Castro to Quellon to Chaiten

Wednesday 25th November 2015

With Fredrik, we had decided the night before to not do much that day and sticked to that plan. It was great to spend a day chilling out. We woke up around 9am and had breakfast with Niels and Aleyna. I still had a really bad cold and Lluis the owner of our hostel gave me eucalyptus leaves to breathe. So I boiled water and then added half a dozen long leaves of eucalyptus in it, stirred, sat at the breakfast table and put my head above it with a kitchen towel above my head and spent 25 minutes breathing this and sweating while Fredrik, Niels and Aleyna kept chatting.
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We packed our bags and checked out and then spent time on our respective netbooks.
We had lots of left-over food so we invited Niels and Aleyna to join us for lunch. Then I tried to post blog articles again but I got very frustrated again with WordPress that day.
I could only get through writing half of an article. So annoying!! Outside of the window, it was raining most of the day, so we didn`t want to be outside anyway.

We left the hostel around 5.30pm and walked to the main bus station. We enquired about the bus leaving Castro at 6pm for Queyllon. They told us that this bus was fully booked and there were 4 seats left only for the 7pm bus but that sometimes there were buses going
from the local bus station. We walked to the local bus station and got tickets for the 6pm minibus also going to Quellon and that one was almost empty! Funny!

Here is a view from the bus.
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We arrived in Quellon.
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We walked to Navier Austral.
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There we bought at the counter a ticket for the 3am boat going to Chaiten.
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Here was the waiting room where we would spend some time in the middle of the night waiting to board the boat.
DSCF0136 (Medium).JPGNavier Austral boat.
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View to the left.
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It was 8pm so we decided to see if we could find a hotel where we could sleep a few hours for cheap. We found this one where it was about 5 dollars per person for our half-night.
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We had this dorm for ourselves. It was basic but good enough to get 3 hours sleep.
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Before to go to bed, we had a soup at the Hotel El Chico Leo restaurant. There we met a French couple travelling with their kids about 13, 11 and 8 years old. They were travelling for 10 months! Inspiring! Here is their blog:
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After the soup we went to bed around 10pm and slept until 1.30am. Then we went to wait in the waiting room of Navier Austral. The boat was delayed so we waited longer than planned. We were finally given the green light to walk to the boat to board it.

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Even if the time on which the boat was leaving was insane, it was very exciting to board it. We felt like a true sense of adventure, even if the boat would land in Chaiten a few hours later only. I could imagine how awesome it could be to board the 4-day boat going from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales!!
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We gave our big backpacks to these guys who put them away.
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Cars and trucks had already boarded. It was far from being packed!
SoSomDSCF0152 (Medium).JPGSome of the crew. Above them are the orange stairs going to the passengers’seating area.
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The moon.
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The seating area, far from being crowded either!
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A map showing where Castro, Quellon, Chaiten, Parque Pumalin and Futaleufu are.
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The boat took off. Here we were on the 3am night boat between Quellon and Chaiten, due to arrive there around 9am.  We slept a little bit. As the boat was roughly 20% full only, each person could lie down fully on a row of three to four seats to sleep. The boat didn`t move much. It was a huge ship, pretty solid.

Thursday 26th November 2015

I woke up around 5.40am and looked outside of the window. The first light was out.
DSCF0175 (Medium)When I saw this boat in the distance, I couldn’t help thinking of the last Alakalufs that the writer Jean Raspail had seen further South on his first trip to Patagonia in 1951 and which is a tribe now extinct, killed by the White settlers and their diseases.
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The sunrise was not really colourful but some rays were going through the clouds in the distance and created a magical atmosphere.
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Looking up to the top of the boat.
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Big ropes.
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Approaching Chaiten.
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The boat arrived in Chaiten. It was very exciting!
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The crew was spreading some sand to help cars avoid to slip on the wet floor once out.
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Busy time!
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The cars got out first.
DSCF0244 (Medium).JPGOnce all cars had disembarked, we went down, grabbed our big bags and headed out. Here is the boat seen from the land.
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We walked to a bus which was a free shuttle which took us to the small bus terminal of Chaiten.
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Old boat.
DSCF0252 (Medium).JPGThe Chaitur agency was conveniently located right next to where the bus stopped.
DSCF0259 (Medium).JPGWe met Nicolas La Penna the owner of the agency and a him about hikes and local transports and hostels. Fredrik didn`t have a tent and we asked if there was a place where he could rent one, but Nicolas told us there was none in Chaiten. We decided to head to the hostel called Rita Hospedaje he had told us about and decide later what we would do. Heading towards the hostel. The Chaiten volcano erupted on May 2, 2008 which totally destroyed the village. People had to evacuate and were not allowed to come back for a few years. It is a place which is starting again tourism but we could feel that it was pretty empty.
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We arrived at the Hospedaje Rita.
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The woman who welcomed us showed us the rooms and left as she was working in another job too. We dropped our bags and went on errands to buy some food. Walking again in the streets of Chaiten.
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We passed the Culture Museum Francisco Coloane. I was curious to check it out.
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It had been transformed in an eye-check place.
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We bought some food at the supermarket.
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This little doggie was our friend following us all around during our errands, very cute.
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We stopped at another supermarket.
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You can find everything you need for hiking or just cooking in Chaiten!
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Then we stopped at the fruit and veggie store owned by one guy who was having different opening hours every day.
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He was selling really yummy strawberries!
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We checked the view at the pier.
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Then we walked back to the hostel. Here was a tsunami sign we saw on our walk back.
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We saw a volcano eruption evacuation sign too.
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Once back at the hostel, we started cooking some breakfast and made some crepes. We met a friendly Chilean couple who was staying there too, Daniel and Fabiola who were living in Frutilla and working in Temuco, near Pucon. They had taken a week holiday to go around on a road-trip and had driven to Puerto Varas, San Martin de Los Andes, Bariloche, El Bolson, Esquel, Futaleufu and were now in Chaiten and then heading back through Honopiren and Puerto Montt. We had breakfast with them and they offered us to come with them to Pumalin National Park and the Amarillo thermes in the afternoon. How awesome from them!

This afternoon, off to Pumalin National Park!