Chile
San Juan Bautista

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7 travelers at this place

  • Day25

    Robinson Crusoe Island

    February 17 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    A rough night on the South Pacific Ocean brought us to Robinson Crusoe Island this morning. As we are headed in the direction of French Polynesia, I expected a lush, palm tree swaying, sandy beach island. What we saw was far from that description. The island is a bit of volcanic rock with jagged peaks, evergreen trees and a rocky coast. It is remote and formidable by description, but the 800 people who live here were warm and welcoming. There are only about 1500 people who visit here each year due to the remoteness of the island and lack of amenities for people on holiday.
    Alexander Selkirk was marooned here in the early 1700’s and his story inspired Defoes novel Robinson Crusoe. Selkirk was a troublesome Scot who got fed up with the ship he was sailing on. The captain had also had enough of Selkirk so they left him behind to fend for himself. He may have made a good decision since the ship he had been on sank soon after. About half the men died and the other half were rescued by a Spanish ship and imprisoned. Selkirk was rescued 4 years and 4 months after his arrival on the island.
    The German battleship “Dresden” sank in this bay in 1915 during WWI. It was hiding out when 3 English ships discovered it and attacked from
    all sides.
    An 8.8 earthquake occurred quite close by in 2010 and the resulting 10’ tsunami wiped out most of the town. A 12 year-old girl saw the ocean receding and warned people. Because of her awareness of what was happening and quick reaction, only 12 lives were lost in the disaster.
    We spent a nice day here, met lots of dogs and had a good conversation with Angelo, one of 15 police officers on the island. He is almost finished with a 5 year stint on the island and will head back home to Valparaíso next month. We also were able to observe the firecrown hummingbird-Robinson Crusoe Island is the only place it exists.
    132 plants are endemic to the island.
    We spent time stretching our legs as we will be at sea the next 4 days as we head toward Easter Island.
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San Juan Bautista

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