Juan Fernandez Islands - Profile
- Some 400 miles off the coast of Chile lies a group of islands rarely visited by anyone, including yachts. The three islands, Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara, are a dependency of Chile.
- Discovered by Juan Fernández in 1574, one island was the home of Alexander Selkirk, a seaman who was left on the island at his own request from 1704 to 1709. It is this willingly marooned sailor whom Daniel Defoe used as the inspiration for his character Robinson Crusoe. This island now bears the fictional character's name. Alejandro Selkirk Island is 80 miles (130 km) further west.
- Only Robinson Crusoe Island (33°38'S, 78°50'W) is inhabited, by a population of around 500, most based in the San Juan Bautista village in Cumberland Bay. The names were given to the islands in 1935 when the group was made a national park.
- The islands are visited very rarely by yachts as they are off the cruising routes. The occasional yacht that stops here is usually en route to Easter Island, Chile's other outpost in the South Pacific.
- Very few provisions can be obtained here, fuel could perhaps be bought from a local fisherman, and there is enough water, especially between May and November, the rainy months. The Chilean Navy have a presence here and a well equipped workshop. Visiting boats have found the Navy personnel very helpful in emergencies.
A useful guide to South Pacific weather resources complied by a Noonsite contributor, Rory Garland.
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