Exploring the fjords of Chile

After our Patagonian sausages (see previous post) we continued our general northerly direction of travel heading to the region of Chiloe island, near Puerto Montt. More than 1,000 km up the coast, but unfortunately the weather still wasn’t much better than Patagonia… still, we managed to keep one step ahead of the storms that seemed to pursue us and had some enjoyable exploration of the Fjords of central Chile. Aboard the Cahuella (run by Austral Adventures) we set out for the scenic and cultural yet seemingly rarely visited fjords and islands near Puerto Montt. We visited a few of the famous wooden churches of Chiloe (there are about 15 UNESCO listed wooden churches there) and stopped off at the rural island of Mechuque before heading into the private Pumalin Park – a large area of very scenic fjords owned by the conservation minded owner of ‘The North Face’ brand. I was vaguely amused to see that almost everyone on the boat seemed to be decked out in North Face gear to some extent…not uncommon I suspect amongst people who get there (you need a good boat and a good captain). From there we passed through the Huinay area – becoming famous for the cool water corals and other new species discovered here recently. For the marine biology minded this is an interesting area due to the phenomenon of ‘deep water emergence’ whereby deepwater organisms are encountered in very shallow water in the fjords…

Not always ideal weather, but when you can find Jurassic Park-like hot springs to warm up in then that doesn’t matter quite so much…

Let’s see whether the cold, wet and windy weather follows us to the Amazon too..! (and thanks to the receptionist who let us use her computer for blogging purposes!!)

Looking along the fjordland coast


The view from the inner end of the fjord is often beautiful


The weather added a somewhat moody quality during our time there..


Sometimes the weather can´t decide what to do... it changed from torrential rain to strong sun four times in one walk on Mechuque!


The Pumalin Park (aka North Face land) abounds with impressive waterfalls... (as the logic fiends amongst you may thus work out, it also rains a lot... oh well, helps to sell the North Face coats I guess...!)


One special feature of the area is that some streams and stream pools are naturally hot..


Ready made Jurassic Park, just add dinosaurs.


Hot tub with a view.


It´s not just pisco sours in hot springs... there´s some nice local flora too! (Sorry, we haven´t got a species name for this orchid yet..)


Birdlife like this Banded Kingfisher added some interest also...

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