four days back to Puerto Natales

Nothing is less fun than backtracking, specially if it’s a big distance. There’s no alternative route back to Natales where we have a date with a boat.

On day 2 of the return, we hid behind this building from the wind on the way back to Porvenir
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Hours later we were back on the coast of the Magellan Straight. Lucinda posed for a shot
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Wrecked fish boats every few miles
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With some time to kill before Porvenir and the wind down we rode down a track to the fishing village. A collection of shacks really
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There were 10 or so homes. A man appears from one. We look at his net
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And his boat
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He’s finished fishing for the day. He can’t believe I’m from Canada and have ridden my bike down. So he insisted he makes me te (tea) in his home. He tells me about the fish (no less than ever) the birds (he loves them) and the sea (he loves it). He’s been here all his life
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It was a shame to leave such a gentle soul without hearing more stories. We had one thing in common – something neither of us had
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Lucinda likes riding these tracks through the turf and we took a long detour back
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The next morning we got the same pretty ferry out of Porvenir. No wind. Sun. Warmish for the first time in days
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We roll on and this guy insists on doing the tie-down. He makes a mess of it but is very funny as we go very slightly off-topic
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He ends up untying everything, chocking her up and throwing a single line over. I don’t really care as the water is as smooth as glass. Lucinda’s cool with it either way I can tell
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Bye Porviner
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Then it’s a windless and fast ride back to Punta Arenas. Claudia’s flying in tomorrow and I have to meet her at the micro-airport. It’s taken her 24 hours and three connections to get here from Guatemala.

The next morning we walk the waterfront to see the birds. There are three species of cormorants, two albatross and numerous gulls
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We’re not the only ones out birdwatching
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It seems to me that birds can show brilliant colors like no other life. So maybe someone could explain why marine bird life, shorebirds, cormorants, penguins, gulls, you name it are nearly all black and white
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The industrial buildings on the waterfront are painted with murals. They’re not for the benefit of tourists. They have a strange quality about them
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and
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Punta Arenas is a great place. My favorite Chilean town except Valpo. But this blog is a road report only, so limited in what I get up to or photograph, so just get down here and see for yourself.

Then there’s a logistical thing. Lucinda hasn’t the room to carry a passenger with the duffel so we put Claudia on a bus and follow/lead it to Puerto Natales. I’ve explained this to her in advance.

Along the way we finally get close to the Rheas we’ve seen off and on. These are maybe 40 or 50 pounds of huge flightlessness, maybe 3 feet tall at the shoulder, 5 feet tall when looking around.
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Meanwhile the ride has been mostly like this and freezing
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When we get to Natales I can’t believe it. What was a maelstrom a couple of weeks ago is a millpond
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Por ejemplo, here it is today

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And was two weeks or so ago
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Clearly no predators around
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This being Chile, the boats are sophisticated
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But on the dock is a rope drying. Depth knots in meters? Not fathoms, too close. Why anyone is doing this is another mysteryP1030155

The water’s clear cold and beautiful
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The passport epic worked out. Everything always works out. As the space for stamps got more desperate, the officials looked more carefully at my problem. And they all cooperated. The bad start was because I flirted with the Chilean lady officer thinking that was a slam-dunk winning strategy and she wanted to correct me on that.

So, they had no problem with overlaps. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to all of them
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Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Hugh Thomas,

    A sweet ending to the trip. The fisherman was hospitable, the weather warmed up, the wind subsided and Claudia made it in ok. Things are looking good old boy. Mucho respect to you. Glad you and Lucinda made it.
    Looking forward to more. Safe travels, H.

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