A baby wailed all night long in the hosptaje. We were up at 6AM. Downstairs, our breakfast was waiting for us on the
Yesterday, we decided to take a bus ride to Puerto Aisen. It is around 70K from Coyhaique. We didn't quite feel like
cycling all day. An hour of bus ride sounded quite enticing.
So, we rode to the bus station after breakfast and loaded the bikes onto the bus. The driver jammed the two bikes in the
far end of the seats. They fit!
After a climb not far out of the city, the road followed a river and went pretty smooth. Sun pierced through the morning
fog still hanging over the hills. It would be a great ride, but we were quite happy to be at Puerto Aisen by noon.
Aisen is a very pleasant seaside town with all the amenities you need, a bit on the touristy side though. We cruised the
city streets and found a bike shop where I got new brake pads. We also got some seasick medicine just in case.
Puerto Charcabuco, where our ferry will depart from, is a mere 12K away. Not very long ago, Aisen is the port of entry
until its harbor silted up the narrow fjord, now a muddy river bed where vegetation already started to grow.
We filled up with a rather expensive lunch of churrasco, meat sandwich, and completo, hotdog, with some papas fritas
and cycled off over a bridge toward Charcabuco.
The road is nicely paved and the traffic was not too bad. It was a perfect sunny day. I couldn't remember from when we
lost the habit of wearing helmet. The wind breezed through my hair. It felt wonderful.
Around 5K from Charcabuco, we saw a sign to a dirt road pointing to a regional park, Parc Aiken del Sur. So we followed.
After several fishermen's houses, we were on jeep tracks. It was nothing like the ripio we had gone through.
The park is very new and looked totally empty. We followed the sign to what is supposed to be a waterfall. It was hidden
behind tall bushes quarter of a mile away. As we stood by a metal gate with a "private" sign on wondering if we could
keep going, over the small hill down the road came a shadowy figure.
It was Kiwamu, the Japanese with all red bike gear who took off ahead of us in Villa O'Higgins. For all the places we
could bump into him, it was so weird. He finally found a replacement to his warped bike frame in Coyhaique and he
seemed to have had enough of the ripio. He was going to take the catamaran to Quellon.
We chatted for a bit more and parted. Down the road where he came was a boat dock and he was right, there was nothing
Back to the main road and we were at Charcabuco in no time. At the plaza looking out to the ocean, we had some snack
and watched the children play. There is an Internet cafe by the plaza, but apparently it was having problem that day.
We did though, find a one room, one terminal access at Chilean Express just by the port.
The sun finally set. We were supposed to be at the ferry terminal at 10PM. At a small cafe, we ordered some empanadas
to go with a bottle of wine. Those empanadas were big enough to fill my cavity. We secretly played "tuck of war" with
the short store owner who tried unsuccessfully at both starting a fire and preventing us from leaving the curtain open
for a hair. We were paranoid at leaving stuff out of sight now; I gave the silent owner credit for being persistent.
Dogs started barking soon as we returned to our bikes. The ferry terminal's waiting room was the only place bright out on the
port. It looked really cold inside because we spotted Graham wearing a hat and gloves.
Everybody else was inside, Chris and Gabi and a number of other passengers. The waiting room is huge with high ceiling
and four rows of old airplane seats.
9ish, someone came in and announced the ferry will not leave on time. It was having mechanical problems. What a shocker.
So, we had some more cookies and pulled out the sleeping bag to take a nap.
It must be 2Am or later when noise woke me up. We were ready to board and not only that, because of the delay, we were
given meals on board for free!
Crewmen directed us to the lower deck to lock up our bikes. When we entered our 4-person berth, a Chilean man is
already there. Miguel works for a mining company and he operates a tunnel loader. On our notebook, he drew picture
of the loader which looks like a Corvette with a chimney. We taught him how to say "gold" in English. He likes the
pronunciation of "gold nugget". From his travel bag, he took out some quartz sample for us to pick. We felt extremely
4Am we went to bed. The ferry was not going to depart till 6AM. The fourth passenger of our berth came in
late and we had to shuffle all the gear we set on his bed away. The bunk bed was quite small and I couldn't sit up
on the top bunk, but the clean soft linen was quite nice.