The Navimag experience

Trip Start Dec 02, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2008

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Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Navimag sails for three days from Patagonia to the Chilean Lakes District, through brooding fjords and spectacular scenery. That's what we were told anyway, as for most of the time the weather was unbelievably uncooperative, bathing the area in cloud and drizzle.

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 views were pretty much in black and white for the whole journey (bar one sunset), and it was far too cold and wet to sit out on deck. As such, the only things to do were to read and socialise, and we met a great bunch of people, who really made the trip. The Navimag ended up a relaxing way to travel North, finish a couple of books, ad participate in four days of extreme partying, the likes of which we haven't seen since university and will probably need weeks to recover fully from!

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.
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