|s/y Nine of Cups
November 2008- February 2009
| This was our second stay in Puerto Montt. We had previously visited in 2005 and not much had really changed except for the names and crews of the
international boats in the marina at Club Nautico Reloncavi. We intially arrived in November from Ecuador and immediately began chores and lists (and
lists of lists) in preparation for our return to the U.S. for the holidays in early December. As always, going back to visit family and friends was
wonderful, but coming back "home" to Nine of Cups was just as grand and we were glad to be back aboard to start the New Year.
The trip back to Puerto Montt from Boston was a travail. We carted SIX huge duffels stuffed full of boat parts and gear (and a few goodies for the
crew) and four heavy carry-ons on a flight from Boston to Ft. Lauderdale where we rented a car and carted everything to Miami (filling every possible
nook and cranny with last minute purchases on the trip down). Checking in at Miami, though a hassle, unloaded us of the duffels so we only had to deal
with the carry-ons (one of which included a 32 pound starter motor which we just couldn't fit into the duffels because of the weight!). We waited and
waited...a delay, another delay, free dinner coupons compliments of American Airlines, more delay and finally a cancellation. By luck only, we were
able to get on another flight to Santiago near midnight with the assurance our luggage would accompany us (NOT!). On arrival to clear Customs in
Santiago, not one duffel had made it. Bad??? No, actually, it turned out to be good. There was no luggage to clear in Santiago. We got to Puerto
Montt, filed our claim for lost luggage and caught a taxi to the marina unencumbered by any luggage at all (except those darned carry-ons). We arrived
on New Year's Eve afternoon as our South African friends on "Odyssey" were tying up at the marina having just come in from Ecuador via the
Galapagos and Easter Island. The luggage, by the way, showed up four days later, already cleared through Customs without a hitch and delivered
down the long, long wharf and onto the deck of Nine of Cups by several marineros. Though delayed, it was much easier on the crew and it seemed like
Christmas all over again as we unloaded all the precious gear.
|We began New Year's Eve 2008
aboard "Nine of Cups" with the crew
of "Odyssey" (Jeremy, Vanessa, Kila
& Max). Neither boat had a lot of
food aboard, but we did have
champers and munchies and managed
quite well in spite of our limited
larders. Sorry, no photos...we were
too busy drinking the champagne and
|At midnight, we went to the club house to toast the other cruisers who were having a pot luck. Since we had nothing to contribute, we had felt odd
about showing up. Ah, but cruisers always take care of each other and we were in Chile and Chileanos are known for their hospitality. At midnight, they
were just sitting down to eat. Out came four more place settings and chairs and before you know it, we were eating, drinking and making merry with the
group...until 3am. Our Chilean hosts were Cristian (Commodore of the Yacht Club) and his wife, Laura (Laly) and their daughter, Catalina (Cata) and
son-in-law, David. We had coincidentally also spent New Year's Eve 2006 with Cristian and Laly. A terrific way to welcome in 2009.
|Club Nautico Reloncavi is fairly small, but
boasts lots of neat amenities for this part of the
world like wifi, wonderful hot showers and a
great club house for yachties. The club flies a
national flag for each of its international visitors.
|The club primarily caters to Chilean sailors and
there are lots of them. However, Puerto Montt is
the gateway to Patagonia for cruisers going south
and the entrance to the Pacific for those heading
west, so yachties flock here as well.
|The pit had already been dug when we
arrived and the wood fire started.
|Cups was comfortable in the last slip on the
dock. Though exposed to a bit of fetch at
times and wakes from boat traffic, we were
happy here and had no problems. This was the
same slip we occupied on our last visit.
|The club is not actually in the city of Puerto Montt, but rather in a small suburb along the Seno Reloncavi at Kilometer 7 on the way to
Chinquihue (Cheen-kee-way). Access to Puerto Montt was via local bus or collectivo (a shared cab with a specific route) and relatively
inexpensive (400CP/pp = .65US each way). We passed through the scenic little port of Angelmo each time we went to town.
|Angelmo is the home port of the Navimag Ferry
which regularly travels the Chilean canals between
Pto Montt and Puerto Natales stopping to drop
off supplies to little ports along the way.
|Because the ferry comes in here (which also
carries tourists) and it's also close to the
international cruise ship terminal, there are lots of
street vendors and crafts shops galore to sell to
the tourists. We liked to browse but often bought
more practical things. You can see David above
with a new handle for our deck brush from the
local hardware store!
|The tidal swing here is 5-6 meters. At
high tide, these boats are floating.
|Saying Goodbye...over and over again
|The absolute best part of Angelmo though is the
fish market. It's wonderful. Chile is known for its
fish, especially salmon and shellfish. We visited
this market regularly to take advantage of its
freshness and excellent prices. A large package
of freshly smoked salmon for $4??? Oh, yes!
|We're not keen on octopus or squid (at least from
a cleaning standpoint), but if you want it, they got it
along with "loco" (Chilean abalone), urchins and
every bivalve you can think of.
|We really loved the local shellfish:
choritos and machas (little mussels and
|We provided entertainment for the boys at the
local carniceria when we asked if we could take
their photo. They were only too happy to oblige
and ham it up for us.
|Friend and author, Kathy Parsons (Spanish For
Cruisers) let us know that she and Bill would be
arriving by cruise ship (a novelty for them) in
Puerto Montt and we met them and did a
whirlwind tour of the city. Above, Kathy checks
wood stoves in a local hardware store.
|Both sides of the street in Angelmo are lined
with small shops selling local crafts to tourists.
