Saturday, 11 June 2016

Thursday for ferry riding

What a fabulous day for ferry riding! Calm sea, not a cloud in the sky and a comfortable ferry for the long trip from Hornopirén to Leptepu.

The ferry was a large one with an excellent passenger area complete with large tables, padded benches and warmth.

I spent most of the trip working on a cable crochet beanie for myself. I made a simple green one for Celliers last week. 

The trip was smooth and enjoyable. We delighted in the scenery along the way. We looked up two fjords and saw islands, Volcan Huequi and other snow-capped peaks. We also spotted some waterfalls cascading from steep cliffs and marvelled at solitary houses on the shores of islands - accessible only by boat. Really in the middle of nowhere.

We also saw many aquaculture farms. A decade ago my friend lived in Chile and worked on a project setting up an abalone farm off the coast of an island near Chiloé  (big island). What we saw may have been abalone or mussels or salmon?

My friend Mane warned us about eating shellfish because of the red tide in the area. Celliers is allergic to shellfish so that takes it off our radar but we definitely think we saw large areas of it, especially close to our stop at Leptepu. 

From here we had a 10km drive in convoy with the other passengers - across the peninsula. Here we got on another, smaller ferry, for the short  (40min) trip to Caleta Gonzalo. There is nothing more than a few houses at the harbour.

We had a large articulated truck, with two trailers, on the trips. He was carrying a load of large plastic pipes. We all had to reverse on to the ferries and while some car drivers found it challenging (the friendly ferry guys couldn't help laughing - neither could we!), the truck driver nailed it. The trailers alone were the length of six cars!

When he got on the second ferry I was watching from the deck. I gave him a smile and a thumbs up - he returned a relieved smile.

Our initial plan was to head to the main town of Chaitén for the night. From the ferry we'd seen signs for campsites and so we pulled off when we saw a nice looking entrance.

Most of this area is part of the Parquet Pumalin nature reserve, established by the late Douglas Tompkins of the Patagonia gear and apparel company (he died a few months ago while kayaking in this region - he fell into the icy water). 

We are super impressed with the infrastructure that we've seen. They are clearly not expecting visitors at this time of year and the two friendly guys we met clearing vegetation and tidying the site said that as they didn't  have camping tickets for us we could just stay free. And off they went home.

We walked a little of the sender (trail) to the waterfall but turned back to set up camp and make dinner before dark. Each site has an open piece of lawn for your tent and a wooden roofed structure with table and benches. The ablutions had only cold water - but tidy loos and basins. No electricity, but it looks like they hook up gas in the summer.

By the time we got into our tent at around 18h30, there was already frost on it! Sub-zero already! Fortunately we've got thick down sleeping bags. I finished off my beanie and bedded down for the long night. 

We both woke in the middle of the night to pee. What a sky! Cold but crystal clear and stars so crisp to see. Magnificent! We enjoyed a quick look and dived back into the warmth of our sleeping bags for more sleep. We looked forward to hitting the trails in the morning.

No comments: