As it had been a number of weeks since our last boat trip our sea- legs were wondering what was happening so we decided to do a trip to Chiloe Island. We boarded the ferry in Puerto Chacabuco and supposedly 28 hours later we were to disembark in Quellon in the south of Chiloe Island however due to bad weather conditions this turned out to be a 34 hour journey.
We sailed through loads of fjords , very picturesque, visiting some tiny islands, stopping a little away from villages where the guys would lower a small shuttle boat into the water and tip across dropping off and collecting more passengers. Some of these islands looked like they had no vehicles on them, their only mode of transport was by boat. Not much wildlife to be seen but we did manage to catch a glimpse of some dolphins !
Only a narrow stretch of water separates Chiloe Island from the Chilean mainland, but crossing into it is like stepping into another country. The island is only 250km long and 50km wide , and it’s climate is not unlike Ireland’s , hence it is very green. It’s Pacific coast is almost uninhabited but it’s northern and eastern sides are very green, and loads of little villages in which fishing is popular.
One village in particular stood out and it was called Dalcahue where we spent a lovely morning enjoying the sun while pottering through their craft market, watching the local women (mainly) knitting as well as selling their products, being women they were able to multi-task. Also enjoyed really good coffee here too, none of that instant stuff!!! A first for Chile, to say nothing of Chiloe Island!
Chiloe is best know for its quaint Palafitos (wooden houses), with fantastic bright colours, which are built over the water on stilts, perhaps to pay less rent, as you pay rent for only the bit on land , as no-one owns the water ! It also has many wooden churches which are quite plain, not many of them were
painted when they were built by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th century and were built using wooden shingles on the walls and roofs, but despite that they have a strong charm of their own in a very simple way.
We spent a lovely evening chatting and helping guys press apples , the first step in making cider, in exchange for a ‘park’ for the night, I’ll let the pictures tell the story……. Merv at work, while I supervised ha ha , for a change !
Also another super trip was along the Rio Chepu, which was just the two of us in a small boat with our guide Fernando, who took us up the river , into a beautiful lagoon in search of Huillin (otters) . Just as we were about to give up the ghost, hey presto they appeared out to hunt, after all it was late evening so I guess it was near feeding time for them. Speaking of feeding time , after our boat trip we had a lovely evening of chatting and eating in the Hospedaje where our guide lived. All guests and family sat together at the same table and shared their experiences, wonderful. (www.senderodechepu.cl). A real treat here was the freshly baked bread cooked just in time for dinner, scummy.
Next stop we visited Los Islotes de Punihuil which are three small islands located right in front of the Puinhuil beach, a small beach surrounded by beautiful landscape on the Pacific Coast. This beach is special as here you can see the Magellan and Humboldt Penguins ( we hadn’t seen the Humboldt before) living together, and sadly the Humboldt is in danger of extinction. Here also we saw the Nutria del Mar also known as Chungungo, (sea otter) which is different to the river otters we saw yesterday.
One of the tour companies had a pretty novel way to launch its boat!