Feb. 14, 2006 - Valdivia

Trip Start Feb 03, 2006
Trip End Feb 24, 2006

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 (Valdivia) - St-Valentine's Day:

Another clear blue sky welcomed us upon awakening and after a quick breakfast, Caroline & I headed out toward the riverside where we were to embark for our tour ($25 each). We were more than an hour early, so we visited the nearby fish market Feria Fluvial. Dozens of vendors were hawking their produce in near-shouting voices! An incredible variety of fish and sea foods were offered at surprisingly low prices. Along the riverbank were several sea lions, some of whom jumped onto the quay, mouths open, waiting successfully for the vendors to feed them.

Our boat departed at 1:30pm and lunch was being served immediately. We were seated with a Chilean couple - very nice people who didn't speak a word of English! We sailed past Isla Teja (Brick Island) where several brick factories were located in the 17th century, and which today houses the Campus Universidad Austral and its Botanical Garden where are found over 1,000 species of both native and imported plants.

We sailed past Isla Mota, where Jesuits of the 18th century resided, past Isla del Rey, home to the German colonist Wilhelm Frick who moved here in 1842, and the Canelo, a large ship which was sunk by the massive earthquake of May 22, 1960 - the ship remains there as a vivid reminder of that dark day.

Navigating to the Tornagaleones River we made our first stop at Isla Mancera, measuring only 1500m long by 500m wide, where the Spanish fortress "San Pedro de Alcántara" was built in 1645. Within the fortress were the governor's house, a Franciscan church, and a cellar used to store gun powder, all protected by 15 canons (only one remains today).

We sailed on to Corval where another Spanish fortress "San Sebastien de la Cruz" is located high up on the hill, with an excellent view of the bay far below. The fortress was built in 3 stages, beginning in 1645 and ending in 1767. It was protected by 21 canons.

While we were there a re-creation of a Spanish-Chilean battle was played out, with the Chileans winning!! It was good fun!

Lastly, we visited Parque Natural Isla Huapi, an 8-hectares area known as one of the most beautiful reserves of the Valdivian forests. I shot a decent photo of Chile's national flower. We were served a nice lunch of bread, cheese, cake, cookies and coffee before the return journey.

All-in-all it was on OK tour, though 7 hours was a little long. Most amazing was the sudden drop in temperature, from 28 to 12 degrees within an hour! Dressed only in T-shirt, shorts and sandals, I almost froze to death! So come prepared!
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