Loc: Punta Huentalauquen
Dist: 0 km
Estimated landing: Probably Caleta Oscura (25 km) only, but if it goes well maybe Caleta Maitencilla de Coquimbo (45 km)
Estimated starting time: Right after sunrise
Estimated landing time: Well before sunset
We got a longish e-mail from Tomas from Point 65 this morning about how to prevent possible rudder problems we found out yesterday on fiddling on Peter’s boat – this problem may happen or not, sooner or later….
We decided to rather “prevent” any possible rudder problems than dealing with them and trying to fix them only when they occur – a probably typical “German” way of thinking, but I think this is one of my successful trip qualities…what doest it help me to have possibly on the middle of the ocean suddenly a non-working rudder if I can foresee possible problems? This may be a quality of a “test pilot”, to already see potential teething problems of a new prototype boat, before they may get dangerous.
This meant for now to pick the spare rudder from Vina del Mar in some way TODAY. If we want to keep on paddling tomorrow, this is the last chance. A special courier may have been possible to find, but to what expenses? So I decided to hitchhike down to Vina del Mar! This is part of the adventure! I may have found a bus at some point, but this was way too slow for me now. So far I was used to travel “VIP-class”, means I was always escorted by a local host to do my things and to get where I wanted, now I was on my own with locals probably speaking no word English and me speaking just a few words Spanish.
The ride was surely my job, though it was Peter’s boat showing the possible problem. Two boats – double problems…Peter is simply not long enough in South America yet, speaks even less Spanish than I eventually do with my few words.
A fisherman car came fortunately already around 9 am down to our beach spot to do some sea weed collecting job, and one of the four men understood my explanations what I intended to do and was already happy to drive me to the highway . probably 3-4 km already. Our beach way was only accessible through a solidly locked gate for this small fishing community spot, and my driver let the gate keeper house people know that I’d be back tonight and needed obviously to go back in.
Thanks for driving me!
I just stuck my thumb out to hitch a ride, when the first car, a truck, stopped, and took me down the highway 5 to La Calera, where he kept on going to Santiago and I turned right to Vina del Mar.
This time it took about 10 min in the hot sun inland, until another truck was stopping to take me down to the crossway at San Pedro, where he kept on driving south somewhere, and I had to turn right again to Vina del Mar.
It took another min for truck number three – this nice guy took me right to Concon at the coast. I just jumped out at a bus stop, where already a bus was ready to leave for the last few km to Vina del Mar. I quickly hopped in, paid a few coins, and was soon back into Vina del Mar where Cristian met me right some where on the road with our spare rudder and a few other things.
As Cristian left in the middle of some formal lunch, he now best quickly dumped me at a bus stop for a overland bus going north again via La Calera to La Ligua. Communication with the bus driver assistant went well, and I jumped out at the last exit right on the highway 5 for my last hitchhike ride up to the gate house of our beach access road.
I rang the gate bell, the guy let me in, and although I expected to walk down myself and just disappeared behind a bush for my first pee of the trip, he soon came up with a car and drove me back to the beach!
Thanks to all of my “chauffeurs” today! This was a quick decision to pick the spare rudder, and a fast ride with a lot of different vehicles, but with no long breaks in between! Actually, I even did not eat breakfast in my tent, didn’t pack any food or drink, and was not able to go for a pee all day. But that’s part of the adventure – to stand such “minor” things…I may have had a chance at a bus station in La Calera, but I was not sure how long the bus would be waiting there…eventually actually 15 long minutes.
I learned today how to ride the local busses and how to hitchhike with few language skills (just show the map…), learned that the buses stop wherever *you* want on the highway (at least in the small cities and overland), and that all men I met were as friendly and helpful as they could – like I actually experienced only so far in all South America. Thanks, guys!
Along the highway, I saw many, many fields where they grew and sell many yummy fruits, which made me even a bit more hungry…
I saw also some single, quite poor looking people selling whatever kind of trip food out of small baskets just along the highway (do people really stop for those offers?), and experienced some clever salesmen quickly jumping into the bus while we were stopping at the stations. They first were distributing unwanted their small products to the travelers, then you had to listen to a small promotion show, before they either collected the money or the items back…an interesting way of “power selling”.
Noticeable also along the highway were a bunch of “Motel Eros” where you probably can have some nice hours with NOT your own husband or wife…fortunately none of my truck drivers intended to stop there…
I was reaching “our” beach again at about 5.30 pm, just for one hour of daylight left to install quickly the new rudder. All easy and good now! A quick decision, quick, ride, quick installation, and we are on the safe side to start fresh over tomorrow!
See how the fog is tomorrow morning, but it will be very low winds, and the swell is going down all day. So all good also. Physically, were are both fine again!