Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Having gotten out of Valdivia with sublime simplicity (a small red car pulled over without any prompting on our part) we headed ever south, to Chiloe.
It was very easy to reach Puerto Montt, but between it and the ferry to the island our luck abandoned us. We were deposited at a tough spot and waited almost 3 hours before a man in a grey pickup stopped. He took us half way to the ferry and during the ride he said not a word. The turn off where we got out was totally unsuitable for hitch-hiking, so we decided to walk the remaining 15 kms. The walk was refreshing and when it got late, we happened to be passing by an empty house, in which we camped for the rainy and windy night.In the morning we cooked a proper breakfast with hot tea, walked a bit and travelled the remaining few kilometers with a roadworking truck.We walked onto the ferry and were delighted to know that ALL ferries in Chiloe do NOT charge pedestrians!
Chiloe is an archipelago, but there is one main island. It is covered in perpetuous mist and it is almost always raining. The island looks like a funny mix between two great Canadian islands - Newfoundland and Vancouver. The landscapes are of Vancouver Island with the white peaks on the horizon and pasture all around, but the locals and their towns look more like the East coast.
As it rains so much here that the locals distinguish beween the different kinds of rain: heavy rain that rolls off of your woolen sweater and does not get you wet (!) is quite different from a drizzle that gets you soaked in a matter of minutes. The rain is considered ¨better¨ when the wind is strong - the clouds are moving and the weather may change soon, whereas when there is no wind it can rain for weeks on end. If it is raining only sparringly, it is considered a good day out! We were lucky to catch four sunny days on the island before the weather got back to normal - rain (the wet kind) with wind.
A few typical images of Chiloe:A harbour of AncudLos palafitos-traditional seaside houses on stills
A wooden church. There are many on the island, and most of them look like this one near Castro.
Our idea in coming to this island was to reach its southern port of Quellon and look for a boat to take us across the strait to Chaiten. When we came to Quellon, its port dissapointed us: there was only a very expensive (20,000 pesos=40 dollars) ferry that was doing the run to Chaiten. No other boats, fishing vessels or navy ships were going there. The fishing boats are even prohibited to approach the dock in Chaiten and this is why: In 2008 the volcano erupted and covered the town with a meter of ash. The town was abandoned in a hurry. Then, the fishermen from nearby settlements began raiding the abandoned houses, maraudering. The navy was forced to interfere and put up a barrier which no unauthorised vessel is allowed to cross.
In Quellon we were hosted by Carlos Villalobos and his family, deep in the countryside, 16 kms out of town. We spent three days with them, listening to their incredible stories of their 7 years spent on the shores of the Tic Toc Bay. Their closest neighbours lived a 100 kms down the coast!This is the backyard!
So, there was no ride available for us, and we were not considering to support the monopolizing ferry company. The only option available to us was to come back to Osorno, cross into Argentina and re-enter Chile at Fatalefu, which seems like a trip in itself.
On the way back to the mainland we were picked up by Jaime Cardenas, a scientific technician who was on his way to take water samples from a shell growing farm. He invited us to accompany him. We went to the farm, dressed up for the sea like the real fishermen, met the harvesters who were getting off work and then got to witness the cultivation of the mollusks first hand. The water in the bay was contaminated by red bacteria, so Jaime was taking samples to see if the levels were back to normal and the harvesting can resume.The shells are exported to Europe by an airplane!
After our little tour was over, we were back on the road and got to Chacao in the afternoon. There we stopped by a friendly InfoChiloe office to say hello to our friends we made when we first stopped there. This time we were invited to cook pizza, drink beer and stay the night!!!
In the morning we walked a hundred meters to the ferry, chatted with a trucker while at sea and travelled with him to Osorno. He was carrying a container full of frozen salmon destinied for Saint-Petersburg in Russia!In Osrono we were unable to get a lift so we camped at a road-side greenhouse.
The next day was rainy and miserable, the only ride we got was from a bus (who refused to charge us) to the next town Puehue 50 kms down the road. There we got all wet near an empty highway and seeked shelter for the night under a roof of a tractor shed of a local house. In the morning the weather turned around and the sun was shining once again, and with the sun our luck came back. A quick ride with the municipality folks to the border and then a touring couple taking us straight to Bariloche through a beautiful scenery of Nahuel Huapi Park.We are in Bariloche now, it seems like an obsenely touristic place, we will be on the road again as quick as we can.


  1. Awesome! the "backyard" blew me away

  2. нахуель хуяпи парк? хехехе

  3. А хули, тут еще и похлеще названьица есть, например Пуихуй, в этом милом поселке мы застряли на полтора дня, под дождем. Еще есть Кодихуй, Копахуй и Ибаньез, но в них мы не были. Все эти названия это просто слова местных индеицев Мапуче, они означают такие совершенно невинные вещи как например Междуозерск (Пуихуй).

  4. чувствуют индейцы суть нашей бренной жизни