Chiloe

Island of Chiloe – Chile

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After we gave back our truck we stayed in a hostel for a week. It was very nice with a great view on the harbor of Puerto Montt where huge cruise ships anchored and big birds flew by our window every day.

Christy was getting better every day, but the doctor we visited here said she should rest another week before we can get back on the bikes.

After a few days I got bored and I decided to take the bike for a little spin on the Island of Chiloe.

So I packed some things together and rode on south to the short ferry crossing that would take me to Chiloe.

It was great to be back on the bike again. After the short ferry crossing I took the road to Ancud and further to a penguin colony. The ride was fantastic. A curvy road, the sun shining, little traffic and finally the rocky coast of the island. The road ended in a beach from where little boats take the tourists very close to the penguins. I decided not to join them and instead enjoyed the fantastic beach that ended on both sides in huge rock formations.

In kept going south and rode great gravel roads through forests and farming areas. All very nice and enjoyable. When I finally ended up in the little town of Castro I had a day full of great riding and I enjoyed a beer with some life music that was played in front of the colorful church of the town.

The next day I headed southwest to Culcao and Quilan. The road got a bit sandy and I enjoyed playing with the bike in the sandy bits. It was never difficult there though. The road ends at a parking spot from where you could hike 45 minutes to an outlook. The guard at the parking told me I may go there by bike that I intended to do immediately. The track was wide in the beginning and easy, but soon it turned into a very steep narrow track with big steps. It was great fun to ride it, but it would be unnerving if I met hikers on this track. There was no way to bypass hikers. So after a while I turned around and rode the steep track down again.

The landscape was incredible. The steaming and roaring sea covered the coast in a mist of salty water. Steep cliffs and flat sand beaches formed the coast. Riding was a blast and so I returned back to the north with a big smile on my face.

Short stops at some of the beautiful wooden churches contributed to these great days I had on that island. It is really great motorbike country here.

Campsite at the beach

San Pedro to NP Pan de Azucar

The copper mine made a great impression on us and so we continued the road to Antofagasta. We crossed the Atacama desert, one of the driest deserts on earth. It wasn’t a very pleasant ride. The landscape became less attractive and everywhere there were little mining cabins and trucks.

Every second car was a red pick-up truck from the national mining company Codelco. A lot of watertrucks passed us on their way to the big mining sites near Calama.

We stayed in a good hotel in Antofagasta and even the car-park there told you that all there is going on in this region is about mining. Beside our motorbikes there were only pick-ups from mining companies.

We continued our way south and the PanAm gets really boring as it gets more inland. Not that the landscape is ugly, but it gets quite repetitive. The only interruption was a sculpture that an artist put up in the desert. The hand of the desert is right next to the PanAm and so we took a short break there in the shadowless boiling heat of the desert.

After 300km of heat and desert the landscape becomes more hilly and nicer. We finally turned off the PanAm to get to the coast to a nice little national park. The NP Pan de Azucar offers a lot of plants (mainly little cactus) that only life in this little area. It is a wonderful landscape as well. The area doesnt get any rain at all. But it gets humid with clouds and fog that rolls in from the coast. We had blue sky and sun all day long, but as we approach the national park the sky gets cloudy. We arrived at the coast on a campsite.

It is a quite little bay with a perfect sand beach, rocks on both ends of the 1km beach.

There are little shelters for cooking set up. All very nicely. We are the only guests. The owners live in a couple of little huts where fishermen have their boats. So we make our dinner and enjoying the beach and the stars all by ourselves. It is beautiful.

 

After dark we played around with the camera and Christy wrote my name with her flashlight really nicely. She had to write in reverse and it turned out she is a natural talent to as it is not as easy.

Chisties first attempt. Pretty neat.

Chisties first attempt. Pretty neat.

My attempts were less flattering. These are my best tries (out of many, many, many).

That went well... oh there is a letter missing...

That went well… oh there is a letter missing…

.... and another one missing

…. and another one missing, and why can’t I get the Y right?

....almost...

….almost…

After many other triesI finally gave up and just gave her a kiss instead.

"Damn" I gave up

“Damn” I gave up

A little paradise

Christy was not feeling well, so we took our time in the morning. We met Daniel an American lawyer who got into mining and owns a mine just inland of Trujillo. He invited us to stay with him if we would make it to his place. He goes to the Ecuadorian border 3 times a year to leave the country for a few minutes to renew his visa. He lives in Peru since almost 2 years like this and even though he is Mexican by birth and therefore has no language barrier at all, he told us he would have problems to get used to the country. As a business man it seems to be very difficult to get used to the Peruvian attitude to work and progress which is very different to what we are used in Europe or the US.

At 3pm we decided to keep going and to make it to either a campsite which has been recommended by a Frenchman we met in Baños or to Mancora a beach city further down the road.

The road was more or less all along the ocean side and really fantastic. The deep blue sea on our right and dry desert to our left.

We arrived at Zorritos after one hour of riding and found the campsite at the coordinates we got from the French guy (S3.72356, W80.75981).

We were welcome by Melba and her husband Jacques a Swiss from the French part of Switzerland. Their two dogs werebarking at us but they calmed down immediately and it turned out the dogs were very friendly once they get to know you.

One of the dogs is a Viringo, a Peruvian race which has no hairs and develops a higher body temperature. He looks pretty scary first and it is quite strange to touch him with his elephant like skin. He is really young and likes to play a lot and we had great fun with him. He is also making the place pretty safe, scaring everybody else away, even though that was not really necessary, since the area is very tranquilo.

A French couple on a 1 1/2 year trip through South America with their Toyota stayed on the campsite as well.

The campsite is really small and still under construction. But the facilities are very clean and good. The campsite is bordered by the seaside with a perfect sand beach. So we put up our tent just a few meters away from the beach and heard the waves all night long. Melba made dinner for us and it was delicious. We had a great evening speaking a wild mixture of French, Spanish and English. We watched sunset and were standing in the waves at night. The wind was cool, but with the feet in the warm sea we enjoyed the view of the moon reflecting in the Pacific Ocean.

The place was so peaceful, relaxing and beautiful, we decided to stay two nights.