getting dressed. On the way back down stairs I turned the tea kettle on so I could make coffee in a few minutes. As I looked out, I saw this scene below and some fishermen just going out to make their daily catch for the fish market, so I ran down the steps, put on my pants, jacket, and slippers and went out to take these shots.
After a few minutes, the cabin was warming up, the coffee was perking, and I had finished brushing my teeth and shaving so I went back up to the galley and made this breakfast fit for a king. It had some of the sausage from the night before, some fried potatoes, toast, coffee, and orange juice. And as I was making it, I could look out the galley window to the view just below the breakfast plate. Now that's how God intended man to spend his days I thought to myself.
Later in the morning, we hauled up the anchor chain and idled around the bay to our south. The whole southern part of the bay is pretty shallow, around 12 to 13 feet so we just idled along at about 1200 rpm and 4.5 knots, looking at the scenery and waving at the fishermen as we went by. We then proceeded north up past our anchorage site at Pt. Roma to Corral where they have some ruins of a big fort that we wanted to go ashore and see. Just as we came into the harbor, the winds came up quite strong and the water got really choppy with about 1 foot waves. We dropped the anchor in a kind of crowded spot, but far enough away that we wouldn't drift onto the docks or other boats that were also anchored. We could see the fort across the bay as you see in the picture below, but I didn't feel comfortable putting the dinghy down in the choppy seas so I gave the order to haul up the anchor again and we motored out of the harbor, put up the sails and cruised around the bay we had just come up through.
The winds were 9.5 to 10.5 knots and we were going about 7.5 knots with the wind at an angle of about 45˚ off our nose. That was a good angle to just keep sailing right up the Valdivia River back towards our marina, so that's what we did. We made it about half way up the river at pretty good speed under sail, but then lost our wind and had to furl the sails and motor back to our dock. This time we tied up to the end slip because Alwoplast was launching the second in the Atlantic 47 line and they needed the slip closest to shore where we had been tied up for the past couple of months.
Well, that's the report for today. We're supposed to have good weather for the next few days so we will try to do some additional exploring and will report on what we find—hopefully, no more mold and lots of sights and critters.