We also got to meet Andreas and Christina, one of the local families in Puerto Varas, who proudly introduced us into their society. We visited cattle farms and auctions and were shown around their charming Bohemian town on the banks of Lago Llanquique. Once you are accepted by the Chileans, you meet truly warm and friendly people who you feel will become lifetime friends. Andreas told me that “it was better to have millions of friends than millions of dollars.”
The day finally arrived when we had a favorable weather window—if we’d stayed any longer, the boss would have assumed that we’d run for politics or been kidnapped. We decided that we ought to take advantage of the good weather and head as far north as possible. We were surprised that we had almost calm seas for most of the way once we were north of 38 degrees South. It was a great, uneventful trip except for having to change a main-engine raw-water pump.
GALAPAGOS AT LAST
After refueling five days later, in Arica, Chile, we went on to the Galapagos, where we were met by our agent from Sail n Galapagos. Cruising permits are necessary here, and he had handled them efficiently, arranging for the authorities to come aboard in St. Cristobal, our first port of entry. They were quite polite, finishing within 30 minutes.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the main harbor in St. Cristobal, and it appeared that the wildlife had taken over every floating object they could find, including our tender, which was popular with birds and seals alike. A seal even decided that one of our destroyed fenders, lying in our cockpit, would make a great place to sleep. We also saw blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, land iguanas, and marine iguanas.
With a timetable to stick to, we had to depart for the Panama Canal and get back to Florida. Once I was home and experiencing the Florida heat, I decided it wouldn’t take much for me to return back to South America and do the exact same trip all over again.
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