Northern Patagonia


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South America » Chile » Aisén » Puerto Chacabuco
January 6th 2020
Published: January 6th 2020
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A condor in the National Park MuseumA condor in the National Park MuseumA condor in the National Park Museum

Unfortunately we didn't see any close up but saw two soaring above the town when we returned. But they were too far away to be anything other than dots in the sky.
The weather certainly changed as we came north through the Patagonian Fiords, rain, wind, mist, and lower temperatures. Not as low as the Antarctic but it felt much colder with the wind chill factor. Photos are not very good with all the rain and mist. A few sea days have seen playing games - chess, rummicub and catching up on reading.

In one of the fiords we passed a wreck caused by a confusion between right, left, starboard and port. I hope the officers on board the Zaandam, know the difference.

A couple of small ports have been interesting, Puerto Chacabuco and Castro. From Puerto Chacabuco we travelled over the Andes, albeit the lowest part of them, to the capital of the region Coyhaique which is on the eastern side of the Andes not in Argentina. Spectacular scenery. As it was a rainy Sunday there were virtually no people in the main square of Coyhaique which made it feel a bit depressing. The political graffiti and defacement of statues didn't help. However the roses were blooming regardless.

In Castro we enjoyed just wandering around the town as the ship was moored just off the centre of town. Interesting
Scenery by the MuseumScenery by the MuseumScenery by the Museum

I took a photo of Ian next to the smallest deer, about the size of a small dog but it wasn't focussed properly but look up pudu - what it is called.
houses called palafitos are built out over the sea on stilts. These reflect the traditional fishing nature of livelihoods in the area as fishermen came home, tied up their boats to the back door and went out the front door on to the street. A lot of these have now been turned into hostels. The town square and main street was much more lively with the local people out in force. Even though the buildings were a little run down it was spotless.

The polici were out in force complete with dogs, helmets, flak jackets and riot shields. I'm not sure what they ere expecting but there were a few protesters, about 8, talking with a loud hailer in the square. They looked harmless enough.

Two large buildings dominate the skyline, one old, one new. The new one stuck out like a sore thumb and was a shopping mall. The old, the San Francisco Cathedral was extraordinary, just because it was painted yellow and purple. The exterior is corrugated iron and the interior is made entirely of wood. The photos say more than my words can.

I got the Lonely Planet book on Patagonia on my iPad,
Small fuschia is the national flowerSmall fuschia is the national flowerSmall fuschia is the national flower

The roads are lined with large bushes.
useful because it has maps and I can look up local cafes etc. Not useful as there is no Back button. Anyway we found another interesting bookshop and Cafe Blanco.

Sitting back on the ship looking out at the landscape on the opposite side, we were both struck with how similar is was to the Kaipara harbour. Even the mussel farms.

We are sailing through a narrow channel with salmon farms on one side and mussel farms on the other.

Only two days left on our cruise. Tomorrow at Puerto Montt and one day at sea to pack!!


Additional photos below
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The artisan marketThe artisan market
The artisan market

lots of alpaca products
CastroCastro
Castro

Note the new shopping mall dominating the skyline.
The very steep hill we walked up.The very steep hill we walked up.
The very steep hill we walked up.

I think it would have rivalled Baldwin St in Dunedin.
The CathedralThe Cathedral
The Cathedral

painted yellow and made of corrugated iron. This is how we approached it so were amazed when we went inside.
Incredible wooden interiorIncredible wooden interior
Incredible wooden interior

Begun in 1906 and finished in 1912 designed by an Italian architect.
Statuary insideStatuary inside
Statuary inside

Baby Jesus in a knitted yellow outfit.


7th January 2020

Happy new year travellers,
What an amazing trip you have had. You really are intrepid travellers and sharing your experiences on your blog gives so many of us an almost there feeling! Travel safe to your next adventure.

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