Woolen goods (homemade sweaters, scarves
and ponchos) top the list along with lapis lazuli
jewelry, a semi-precious blue stone found here
|One of the things I had read about in our Lonely Planet Chile was a "curanto". This is a traditional meal consisting of all local foods cooked in a pit in
the ground and served sometimes to the whole community after a house raising or large community project. Today, the meal is usually prepared in a
large pot and served to tourists as a taste of Chile. We, however, were lucky enough to have been invited (along with all the other cruisers in port) to
a Chileano home on Isla Tenglo (across the bay from the yacht club) where a traditional "curanto" was being prepared. It was not only fascinating to
watch the preparation, but the result was outstandingly delicious.
|Layers of sausage, chicken, shellfish,
potatoes, beans, pork and beef were put
on the fire. The final addition was a potato
bread called miclao which was delicious.
|Once all the food was put in place, it was
covered with huge leaves, then grass sod and
dirt and tarps were placed on top for the whole
thing to steam cook.
|It was a hot, sunny day and we all sought
shade while the curanto was prepared. Of
course, we couldn't wait empty-handed.
Wine, beer, pisco sours and good
conversation made the wait easy to handle.
|Long tables with fresh flowers from the
garden had been set up by Laly & Cata.
|It only took about 40 minutes total for
everything to cook and the result was
wonderful. Huge platters of meat, shellfish
and veggies were served to hungry cruisers.
|Our hosts from left to right, Cristian (also
Commodore of the Yacht Club); his
daughter, Catalina; her husband, David; and
the hostess with the mostest...Laly.
|After such a sumptuous feast, we relaxed
with coffee and Cristian got out his guitar. It
was an international sing-along....Chilean,
American, Danish, South African, Mexican,
Irish and British songs. It made no
difference, we sang along or hummed or just
|One interesting thing about Isla Tenglo is that
there are no trucks or cars to cart things around
and so oxen are still used. To the left, a typical
island scene here of men unloading firewood
from the mainland into an ox cart to be
distributed to local homes.
|This is a very social place...
|Club Nautico is a very, very social place. A large club house with a lounge, wood stove, satellite TV
and kitchen facilities made it very easy to share potluck dinners and celebrate any number of
occasions. Besides New Year's Eve, we celebrated our US Thanksgiving here, then going
away/birthday parties for several cruisers and sometimes we'd get together just for the heck of it or
just because it happened to be Tuesday!
|David & Jeremy shuck oysters aboard Nine
of Cups in preparation for a "shellfish" fest
where we gorged ourselves on oysters on the
half shell and mussels steamed in wine with a
side of salmon...because we could!
|It wasn't all play though. Remember all those things that broke on the trip from
Ecuador to here? Remember all those parts and gear we brought back from the US?
Midst all the fun and socializing, we put in many hours and long days to get "Nine of
Cups" shipshape and back into sailing condition so we could leave for our Pacific
transit. Here's a list of the major accomplishments while in port...
|Wolfgang Kirsten operates the Patagonia
Cruiser's Net everyday...365/year. We had
the chance to meet him when he visited
Puerto Montt. Retired sailors, he & Gaby
now live in Villarrica, Chile and welcome
guests at their guest home and stay very
involved with the cruising community via the
net. We'll be chatting with him daily as we
leave Chile and head across the Pacific.
|French-Canadians, Claude & Normande on
"Azzar". A very enjoyable couple, we're hoping
to see more of them as they head west to
French Polynesia and beyond.
|We met Marlene & Benno on "Diesel Duck"
way back in Panama; saw them again in
Ecuador and yet again in Puerto Montt. Big
world...small world! They were heading south to
Cape Horn and Ushuaia.
|Danish friends Kim & Kiersten
aboard "Sol". We carried charts for
Alaska to them from Ecuador and
Kiersten inspired me to start canning.
They're heading to Hawaii & Alaska.
|One aspect of cruising that's sometimes difficult is
saying goodbye...over and over again. We meet,
form fast and strong bonds, help each other,
enjoy each other's company and then head off in
different directions or perhaps on different
schedules. Saying goodbye is sometimes a sad
parting, but more often now, it's a chance to
maintain a long-term relationship via email until
we meet again.
|David & Cata from "Catch the Wind".
They'll be here for at least another year
and have become SSCA Cruising Station
|Next? We're heading to Chiloe to
explore a bit. Come with us.
|David scrunched up in the forepeak locker installing
a waterproof box to house the new windlass remote.
|David repairs the anchor light and checks
the rigging before our Pacific passage.
|And last, but certainly not least, our very favorite
sailing family from South Africa, Odyssey...
Jeremy, Vanessa, Kila and Max. We met them in
Ecuador and then again in Puerto Montt. We've
shared thrills, frustrations, meals, drink and good
times. They, too, are eventually sailing west so
we're confident we'll see them again.
|Repairing Odyssey's genoa was a community
affair...Marcie sewed while Jeremy & Claude
manhandled the sail..
|Our last night in Puerto Montt for drinks
|Vanessa aboard "Odyssey" had become a
close friend and "sister".
|Read the SSCA article we wrote
about Puerto Montt