25 nm from Nargana to Porvenir to Check In

So, on Thursday, November 20th, we upped anchor at 6:30 am and left Nargana to go to Porvenir to renew our visas. The passage was fairly uneventful as we motored up the Mayflower Channel past the Lemmons, thru Eden Passage, and into the channel at Porvenir, arriving at about noon. There were 3-4 boats already there, among them our good friends on BLUE SKY. We called Breeze and asked him about the goings on in the anchorage and he warned us not to anchor off the dock, as there was a helicopter flying in and out all day. They are building a self-contained cell-tower on the hills west on the mainland, using the dock at Porvenir as a staging area to fly the tower parts and associated hardware over to the construction site.

Breeze told us that he was very leery of being under the flight path of the helicopter after what he had seen the previous day. One of the loads to be taken from the dock to the hills was a 15Kw generator. These are fairly heavy 4-cylinder diesel engines, maybe 2000 lbs, and apparently the smallish helicopter had a hard time lifting it. Then, just after it had hoisted the generator up in the air and was turning its way to the west, the tackle holding the generator parted and it fell from several hundred feet into the waters of the anchorage with a dramatic crash and splash.

Breeze told us that he watched as they sent divers out to attach a line to the generator, under about 40' of water, and the helicopter managed to lift it up, only to have the line break again when it was a few feet out of the water, and the generator come crashing back down to sink to the bottom again. Finally the workers got the generator to shore (somehow) and today we were able to view and photograph the mangled remains of this very expensive brand new piece of equipment. So, with good reason we chose to anchor well away from the flight path of the helicopter.

Our main reason for being at Porvenir was to renew our visas. Even though they don't expire until the 24th, we arrived early, on the 20th, "just in case" there was some kind of foul-up. As soon as we got the hook down, we were approached by a young man in an ulu, Nestor, who volunteered to take our trash and aluminum, and who told us that the immigration office was not open today, that maybe it would open tomorrow. Not wanting to rely on this single source of information, we took the dinghy to shore and went to the office to check for ourselves.

When we got there, the immigration office door was closed and locked. Looking around, we ran into the Port Captain, Alexis, asked him about the Immigration office, and he told us that the guy would be out of the office until the FOLLOWING TUESDAY, November 25th. Yech! We showed Alexis our visas, with their expiration date of November 24th, but he told us that it would be no problem to be a day late renewing them, so at least that wasn't a big deal. However, with 5 days to pass, given a forecast calling for some pretty high winds and a chunk of rain, we decided to hunker down in a nearby anchorage we had already visited.