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.