Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today was a big day in the life of Odyssey - the mast went back in!  After much poking and prodding, hammering and smashing, we determined that the mast step was in fact solid - the looseness that I had been attributing to the step was in fact from the spartite collar at the partners where the mast passes through the deck working itself loose and then being slightly eroded by the motion of the mast.  While it may or may not say something about my mental processes to sail over 30 days and 2000+ miles over something which could have been fixed at sea in about 30 minutes, I do feel a lot more confident in my rigging now, which very important.  I'm going to regard the first 70 days of this trip as a 6700 mile shakedown cruise.  With the mast back in today we cranked on rig tension and everything was solid, so I'm feeling much bettter about that situation.  It's been good to take care of a few random jobs and bits of maintenance on the dock as well, and we're in the midst of building a small hard dodger to cover the companionway, since I discovered on the way down here that the canvas dodger has an unfortunate habit of letting the larger waves through it and into the galley.  So far Chile has been great.  We're docked at what I think is one of the nicest yacht clubs in Chile, Club de Yates de Higuerillas (I don't think that's quite right, but it's close) in ConCon, which is a summer vacation town about 10 miles north of Valparaiso.  The area reminds me a lof of Southern California - not just the beaches and summer tourists, which there are plenty of, but in the landscape and wildlife as well.  You could take just about any picture here and be hard pressed to tell whether it was in SoCal or Chile.  The biggest difference is the size of the birds - the pelicans and seagulls here are abnormally (well, I guess normally for Chile, but...)  large.  Any one of these birds could definitely win against 2 to 1 odds in a birdfight with the variety from California.  They also seem to have a predilection for finding human targets upon which to deposit their guano, and if there are no people about they seem to take great joy in going after sidewalks, boats, umbrellas, or whatever is the most likely to cause umbrage.  My spanish has been slowly improving too, although I still have a tendency to stare panic-stricken at people when they speak at a normal speed, I tell myself at least that I'm competent enough to go to a restaurant and order a meal with a minimum of pointing and sign language, which, of course, gives me no end of pride when comparing Spanish skills with Shanley.  One thing that is less than ideal here is the wifi access - there are only certain spots in the club where you can get a signal, and then your chances of actually being able to connect to the internet are at best 50/50, and service has a nasty tendency to cut out whenever I'm in the middle of writing an email or trying to download anything.  I'm going to head back to the boat now for some dinner, it's almost sunset and the air is starting to get a bit chilly.

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