Loc: Vila Vila
Dist: 64,1 km
Start: 7:40 End: 19:00
Estimated landing: Puerto Grau
Estimated starting time: Right after sunrise
Estimated landing time: Well before sunset
Yesterday, we arrived without anyone noticing or welcoming us at the far end corner of the Yacht Club. Usually the Navy took not long to show up or was already there! Not here…we had to call them with the help of Abraham, the friendly guard of the Yacht Club. An nice young officer showed up, and we were asking him if he could hep us to get the exit stamp of Chile at the Policia International, please? Would they still be working late Friday afternoon? Yes, sure, no problem! When do you want to leave Chile, tomorrow morning 7 am? I’ll send you a car soon.
So far, so good…the Navy car came around 6 pm, and we happily jumped in, expecting to be driven to the Policia International deep into town. Instead, they dropped us at the Navy building, obviously in need to issue some paperwork first…
We were waiting for about an hour in front of the office counter in a freezing cold air condition draft – what was the problem? Well, it took them a while to fill out the form to allow us to leave Chile in a vessel – our kayaks. Then they were asking about our *permit* from Peru to enter it via vessel – I haven’t heard that we need a permit there also! My German embassy contact in Peru did forward our extensive data already a while ago to the responsible guy in Peru, and that should have been it!
Any way, they sent us home with the promise to get back to us in about two hours more or less while they were calling Peru. This should be around 9 pm, latest 10 pm, we thought…
We spent our time enjoying a steak dinner at the Yacht Club restaurant while we did our on line chores. I had to write two updates, and to edit and upload the pictures and to answer a few emails. We were tired to death, but kept on working until 10.30 pm – no Navy guy showed up, despite a phone call from Abraham around 9 am that they are just issuing their “paperwork”…ok, then we obviously need to stay another day. It would be quite late anyway to get to sleep tonight, and we had to paddle more than 60 km to the first port in Peru tomorrow.
The night guard of the Club came by our tent just after we jumped in, and said he’d wake us up when the Navy may still come tonight…he, they’d still be working? Another half an hour later, around 11 pm, he came by another time, and told us via an English speaking club member on the phone that the Navy will pick us up tomorrow morning at 6 am to finalize the paperwork and to drive us to the Policia International for the exit stamp!
We were actually on one hand quite impressed, that they were really making it happen, on the other hand dead tired from the long night waiting, and now getting up as usual? But there was no way back now to be able to stay another day when they had really made it work!
This morning, I woke as usual just before 6 am, though I had only 6 hrs of sleep. This is not enough after and before so many miles paddling! But who cares…I was ready to go, but they needed Peter also…
They drove us to the Policia International as planned, but before we had to sign on a Navy car hood paperwork in quadruplicate, each of us with eight signatures. What was in it? Simply *nothing* which was not in our passports plus the fact that we are two persons in a kayak heading to Vila Vila in Peru…
The lady in the emigration office stamped our passports quite quickly in the early morning, she probably rather wanted to go back to bed. Still it seemed to have been important to stamp the passports only on the day of our leave, not earlier. But no problems here.
Then they drove us to the Navy office again – did the Capitan de la Piuerto de Arica liked to say “Good Bye” and present me a souvenir for my historical first paddle along the whole Chilean coast line? No, he was probably not on duty this week end…only the young friendly officer rather presented me one of the four copies, stamped and signed now by both authorities.
We were free to leave now! But *today* and not tomorrow…we quickly packed and launched, glad that there was simply no one to say good bye or press activity, as we had more that 60 km ahead to paddle! The launching time at 7.40 am was just enough to get there before darkness.
Basically, the authorities worked their idea of a necessary paperwork very quickly, thanks! But it was a quite quick an unspectacular farewell of Chile and of the Chilean Navy who looked after us so well! Thanks for all your help, guys! And also many thanks also to all our Chilean hosts and helpers!
It was a very pleasant country to be a guest!
About 5 km into crossing over the bay of Arica, the already well known Navy boat came by – to ask about our names again 😉 ? No, only to give us a last farewell wave from the distance – and to probably check if we were really heading out of the country. Thanks – Peru is waiting!
The water in the wide all sandy bay was probably three degrees warmer than earlier along the cliffs, maybe now around 20 degrees. Nice! We were also thinking this must leave also the penguins behind now, until we spotted about four last treacherous guys…we also noticed some current whirling around here. Funny!
Many many fat seals and birds again feeding on the fish trapped in the bay, and many seals were simply floating around asleep, one flipper up in the air, after their great fish feast. I managed to pet one gliding quietly by, but just got as a reward a big splash from his scared dive away 🙂
We were heading directly toward the last Chilean airport, and soon could spot the boarded buildings. Quite some soldiers were busy on the beach – with what?
The coast now was all sandy low beach, with some at times ugly surf running out into the shallows. There were many green areas to please the eye, also a bunch of quite nicel looking holiday houses. A few motor bikes were riding along the beach, and a bunch of guys fishing here and there. All was looking pleasant and peaceful, almost like home, after the all desert mountains of the last weeks in Chile!
Soon there were the first fishing boats to be seen, and it seems like they were diving here after crabs or crayfish. One fishing guy held up an octopus! They were efficiently using the time driving home gutting their prey on a table in the boat.
And also efficiently, when were arrived in the small rocky harbor of Vila Vila, there was already a car from the Ministerio del Interior with two guys, plus a guy from the local Guardia de la Costa. They were happy to open up their beach office and stamped our passports with no problems right on the spot! This was very nice, thank you! Now we are already “officially” in Peru!
We had to learn the Peruvian time is two our backwards, so tomorrow, we would have to get up at 4 am body clock- if we hadn’t decided to sleep in anyway. the next safe port is in Puerto Grau, only about 25 km ahead. Nothing in between after that one until about 70 km to Ilo! 🙁