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Sailing between Rapa Nui and Valdivia

Captain's log. At sea, March 2, 2024.

It is a sunny Saturday and we are on our seventh day since setting sail from Rapa Nui, on Friday 23rd at 2200 hrs. We were on the island only enough to rest and recover since the season that allows sailing on a small sailboat in this area is running out.

The crew of the Beau is Pathy Hucke and Hoko, both Rapa Nui, and me. The departure from the island was delayed by a couple of hours because we didn't want to leave things loose or messy. There was no rush and leaving later wouldn't change a thing. We pass by motor between the "motu" or islets that rise to the south-east of the island; motu Nui, motu Iti and motu Kaokao and the slope of the Rano kau volcano. It was already getting dark, but we could clearly see very close to us the structure of the Kaokao that protrudes vertically 20 meters from the surface, after rising through 60 meters of water, like a great needle from the sandy bottom. Little by little we moved away from the island and we began to have the necessary wind to turn off the engine and start our sailing journey, thus beginning our last stage of sailing.

The first week of sailing was very pleasant but difficult. The objective of this first section of the navigation, which for the purposes of comprehension I divided into three, is to "gain south". We must reach a latitude that allows us to avoid the center of the high pressure that should be at the height of Santiago, more or less at 33° South latitude. After reaching this objective, we will have to take a more easterly course, putting our bow to the coast, in order to avoid the high pressure and benefit from the winds that, in theory, blow in that direction on the southern margin of it. This would be the second tranche.

The third section will be the approach to the continent, a stage in which we will sail at the approximate latitude of 40° South, in demand of Valdivia and probably, only probably, with winds from the starboard block.

The real situation that we are facing at the moment is that the high pressure is very far south, with its center at the height of Valdivia, which is why perhaps we would have to go even lower, to the latitude of Chiloé. All this can vary depending on your position at the time of being there, for which there are still several days to go. The time will come to worry about that.

During the sailing, Pathy has excelled in many ways and has already delighted us several times with wonderful preparations of noodles, beans and lentils seasoned in a magical way, delicious dishes that we enjoy watching a movie while sailing. Hoko's specialty is definitely pancakes with jam or “manjar”, providing good breakfasts and delicious dinners at sunset. My culinary contribution is the kneaded bread, which will become routine when the sliced bread we have run out.

We are at the deadline to navigate this area in a small sailing boat like the Beau. At this time the high pressure center of this region, better known as the "semi-permanent anticyclone of the southeast Pacific", which in the summer months usually "protects" the coast of central Chile from fronts, weakens, moves or fragments, allowing them to enter the coast. These phenomena, combined with other factors such as the cold Humboldt current and the cold air masses from the south, make this area a real box of surprises, not very easy to sail. The situation changes every day and each step must be solved like each of the steps of a long staircase... one by one. We set goals to accomplish each day, that way we stay focused on these partial goals whose achievement helps keep morale higher.

A hug from a point in the middle of our Pacific Ocean (what a misnomer, a great irony), 1600 miles to the west of the Juan Fernandez archipelago,



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