We've had two days of travelling to get back from Futaleufú to Puerto Varas.
The first leg of our journey started with a 150km drive from Futaleufú to Chaitén. It was a bit rainy and very overcast - fine for travel. We took it slowly on the slick roads and enjoyed what we could see of the scenery through thick cloud. We love how small bands of cloud just seem to sit in the middle of a slope or a patch that just hovers above trees.
We got a puncture! Totally fluke as the dirt roads are so good here. A sharp stone - shaped like a stone tool flint - pierced through the tread. We used the skinny spare, one of those smaller ones that you can't do more than 80km/hr, to get us to Chaitén. We found a mechanic in town. Interestingly, he used a patch on the inside of the tyre and not a plug. Maybe they don't know about plugs out here? The patch seems to be holding up just fine.
We had the late afternoon in Chaitén so we walked along the massive and wide beach, checking out stones and driftwood. My theory about the wood is that this part was actually vegetated and maybe the vegetation died in the volcano explosion of 2008? There is so much wood lying around there.
I'm really glad we had clear weather to see the volcanoes and glacier on our trip down when we first hit Chaitén. This time there was such thick cloud we would never have known they were there!
On Thursday morning we presented ourselves at the ferry at 08h30, as instructed. We're really impressed with the efficiency and punctuality of the ferries. And we love watching huge articulated trucks reversing on to them.
This was a cushy ferry and we grabbed front seats with massive windows looking out. I did some reading (busy with 'The Seed Collector') and some snoozing. We also enjoyed seal sightings - lying on the surface in small groups with their flippers visible and also 'dolphin-diving' ahead of the ferry. No dolphins. Loads of birds. Before we set off from Chaitén we enjoyed watching large pelicans on the water. They are so big!
We had spectacular weather and calm sea so the trip was a smooth nine hours directly to Puerto Montt (a brief stop in Aycara to offload and onload people).
From outside of Puerto Montt we had cell signal so we found a place to stay in Puerto Varas for the night. Turns out it is owned by a South African guy (from Bassonia - Jhb south) and his Chilean girlfriend. He came here four years ago for a software development job and stayed. We recognised his accent after a few words. Hahaha
We are heading a bit North (once we get ourselves moving!) to a place on Lago Puyehue. It is within close distance of a town called Entre Lagos and some great hiking trails in the nearby park. There is also a ski resort closeby. We've booked for two nights.
Tomorrow is my birthday. My lips don't quite want to form the word f.o.r.t.y... Yip, I am turning 40 tomorrow. It used to seem so... old... and yet I still feel 24. That is certainly what counts more.
My 40 days of running has not been. We've had great days with long hikes and other days full of driving. I'm going to do a restart when we get back to really enjoy my annual game.
From my last day in my 30s... see you on the other side.