Isla Chiloe

Trip Start Nov 28, 2005
Trip End Jan 20, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Tuesday, December 20, 2005

After a boat tour that stopped for approximately 20 minutes in two diferent places around Valdivia (it should have been much longer) we head to the island of Chiloe, a large island off of Chile´s coast. On the short boat ride we saw hundreds of pelicans, more than I have ever seen before.

We are staying in a hostal that was reccommended to us by a girl who worked there, whom we met in Bariloche. It turned out to be quite nice, which for Chile was a blessing. Sophia was feeling a bit sick, so we just hung around for a while there. Walking through the town was nice, as there were all kinds of old, funky and diferent panted houses. It seems that the only attraction that we are interested in here though is the penguin rookery.

We take a day trip to a town that we wanted to see in the south on Chiloe, called Castro, and we were sure glad that we made it a day trip. Possibly the dirtiest city that I have seen yet so far and horrendously stinky as well. The only thing going or it was the way that the houses were built on the beeches. It seems that here in Chile, you need not buy property if your house id built on stilts over the beach - public land - and the only thing that you need to do is pay a small amount of rent to the state. So anybody can put a house here for very cheap. Guess what that means? After a few minutes of walking on the beach, we were utterly disgusted. On the beach there was a car battery, clothes, trash, jawbones of dead animals, trash, old composting food and much more. The list goes on. In addition to that, the smell was unbearable, as I may allready have mentioned. That in turn made Sophia and I come close to vomiting in a few different moments. That coupled with the noise of the city and the smog from all the cars, made the whole city a generally unpleasant experience. Adide from that, the whole idea of building houses on stilts above the each in public property seemed a neat idea.

Enter the next day. We are headed for Puerto Varas to leave for a horseback ride into the Andes. But first, we must do what we came here to do. Penguins. We hire a taxi to take us out to the island where they reside. We drive a while on an asphalt road, then it turns to a dirt road, after a while on the dirt, we drive across a beach to get to the boat tours. The scenery is amazing and I would have a hard time expressing just how much so, if it weren´t for the digital camera. We ride on a fishing boat out not far, maybe 500 feet from shore to a smallish island. There are the penguins. I had never really imagined that I would see penguins in their natural habitat and let me tell you, you should see them as well. These penguins were Hunboldt and Magellanic penguins, which are very small, about the size of an egg-laying chicken. To see hundreds of these little guys, with their crazy personalities was quite unique. And just when we thought we had seen it all, there was what the guide called a "nutria," which in Washington, is bigger than a beaver, but a rodent. This one was about the size of an otter, but looked more like a muskrat. All in all, this was an incredible experience. Penguins? And we are approximately where Washington would be in the Southern Hemisphere 45 degrees south.
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