Chilean Fjords

Jun 2 2014
Chilean Fjords

Ah, still waters at last! During the night we left the swell of the Pacific Ocean and are now cruising in fjord territory. We have really never seen anything like it. Mountains all around, some of them snow peaked.
Again it is 5.30 am and Graeme sleeps. I am jet lagged. The dawn is just breaking behind the mountains, the faintest shade of pink.
Yesterday we spent in Puerto Montt, a bustling place that is built on three hills and is overlooked by three volcanoes, all snow peaked. It is summer but was only 11oC. Still, the locals thought it warm and were all out in their summer gear, just like Ireland.
We took a taxi driven by Luis to Puerto Varis, a beautiful holiday resort built by the first foreign settlers, the Germans. It could be in Germany. All the houses made in the local wood with turrets and shingles. Many backpackers and very touristy.
I suppose it was a volcanic lake but we will never know because Luis spoke no English and we speak no Spanish,
Still we had fun. We danced together. He took us to a hill overlooking the city where there was an outdoor dance session going on for the neighborhood women and children with the grannies watching and tapping their feet. Not this granny! I joined in and they were all so happy to welcome me. Soon Luis and then Graeme were dancing as well. Great fun in a very beautiful place with the sea breeze ensuring we didn’t overheat. Hugs all round when we left.
We had some lunch down town. They love their sandwiches, so that’s what we had with a local beer.
Dodged the gypsies to walk back to the ship where we ate in our room. Couldn’t be bothered getting changed for dinner.
Today we will visit the town of Castro on Isla Chiloe.
Up again at dawn. I am so excited about the amazing vista outside the cabin window that I don’t want to miss a thing. Today we are up close and personal with the mountains, some of them snow capped and others with fluffy white clouds hanging low over them.
Isla Chiloe is a prosperous little island that relies mainly on fish farming – salmon and mussels. The way in is not unlike the North Arm at Lakes. Castro itself is on a very steep hill, a bit of an effort to get up to the main square which features a very old and very yellow wood and corrugated iron church put there by the Jesuits over 400 years ago. Inside the icons are amazing, all dressed to the nines in lush velvet with many gargoyles and flashing lights just to get your attention. The market was buzzing – all fresh fish and things knitted with llama wool. We walked around a bit and ate a delicious fish lunch. It was sunny and warm if you got out of the wind. It does not get dark until very late so we took in the scenery while we ate, had a wine and listened to our favorite cruise entertainment, the German violinist. Beautiful girl, fantastic music. We ordered an Irish coffee to sip while we listened and the waiter dutifully went off to get it, leaving his array of delicious looking chocolates unattended. Big mistake! This woman who had been listening to the music in a comatosed state suddenly seized the opportunity and moving faster than lightning got up and snazzled one, using the appropriate tongs so as not to contaminate the others remaining and then sitting down innocently and munching secretly. Others saw this and thought it a good idea and one by one they did the same thing, checking to see if the waiter was on his way back. Before long they had dispensed with the tongs and simply started snatching one off the plate. Then along came Mr. Daring who he took a serviette and sneaked off with three or four. Well then it was on for young and old so while the violin played the plate depleted. The oldies had a field day!
Just seeing my first glacier. Fantastic! We are heading towards Puerto Chacabuco. Apparently there is not a lot there, but we shall see.

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