More Ferries in Chiloé

We loved waking up to a beautiful view over the harbor. The night before we had watched the ferries going back and forth, and enjoyed the same view over breakfast. Wolf gave some love to the local kitty before we headed out to try the ferry we had been studying from our campsite.

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As soon as we found our way to the harbor, it was as if the ferry had been waiting for us. With just one spot left for us, they waved us on, closed the gates behind us, and the boat took off.

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A quick ferry ride later we were on Isla Quinchao, off the west coast of Chiloé. It was more of the same lovely Chiloé vibe – beautiful sweeping island views and cute little towns we were happy to just explore. Of course the church at the first town was closed, but we were there long enough to notice that one of the streets was a nice reminder of home:

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The next church we came to see was open, and was actually quite impressive and beautiful inside, again entirely made of wood, and this time with a weathered, seaside feeling that fit perfectly.

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We lingered inside for a while, and then parked at the plaza for a few hours, making lunch and using the free wifi to research, trip plan, and tie up a few loose ends. While we hung out there, we noticed another vehicle that looked like it was on an adventure and Wolf chatted for a while with a Swiss couple who was following a similar route and who also planned to take the same ferry that night. We were happy to be able to compare notes with others, commiserate a bit about ferry schedules, weather, and general travelling confusion.

Our plan from there was to slowly make our way back to the mainland and start heading south towards Quellón, our departure port. We had no idea what the road would be like and given our experience with traffic delays the day before, we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time and get there insanely early. We weren’t about to wait another seven days for the once-weekly ferry…

As we drove back towards the ferry port we saw a few young dudes sitting on the side of the road, thumbs out. They looked like typical backpacker tourists and after a bit of back and forth between Wolf and I…. we stopped. I have never in my life picked up a hitchhiker, primarily because I generally assume they’re all axe-murderers. But in this case, I guess I figured that they’re obviously a couple of kids travelling through and I thought maybe it would be good karma, which we will likely need to cash in at some point on this trip. So we stopped, made some room, and they hopped in. They turned out to be a couple of tourists from Stuttgart, Germany, travelling around South America for six months. They were super nice and friendly and did not, in fact, resemble axe-murderers in any way. They rode with us back across the little island, on the ferry, and towards Castro  on the main island. On the way we stopped again to try the propane filling station for a second time. Our new German friend had better Spanish skills than either of us, so he helped with translating what we wanted to do and what the issue might be.

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Still no luck, we at least understood at this point that we needed some kind of adaptor, which, of course we didn’t bring with us. So we resolved to keep looking…

We dropped our two new friends off in Castro and made one last grocery store run. We had read that fruits and vegetables would be hard to come by  on the other end of our ferry that evening, so we stocked up. Or, stocked up as much as we could when one lives in a van :)

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Making our way south we were thankful there were no real surprises, other than a few more stretches of unpaved road, and a few stops waiting for construction crews, including one stop where the car in front of us unloaded to harvest plants on the side of the highway as a road-trip snack. Confusing – I’m still not sure what they grabbed.

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Once we reached Quellón, we found what looked like our ferry terminal, but ended up asking around only to find that our ferry terminal was clear on the other side of town. We were glad we had arrived super early since it took us an hour to find the right terminal, only to be told by the guard at the gate that we couldn’t come back until 11:30 that night.

The road out to the port was actually pretty interesting as it was lined with fish processing plants, salmon in particular. And we couldn’t park at the port because it was full of trucks with huge tanks for transporting salmon ready for export. Pretty interesting to see.

We killed a few hours making dinner, watching the sunset, talking about wedding stuff and watching huge semi-trucks performing impressive maneuvers as they loaded onto other ferries and boats.

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Eventually made our way back to the port to line up with the other cars. We saw the Swiss couple we had chatted with, as well as the two guys who had been at our campsite the night before… we certainly weren’t the only ones on this circuit. Wolf laid down to sleep for a few hours and I did a little writing and picture organizing while I watched the salmon trucks coming in and out, loading and unloading.

Eventually our ferry came in, unloaded cars and passengers, and we lined up and eventually backed ourselves into the ferry, sandwiched between semis and tractors. Upstairs, we each found an aisle of seats to stretch out on and crashed right away.

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The ferry left on schedule at 2:30am, way past our bedtimes. Another long, full day behind us.

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