Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Puerto Montt Index Day 45 Day 47
Day 46: Puerto Chacabuco-> Puerto Montt Love Boat

Brian woke up around 8AM and found our ferry just leaving the port. He and Miguel left for the upper deck together while I squeezed in another nap. When I joined them, almost everyone on board was already up.

Not a lot of passengers at all for the size of the ferry. In fact, it almost felt like a private cruise. Other than us, an older British couple, there were only about 30 other Chileans.

The ferry is not for passengers only. Most other cargo were cattle, cramped in open-top carts, stood in the wastes and moaning. Yellowish liquid oozed out of the bottom of the carts. I just hoped they were at least fed.

Some patchy fog still hung half way up the distance mountain. Soon, we were amid fjords dotted with islands of various shapes. Once in a while, a perfect white cinder cone emerged in the distance pinkish haze. It felt amazingly peaceful.

Upper deck had several sections. Gabi, Brian, and I poked our heads by the wheel house and were invited inside by the 3rd mate. We checked the GPS and I even got to steer, pretending. For most parts of our journey, we would stay in protected fjords. Only a very short section close to Chiloe we would experience some open sea.

Breakfast bell rang while I tried to have a conversation with Miguel with my little Spanish. The dining galley is quite spacious and our breakfast was modest but plentiful.

We took the best shower for our entire trip. Back to the galley, we pampered ourselves with more coffee, cookies, and "Golden Nuss", our favorite chocolate bar. It had been our choice chocolate ever since Puerto Natale. Our cookies favorite on the other hand, evolved many times. Now we came down to orange donut and a wafer called Arti something. Still, Nuss is the king.

Miguel soon joined us in the galley. Brian bought a deck of cards for 1000 pesos. They don't even look like the cards we play at home, even the icons are different. Instead of ace, diamond, club, and spade, it got cup, gold, club, and sword, not necessarily the corresponding. Anyway, it took us a while to recognize the cards and even longer for Miguel to teach us a game called Brisca.

Graham stopped by and we teamed up together for Brisca, me and Graham against Brian and Miguel. We never got the rule completely. Miguel likes to change the rules, every time to his advantage, but we had a lot of fun just to figure things out.

After a pasta lunch, I went downstairs to our bunk beds and were stopped by crewmen playing ping-pong on the lower deck. They invited me in and I had a couple of match with them. One of them was really good. It was a lot of fun even though I don't understand most what they said.

The upper deck was blessed with light breeze and afternoon sun. In one section, white park benches circled around a giant chessboard painted on the deck. Our fellow cyclists gathered around their Mate set. We struck a conversation with the British couple who are well traveled. They traveled light too. Through them, Brian found out the fancy looking restaurant by port Charabuco served great food for very reasonable price. He gave me the look when I walked over--it was me who stopped him from going in there.

Almost everybody came up to watch the sunset. It really deserved that much attention. From pink to purple to blue and navy, we glided through jagged profile of volcanic mountain on silk-like water until that last tinge of yellow sank to the ocean. The wind soon picked up.

Inside the galley, the movie "Sign" was playing on a big screen. After dinner, we spread our map out and planned where to go in Chiloe. We saw a special about the island in Senora's house at Candelario Mansilla and couldn't wait to taste the famous seafood and sausage there.

Brian went up to the deck one more time before bed. He saw lights in the distance. That could very well be Quellon. Visions of twinkling stars and feeling of tranquility carried us well off to the dream land.

Index Day 45 Day 47