Ancud - rain and a museum

Trip Start Dec 30, 2007
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Trip End Jun 22, 2008


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ancud
We planned on various things in Ancud but it didn't really work out for us.

I was interested in going to the museum and I had heard that blue whales also hang around this end of the island so I wanted to find out about that. So I spent a good portion of the first afternoon looking for the tour agency warmly recommended by the LP. It has moved and had nothing going on a walk up basis anyway. But my search did take me to fort Ancud, a headland with low stone walls and seven canons, where the Spanish were finally defeated in 1826.

A bit more research revealed  that the only other option was penguin watching, with any number of tours, if the weather was nice the next day. Apparently it wasn't nice enough today, even though I thought it was fine (light drizzle every now and then and a bit of wind but not that much). We had just come from Punto Tumbo, with an estimated population of  750,000 penguins so were not desperate to see penguins, but I was tempted by the mention of sea otters (which have various Spanish names including 'cats of the sea', which is funny because river otters are 'wolves of the river', but I guess it is because 'sea wolf' was already taken by the animal we call sea lions). But we decided against the tour in the end. It wouldn't have mattered - the weather the next day was atrocious and I am sure that none of the tours would have gone.   

That left us with just enough time for a trip to the museum where I hoped to get a better feel for Chilote culture. It didn't work, but it was worth the visit. The museum is housed in what seems to be an old fort and has a small collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts, some post-contact items like rusty sabers and wooden farm implements from the 20th century. The best exhibits are outside. They include four round rocks resembling canon balls naturally glued into a pyramid, a 25m blue whale skeleton, a scale replica of the tiny Goleta Ancud that took 20 odd crew to Magallanes, and statues of Chiloés mythical beings (photos on Nancy's log www.travelpod.com/membrs/nancydeb). I would have loved to see more detail about this. There is hag whose breath causes sciatica, a beauty who seduces lone travelers, a being with a small hatchet who seduces innocent virgins, a basilisk who drinks human blood and the milk of black cats, and a strange vaguely human creature whom the gods punished by attaching one leg to his spine (I don't know why).

We thought that we might have another day trip the next day, but it was pouring with rain and the timing would be difficult too, and  we decided to take an earlier bus to Valdivia instead.

So that was Chiloé.
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