The Navimag experience
Trip Start Dec 02, 2007
55Trip End Sep 01, 2008
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The boat is a converted cargo ship, that continues to carry freight (including live cows) in addition to passengers. This means that it is not exactly cruise-class... We had booked a grand sounding AAA cabin back in England a couple of months before we left. This meant that we got a private cabin, as opposed to one of the 4-berth or 22 bed rooms. When checking in, we were told that we were eating exclusively with the other AAA passengers, in the Captain's dining room. This sparked a mixture of delight and horror for us (can you guess who was who?!) The Captain however had far better things to do than even acknowledge passengers, so we made do with more choice and free wine (woo hoo!)
With the weather misbehaving, the trip differed completely from our expectations
The journey up the coast also includes a 12 hour passage on the open Pacific, through the Gulf of Penas (which had many of the male passengers giggling like schoolboys during one of the daily lectures...) The Lonely Planet states that it can be 'gut-wrenching' and, despite being one of the calmer recent crossings, it proved to be, particularly for Charlotte... The boat rolled the waves all night, with a lot of loud creaking and smashing that kept you awake even if you weren't feeling queasy. After we'd finally got some sleep, it was a pleasure to wake to calm waters again, preparing everyone for the last night party.
After disembarking at Puerto Montt, we made the last minute decision to hire a car with an Australian couple we had met, and take a road trip to Chiloe, an island off the coast of Chile accessible by ferry.