We are sailing

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, November 2, 2006

Monday - We duly set off in Chilean time about 1 hour late. We wait outside to watch it and things keep arriving in taxis, vans to get on board. We leave slowly and spend a while going around in circles, we reckon the captain was trying to see if the steering wheel worked (I am sure its not called that on a boat). 2 hours later there is an announcement that the we are going back to Puerto Montt and will be updated later. Are not told why which is disconcerting.

Notice an hour or so later we are now going south again and not north and are told an hour or so later that we are infact now going straight to Puerto Natales. Very confusing!

Big queues at dinner for nice lasagne. As with most of S America it feels like the staff were surprised there were so many people on board so change the buffet queueing procedure as a result. Planning and organisation are not a strong point here but it all works out fine in the end!

Weather changeable and view of coastline can be seen from inside so stay up a bit before we go to bed taking it in turns to get ready in our cabin! Have little curtains around each bed which is quite sweet too. Don´t stay up to watch the Chilean film on show but sounds like there is lots of entertainment for us in case we get bored or rained out on deck.

Tuesday (Halloween!) I am constantly very tired and my blisters have turned to gross things on my lips - I truly look ready for Halloween! We meet a German couple on deck, one of whom is a pharmacist and he suggests I may have Herpes. I am quietly disgusted that he suggests such a thing (my ignorance!) but after our information meeting to explain today´s route we go to see the Doctor on board. He says it is Herpes after getting sunburn and being run down it happens. I am shocked but now realise that there is no stigma to this at all its just one of those things that happen. Hence I am telling the world about it in my effort to stop such prejudices! It explains why all the creams I have been using don´t work and I feel so exhausted all the time. I am at least relieved to know why I feel so awful and that there is a way to get better. I am booked in for an antibiotic injection tonight and given a prescription for anti-virals for when I get on land. The nurse cleans my wounds which is possibly the most painful experience I have ever had in my life and I spend the afternoon feeling sorry for myself in the cabin. At least I have lots of English newspapers to read which is great.

Tony and Dave spend the afternoon entertaining themselves on deck, playing chess and reading. Weather still mixed and coastline is still pretty close with islands around us but is very barren. Later on watch the new version of The Pink Panther - why anyone would want to recreate this is beyond me, Peter Sellers is the one and only Clouseau.

In the evening I have my antibiotic injection which will last for 30 days (didnt know that was possible) was pretty painful. I was also nervous that it would be go in the right place as by this time the boat was starting to approach open sea and it was quite rocky rolly!

Getting closer to land we can see snowcapped mountains as we lurch back and forth. Were definitely a lot fewer people at dinner tonight than normal!

Weds - Dont think any of us slept brilliantly as the boat rocked all night and in every direction. Plus there were annoying hangers swinging back and forth in the wardrobes crashing around which Tony silenced in the middle of the night! At about 5am we stopped rocking and slept soundly. I had a lie in while Tony and Dave were more energetic having breakfast and taking part in the lectures/documentaries on the landscape, wildlife, etc.

We all get on deck as we approach the first civilisation for miles, Puerto Eden, a small fishing village with lovely multicoloured houses/shacks along the coast. We dock mid ´harbour´ as some people are joining us on board apparently. Watch it all on the bridge with all the sophisticated equipment showing depth, GPS, wave movement, etc. Is pretty interesting stuff. After that excitement I slept more and the boys watched the Motorcycle diaries. I woke up and discovered that outside it was sunny and warm with lovely views going through narrow channels and see the mountains and snow more clearly. I interrupted their viewing and we all sat for a while on deck with some wine and enjoyed it. Our first proper sun and views for a couple of days! Is quite windy and cold at times so we escape in doors for fish for dinner and marvel at the amazing sunset in the distance. It really looks like the mountains are on fire.

After dinner we pack and get ready for an early night as we there are sposed to be good views in the morning as we near Puerto Natales. There is a party upstairs for the last night and Halloween which I don´t feel up for but seemingly a lot of people do as its noisy throughout the night.

Thursday (my birthday!) - get up about 6ish and Tony sees as we go through the narrowest channel about 80 metres. Are a lot closer to land now and the weather is quite nice as we admire the views and go to the bridge for the last time. Before breakfast I open lots of cards that Tony has kindly brought over for me (Dave organised for people to send them to him before he left). Have got loads and letters and photos and money too. Am quite emotional about it all especially when I open the card that Freddie, my nephew, has ´drawn´. Is really lovely to hear from everyone and realise that people do remember us!

After breakfast we get ready to disembark and trundle off into this multi coloured, higgledy piggledy town. Have enjoyed our voyage although the weather could have been better which would have meant we could have seen glaciers etc. Was still good and I am grateful to have been able to sleep for a lot!

Head into town to find a hostel. Tony and Dave kindly traipse around town booking buses, hostels for our next few days, etc while I sit in a cafe as still dont feel great. We leave our big rucksacks in our hostel here booked for a few days time, Casa Cecilia which seems nice. Then go for a great pizza at Mesita Grande. Is very European inside and the pizzas are prob the best we have had all year (praise indeed!). Is nice to celebrate my birthday with my favourite! And some of my favourite people too!

Is funny walking around town as keep bumping into all the people off the boat who have descended on this odd windswept place.

At 2.30 get ready to move on to our next destination!
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