Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chile: Puerto Puyuhapi to Coyhaique



The bus finally came to Chaiten late in the day and drove us south towards Puerto Puyuhapi. We changed to a van late in the evening, and then found ourselves in a tiny town somewhere in the middle of the night, with no bus leaving until the next day. After knocking on a few doors in the wee hours, we found a place to sleep at Tia Ame's house. The next morning bright and early after one more bumpy bus ride we found ourselves in Puerto Puyuhapi.

Puerto Puyuhuapi is another tiny town in Chile, nestled between the valley at the farthest inland reach of a great fjord that runs into the Pacific Ocean. It was chilly and quiet and cute.

We took kayaks out one day into the fjord and were met by a pack of sea lions... somewhat disconcerting considering they are bigger than our tiny kayaks, and much more massive! The landscape was beautiful between the tall fjord walls. A hanging glacier peeped out between two mountain peaks.

Seeing a glacier was on the list for fun things to do in Chile, so we arranged a hike in the national park which took us over raging rivers, through dripping forests, and up and up and up.

The climate is always wet, and the foliage was green and growing everywhere!

When we got to the hanging glacier we were met by only clouds. After a little cloud dance, and some strong lungs blowing in their direction, the clouds moved away and there was the blue glacier.

Water poured out from under the thousands of year old ice. Even from a long ways away, the deep booming and cracking of the glacier was formidable. Sounded alive... One in a while pieces would crack off and fall into the gray-green lake below.

Hiked back in awe.


Bussed down to Coyhaique to catch a boat back to Puerto Montt. We didn't get to see too much of the town, but it was tucked between beautiful mountains.

Toting all of our gear, and a little grubby for the travels, we chowed lunch in a great restaurant with a roaring fire, and then headed to the port to catch our ship.

We caught the big NaviMag ferry that runs the 18 hour motor between Puerto Montt and Coyhaique. Boarded at midnight, found our little cabin and crashed for the night.

Woke up to the howling of the elements over the ship. Wind and rain belted the big ship as we cut through the frozen waters of the fjords heading out to sea.

Dolphins and sea lions played off of our bow. Out to sea we saw whales spouting...

After the protection of the fjords we broke into stretches open to the rolling sea. The big ship pitched and rolled... we were a little green... but we eventually made it into the lee of the huge island of Chiloe.

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