Isla Damas Trip - Introduction

Some 45 nautical miles from La Serena/Coquimbo there is the Pingüino de Humboldt National Reserve. It consists of three islands, Damas Island, Choros Island, and Chañaral Island. The first two islands are relatively close together, and the Chañaral Island is 10 miles further to the north. It is a quite popular destination for both Chileans and foreigners, because it can be reached from Punta de Choros in a motorboat within a half-an-hour, and is important area for marine wildlife, including penguins, sea lions, birds, and in the waters, dolphins and whales.

If sailing from Coquimbo (Herradura), the trip is not very complicated and for the most part goes in the somewhat protected waters of the Bahia de Coquimbo.

When one leaves Herradura, the Third Millenium Cross dominates the hills of Coquimbo for quite a while...
Before it disolves in the distance.

I was a bit late for leaving La Herradura because I had to fetch gasoline and obtain the famous zarpe, so that I was able to leave around 11:00 in the morning. There was little wind, and the sea was also calm.

On the route to the Choros Island one passes very close to two uinhabited islands, Islotes Pajaros (Birds Islands). These are barren rocks some 25 miles to the north-west from La Herradura.

The First Sight of the First Pajaros Island.
Pajaros Island.
Pajaros Island.
The Second Pajaros Island.

After passing the Islores Pajaros, the Choros Island appears on the horizon. I was already running a bit late, and was worried to get to the Damas Island before it became totally dark. Thankfully, the wind picked up a little bit and I was making good progress.

Choros Island.
Choros Island.
Choros Island.
Choros Island.

The sun actually set when I just passed the southern tip of the Choros Island, and I had to sail for another two miles before getting behind the Damas Island whic would protect me from the waves from the south. I just made it in time when it became totally dark.