I have now been living on Isla Tenglo for about 10 days and so much has happened! Yet because I am technologically isolated – and in fact physically isolated – I have just been quietly absorbing and enjoying it all. On most evenings, I find myself huddled by the fire talking through my fingers to my MacBook Pro.
Rather than post all of that writing, I’ve decided to provide a weekly update of my activities here at www.dannyboytravels.com along with an occasional post on Facebook. I’ll also post a few pictures with every journal entry, but when I have more time and WIFI, I’ll add some “albums” in the Photos/Videos section with more extensive photo coverage. The scenery down here is stunning as you might imagine.
This past week (starting Sunday Aug 30) has been nothing short of amazing, as I continued my work, but also explored the surrounding islands.
My work this week focused on the Club Nautico Reloncavi marina. I cleaned Christian’s sailboats getting one ready for sale (“Finesse,” a 38-foot Jeanneau), and one ready for sail (“Kaweskar,” a 44-foot Beneteau). As I had hoped, I also paired up with David, Christian’s son-in-law, and helped him with his boat maintenance and repair work. We changed oil, replaced fuel filters, connected water tanks, repaired electronics, etc. Each day the hard work was rewarded with a 3-course hot lunch at the Club Nautico Reloncavi restaurant. Fantastico!
We worked on some amazing boats, including an 83-foot Swan and a 56-foot Bavaria. Unlike San Francisco where most boats are “day-sailers,” down here the majority of sailboats are serious “cruisers,” equipped with dinghies, radar, solar panels, water makers, wind generators, etc.
Like I said, the week wasn’t all work. I had plenty of time to explore my island, and two others.
I first wanted to explore my host island, Isla Tenglo. I was going to do that Sunday, my day off, but it rained all day long. I canceled my hike as well as my supply run, choosing to seek refuge in my sleeping bag, by the fire, with a book “Walking the Amazon.” This was perhaps the low-point of my trip thus far. The hot water in the bathroom wasn’t working, and the stove was out of propane. No hot shower. No hot coffee. Dinner consisted of a peanut butter sandwich with pumpkin seeds and almonds.
Monday made up for Sunday. It was a glorious evening so I trekked around Isla Tenglo, taking photos of the distant volcanoes and the setting sun. Only 8 miles long, Isla Tenglo is at the north end of Southern Chile – basically right where Chile changes from mostly mainland to mostly islands. There are perhaps 1,000 people, and only a handful of motorized vehicles; in a week, I’ve seen one car. The only store is about the size of an average bedroom (in San Francisco not Texas). To get to mainland, you have to take a boat taxi, which sounds way more formal and scheduled than it actually is.
Mid-week, Christian and Lali took me on a 2-day road trip to the island of Chiloe to see a new piece of land that the yacht club had just purchased for a second location. The drive was about 3 hours, including a ferry ride across the Canal de Chacao. We drove through some amazing countryside, visited small towns like Dalcahue and Tenaun, and relished hot, fresh empanadas from a roadside restaurant. The club’s land was at Playa Tutil, and looked like an absolute perfect location for their plans: a clubhouse, boat yard, restaurant, and small hotel, plus moorings for 10-20 boats out front.
At the end of the week, we literally set sail to explore a third island, Isla Puluqui, where Christian and Lali have a vacation cottage. We set off Friday afternoon in Kaweskar, a 44-foot Beneteau, with a full boat of 8 family and friends. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so we motored for 3 hours down to the island, pulling into a serene cove where we moored for the weekend.
Arriving just as the sun was setting, we took the dinghy over to the beach for a big bonfire, marshmellows, and pisco sour in front of the cottage, which sat tucked away amongst lush trees and overlooked the entire cove. After the bonfire, we went back to the boat for a barbecue, using the grill that David and I installed on the stern.
We spent the entire next day working on the house. The family just bought the fixer-upper recently, so it needs some work before it becomes the ultimate vacation spot.
I helped paint the trim around the front and back windows. After the long day of work, we shuttled back to the boat where Lali had prepared an amazing lasagna. We huddled around the table eating and drinking the evening away, knowing that we had made good progress on the house.
The next day was Sunday, September 6. After an early morning hike around part of the island, we spent the morning back at the cottage cleaning up. Then we enjoyed roasted salmon for lunch (thanks again Lali), packed up the boat, and sailed back to Isla Tenglo. We timed it perfectly – just as we were leaving Puluqui, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. Fortunately Christian’s boat has a full dodger and bimini over the cockpit so we stayed (mostly) dry.
I finally got back to Casa Roja around 8:00pm Sunday. I built a fire, made another simple dinner, and relaxed wondering what the next week would have in store for me. (Another volunteer is coming tomorrow night, so I’ll be sharing Casa Roja.)