Mocha Island Trip - Introduction

Mocha Island is a small island (3 by 6 nautical miles) located some 16 nautical miles away from the continent.

The Mocha Island.

Mocha Island is an island of legends. It was inhabited by belligerent Indians, and several pirates who disembarked on the island suffered from them. It is said that even Francis Drake lost two men and he himself received a beating.

The central part of the island is covered by virgin Chilean forest which grows on steep slopes.

Mocha Island served as inspiration for the “Moby Dick” novel. There was a story about an albino whale, Mocha Dick, who lived in the area of Mocha Island and who served as a prototype for the Moby Dick.

The flat, sandy parts of land on the north-eastern side are inhabited.

The island is very difficult to reach for those who do daily hopping because the nearest “safe” port is Lebu, some 45 nautical miles away to the north. Although the continent is very close, there are no harbors whatsoever where a sailboat can enter. Only small motorboats which do not have the draft problem can make the straight passage from Tirua when the conditions are good.

Now, Lebu is a very dangerous port which I would recommend to avoid at any cost. I was almost assaulted during the night when I was berthed there on a previous trip. So the next safe place is the Golfo de Arauco. It has excellent anchorage options both for southern (Bahia de Illico) and northern (Puerto Sur of the Santa Maria Island) wind directions. The only problem is that it is 80 nautical miles away from the Mocha Island. So if the wind is against you, you will need more than 20 hours of sailing to arrive there, and if you are lucky, and going with the wind, you can make it in 12-14 hours.

Trip Schedule.

Day 1: 40 nautical miles, Santa Maria Island

Day 2: 80 nautical miles, Mocha Island

Day 3: 90 nautical miles, Bahía Illico

Day 4: 50 nautical miles, Talcahuano

The trick for me was to wait for that perfect weather window, because sometimes the wind reverts and blows from the north. So the idea was to catch this wind going south and then come back with the prevalent southerly wind. After constantly watching the forecasts for several days finally there was this window of opportunity and I raced to Talcahuano.