Wednesday, November 25, 2009
South America Day 7: The Splendors of Puerto Chacabuco
All this morning we'd been cruising farther inland along the waterway that leads up to Puerto Chacabuco. (The map shows Puerto Aisen, but that harbor is farther up the waterway and we were told it had silted up. Puerto Chacabuco is on the same inlet, and it's now the main shipping port from the Aisen district.)
The scenery became more interesting and dramatic, with islands cropping up out of the water,
and we're beginning to see snow on the higher peaks. The weather was downright chilly, but we got occasional flashes of sun, which "dressed up" the mountains for us:
Note the tiny little ships on the left: these are big mountains! Dad found the abandoned hulk below fascinating. It looks like it's been there for a very long time indeed. Wonder what its story is?
Also, I cannot begin to imagine how the people who live here:
manage - I come from Ohio where there is flat land to build and farm on! None of this farming-at-45-degrees business!
Right after lunch we packed up our essentials and boarded the lifeboat-tender. The ship loomed overhead
as we motored to the shore. We debarked
and admired the lavish waterfront district:
I think I'm glad we booked a tour. As we boarded the inevitable bus for "Puerto Chacabuco and Surroundings" , we met our guide Nikolas.
Tourism isn't big enough here for there to be full-time professional guides; Nikolas is a 21-year-old college student home for the summer. (After all, the college kids usually know English.) He informed us that he was single.
In 2-3 minutes we had driven out of the Puerto Chacabuco Metro Area (population 1400) and reached the countryside, which was gorgeous to look at but inhospitable for farming. Imagine trying to plow this:
I don't think so. Local agriculture mostly consists of running cattle and sheep on the flat bits in between the rocky outcrops.
Waaaant woooool! (This is the cry of the rare "Wool Zombie".)