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  • Day29

    A Ferry to Aysén, Northern Patagonia

    April 2, 2019 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    From Puerto Montt, I rode a bus all the way down the island of Chiloé, Latin America´s largest island, to the small city of Quellón. It is the starting point for a few ferries going south through southern Chile’s islands and fjords. I took a look around the city for the day, walking eleven miles or so, until it was time for my ferry to leave at 11 PM.

    I thought it would be quite an adventure to take this 28-hour “cruise” to tiny and isolated ports in Chilean Patagonia. It wasn’t quite an “adventure,” or a “cruise,” but it was very educational. On the boat, all passengers sat in reclining seats, and at night we could sleep all we liked. During the day, movies were showing constantly on many screens, but we were free to walk around on the decks to see the islands. OK, most of the time we had an excellent view of fog, BUT thanks to my binoculars, I sighted two curious seals who bobbed up and down to have a look at the boat, as well as many birds.

    At every port there was great drama. Evidently, the arrival of the ferry was highly anticipated, as people were either coming home or leaving it. Also, trucks full of all sorts of needed supplies drove off the ramp. I saw some people receive a case of homemade apple cider (7-proof) who opened it and started drinking it right at the landing! There was also a great quantity of beer that was unloaded. Anyway, it was fun to watch, and most passengers tore themselves away from the Disney film on the screens to watch the landing action.

    I also spoke with many people. A French couple in their 30’s were biking around the world for two years, and South America was the end of their journey. They were open and delightful: international personalities. I spoke with a Chilean agronomist who was raising bees to sell the honey, and was also saving money for a special machine to artificially inseminate the queen so as to produce mixed breeds. There was a Syrian immigrant working for a transport company—grateful for Chile’s welcome, and his escape from his war-torn country. Etc. I love finding out what people do, and what is important to them.

    After landing in Puerto Chacabuco, I took a shared taxi to the small city of Aysén and my Airbnb property. My hostess and Patagonia guide, Sandra, advised me to visit the Rio Simpson National Reserve, a lovely trail along the river which charted the course of the settlers to the region. And the following day, she and her friend Sergio, another guide, took me out all day to see very beautiful local sights dear to their hearts. I am so glad to be where the air is pure, and the countryside is so stunning.

    Please enjoy the photos, and be sure to leave your first name with any comment.
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