Posted by: powellpjc | April 15, 2010

Time to let go again. Chile-Tahiti.

A good flight but the landing turned to shit.

The next sea passage. April 16-?

I’ve been here in Iquique for 6 months. Hard to believe but it is enough time. I’ve had great flying, good flying and the rest of the time I’ve been scared.

Tomorrow is my last flight. I need to identify my last flight because I must pack my glider properly (for once) and then stow it below. I might use it again when I arrive in Tahiti–we shall see, but I will certainly need it after.
I took a bus most days to the launch but one Sunday morning I was offered a ride by a fellow yachtsman, Enrique. He owns the Hotel Cavancha here in Iquique and a Russian knock-off of a WWII BMW sidecar motorbike. I scrambled for my helmet and we sputtered out of town. There is no cooler ride to a paragliding launch than this 2 banger. We lost 1 cylinder on the way but perservered. As you can see.

A clapped-out Russian knock-off and two clapped out riders.

Pics courtesy of Jeremy from Kelowna.

So, 6 months in the same spot should give one enough time to accomplish all boat jobs and get this steel lady ready for a 4,000 mile haul. You would think so, but you would be wrong. You are not as lazy as I am.
For the past 2 weeks I have been ticking off the jobs.
Buying food and booze has taken up a lot of time and effort. One cannot run out when one is on the high seas.
I have no car here so I use taxis and I’m embarrassed with the number of bags of beer. Therefore I make mulitple trips, hoping to have a different taxista each time. It works in a town with 6,000 taxis.
The cupboards are full with dried foods. Soups, pastas, cans of everything I can think of and more soup. I will buy fresh stuff in the next two days. Fresh veggies, milk and meat. I will cook up a green pea soup and a meat sauce for salsa tomorrow and have enough ready to eat chow for 6 days or so.

Food everywhere.

Food and booze, that is.

More than enough is sufficient. Always liked that motto.

Probably won’t feel like eating it when I hit the chuck. I never feel like eating for 2 days or so. Just sleep, lay about and drink coffee.

Now, the beer goes down below the floorboards with hopes of cool temps below.

I’ve changed the oil and filters on the engine; remounted the watermaker pump; washed the mast and speaders; washed the sofa cushions; drained, flushed and replaced the engine coolant; learned to play dominoes; hired a guy to recharge and renew the refridgerator; replaced all gaskets and flipper valves in the toilet (sounds easy); rerouted the engine stop cable; painted a hell of a lot of the boat; inspected and greased the wind vane; ordered, installed and checked electronic charts for the islands from here to Thailand; chased down 12v light bulb spares; sealed all portholes (again); fabricated a new anchor light from a car license plate socket and a glass spice jar; bought an air rifle–for those nonstopshitting masthead cormorants; rigged a board to lash down my diesel jerry cans on deck; serviced the batteries; rejigged and rewired the solar panels; hired a guy to clean the hull of accumulated growth and the rest of the time I’ve gone flying. A great 6 months.

A guy who knew what he was doing soldered my new cooling unit for my fridge.

I am now waiting for my new passport to arrive and it should be here tomorrow or the next day. I was going to renew it in the summer but I see there are no Canadian embassies in French Poly. Thus, all documents went to Santiago, Chile. The passport is printed in Canada, however and I am waiting on airplane connections.
I have purchased a lot of cheap ($2.00), pirated DVD movies for the waters ahead. Some are great and some don’t work at all. The others are in Russian with Spanish subtitles. Go figure, already.
I will shuffle off to the port captain for my clearance papers as soon as I have my passport.
Thereafter I set a course for the Gambier Islands (part of French Polynesia) but if the winds are favourable I will stop at Easter Island. I don’t really know why I would stop there. The heads, I guess, and to say I’ve been there. It is a difficult spot to stop at, being singlehanded and all so it is not high on my list. I know some of the history of the place and it holds little mystery for me. Still. 
Pitcairn Island is also on the way, sort of, and the history and isolation do appeal to me. However, it is even more difficult to anchor there (one reason they chose it, I guess) so I may have to slide by.

I am looking at a 40 day passage to Mangareva in the Gambiers. Could be 45 or 35 but in any case it will be a long haul and I am enthused with the idea. There have been other tests but this will be a good one. Many other sailors have gone further and longer with less so it is no big deal in the scheme of things. For me it is.

And I have proved before that one cannot die of boredom.

So, for my 64th birthday I will be on the high chuck. Feet up, bronzed and at peace. If you can believe that…

Ciao, baby.



  1. Hey there
    How are ya ? I live on Pitcairn Island and can tell ya we had 5 yachts anchored up two days running couple of weeks ago so there are areas you can park up in for a few days Would love to have the opportunity to meet someone with such a positive attitude to life, are you sure I can’t convince you to stop for a while instead of slipping on by ? I could even make you a birthday cake LOL

  2. Pedro, allow me to be the first to offer wishes on safe passage and Happy High Seas Birthday! Safe safe travels bon voyage avast ahoy etc.


  3. Tried to e-mail you, then found you here. Be safe and talk soon.

  4. Warning! This just in please be advised Pete!!

    To test an Iranian cleric’s claim that immodestly dressed women are responsible for earthquakes, tens of thousands of women around the country plan to show off an extra bit of skin today.

    It all started a week ago, when Purdue University senior Jennifer McCreight, 22, wrote a blog post about some “supernatural thinking” put forward by Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, an Iranian prayer leader.

    “Many women who do not dress modestly … lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which [consequently] increases earthquakes,” he was quoted as saying during Friday prayers in Tehran.

    Put off by the cleric’s comment, the genetics major turned to her blog and declared that it was “Time for a Boobquake.”

    Watch Out!!!

  5. For all those gals needing to know where the Powell is, 19 41S (Tropic of Capricorn) & 102 31W Long.Halfway.

  6. Even though you missed my BD, I don’t hold it against you …. on the contrary, I am sending early birthday greetings to you. Hope you have a GREAT DAY on May 10! We’ll be thinking of you.

  7. Even though you missed my BD, I don’t hold it against you …. On the contrary, am sending early birthday greetings to you. Hope you have a GREAT DAY on May 10! We’ll be thinking of you.

  8. due in Mangareva in a day or two; position approx:
    22 14S Lat & 131 53 W Long

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