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Sailing from Valdivia to Quintero

Captain's log. In Quintero, Sunday, November 5, 2023.

The departure from Valdivia was full of emotions and was the most beautiful start to the voyage we could have imagined.

Beau Geste starting the journey sailing along the Valdivia River.
Beau Geste on the Valdivia River

As soon as the ocean sailing started, we organized for night sailing. It was in my interest to move away from the coast in order to find more stable winds from the SW. However, about ten miles offshore, the wind dropped or abated, and an ocean wave began to form, which started at a height of two meters and ended up literally chasing us with a height of four meters. The wind did not give us the necessary wind speed to maintain a steady course, so I decided to use the engine and sail with some of the genoa (headsail) while waiting for better conditions.

The calculation of the time we would need to reach Quintero at the agreed time indicated that we needed more speed, so my desire to sail only under sail had to be discarded. A few miles south of Mocha Island, an island we could see in the distance on the starboard tack (forward open to the right), we put full ahead and began to surf a four to five meter wave.

Mocha Island is located off the coast of the province of Arauco in the Biobío Region, Chile
Mocha Island

The passage by Mocha Island was marked by the great movement of fishing boats in the area. We were careful to avoid spinels hanging from small buoys, which are not always clearly visible, and we were careful not to get too close to them, as they were in a fishing maneuver.

Mocha Island is located off the coast of the province of Arauco in the Biobío Region, Chile, 34.3 kilometers from Tirúa.

The island has an area of 48 sq km and a population of about 300 inhabitants.

Sub-Antarctic giant petrel-Photo courtesy of Felipe Araya
Sub-Antarctic giant petrel

Felipe Araya, our crew member, an expert bird documentarian, devoted himself with

admirable vocation to enlighten us on the birds of the pelagic zone. We were able to admire the beauty of the flight of the Royal Albatross, identify different types of Petrels and other wonderful birds of our sea. During our navigation we came across several small groups of sea lions floating half asleep with their fins raised, probably collecting the pleasant warmth of the sun.

Giant sub-Antarctic petrel

This petrel is well known as a giant, as it reaches 88-94 cm in length with a wingspan of 195-200 cm, very similar to the albatross, from which it differs by the tube in its beak, typical of birds of the Procellariidae family. It weighs up to 4.5 kilos.

Until the third day no one ate, we only snacked on foods such as energy bars, chocolates and cupcakes that we carried. That day in the morning, with Mocha Island in sight, I took advantage of a milder day and the improvement of the conditions, both at sea and in the mood of the crew, to prepare a delicious breakfast with "rooster mischief" or scrambled eggs (note: Before breaking in with the eggs I asked our bird expert if he had any kind of conscientious objection to the consumption of eggs. If there was, it didn't matter, hunger was enough.) You should know that cooking on board requires certain skills that are developed with practice. At that time, the only one who had these skills and knowledge of the

Breakfast prepared by the captain at sea-scrambled eggs with bread.

location of the supplies was the captain. The breakfast had a great revitalizing effect and made the joyful conversations from time to time Felipe interrupted with the loud announcement of the sighting of a special bird, while enthusiastically pointing his finger at a place among the waves... a New Zealand petrel!

The passage through Valparaíso was in the early morning of Sunday the 8th. It was my turn to sail close to Playa Ancha, in front of the Naval School, my alma mater, where many years ago I declared my eternal love for the sea and solemnly swore to serve my country. I must confess that the expression "my eternal love to the sea" has had several periods of let's say, "temporary suspension" throughout my life, all the times I have been seasick as a louse, of the other, I have never had the slightest doubt.

The arrival in Quintero was at the scheduled time, 08:30 on Sunday 8. An ASIMAR small boat was waiting for us, which took us temporarily to the dock and then to a mooring buoy at the Quintero Yacht Club.

Thus ended an interesting and pleasant sailing that, like life, had good and not so good moments. Marcos Coronado and Felipe Araya left the Beau Geste. Thank you guys for your tremendous contribution and teachings left on board.

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