Trip Start Jan 19, 2008
2Trip End Jan 23, 2008
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From there we headed past Lago Llanquihue to Puerto Montt, passing the most amazing scenery and taking photos of volcanoes left right and centre. From Puerto Montt we went to Pargua where the road at the end of the mainland ends and we caught a ferry across to the island of Chiloe, headed along the coast road to Quemchi where we met Tomas and his family. Tomas is from the island of Caucahue and this is where we were headed. He organised for a small boat to pick us up, we left the cars and with our rucksacks crossed to the island
It was as if we had travelled back in time, at least 100 years. There are no phones, no electricity and most are quite self sufficient. They have maintained skills which we in the West have lost. We ate a feast, all provided by our hosts, with beverages provided by us. 13 of us sat at a table and there were more in the kitchen. Our campsite was the field at the back of the house. We laid out our sleeping bags and slept.
At 415am we woke as we were heading out to the festival at Caguache, along with hundreds of others, or so I thought. We walked along the beach, caught a small car ferry (4-6 cars worth) in the dark which took us back to the island of Chiloe to collect others. We were all foot passengers and had plenty of space unlike some of the other ferries we saw when we arrived. It was a 3 and a half hour crossing during which the sun came up, we warmed slightly, drank mate and sat on the hot spots on the floor. There were 9 of us - Tomas and his family and Alvar, Gerardo, David y yo. As we arrived at the island and the clouds grew we saw hundreds of small boats moored in front of the church
We returned to the farm to find half a lamb cooking on the asado and were treated to mussels in shells the size of my fist. Amazing, they were so tasty. The hosts were such fabulous hosts, enjoying the change of routine but proud and happy to share everything with us
Waking with the sun on my face in the tranquility of the island farm was a great start to my week. I couldn't help but spare a thought for those back in England who at that time must have all already been at work!!!
After breakfast Grandma brought out woollen socks that she had made and then lines of wool which she had made herself from their own sheep. She explained how she strung it out and then had to wash it. The feel of the unwashed wool was very different.
We hopped onto a small boat with one of Tomas's brothers who we were giving a lift to somwhere near Llanguepe. It had picked us up first, then Umberto and then we stopped to collect someone else. As we pulled away the rotor got caught up in the rope and the engine died. Alvar stripped to his boxers and in freezing sea water proceded to try to free the rotor. It took 20 minutes and a small kitchen knife to hack through and free it and by that time his temperature had dipped. He climbed out, declaring he was fine but a little cold and changed into dry clothes in the cabin. Not many of us would have withstood even 5 minutes in the freezing water. Someone had to do it he said!
With mate with us to warm him from the inside we drove North up the island to Chacao to catch the ferry back to the mainland
We finally arrived late at the place we were to find out information as the plan was to try to climb a volcano if the weather improved. While Alvar went to find info we made camp by the beach, making camp in this instance being lighting a fire and warming water for mate and preparing food. Alvar returned with info and a guide for tomorrow so we packed ruckscacks ready for the ascent. Once again we slept out under the stars and awoke early to meet Juan at 7am...