Chiloe Island and Penguins
Today was my re-scheduled trip to Chiloe Island. The tour bus had forgotten to pick me up yesterday, so today I was on a shorter version of the tour.
The day was overcast, not brilliant sunshine like yesterday, that was a shame, still, it didn't dampen my spirits.
To reach the island was a bus trip of around 2hours 15minutes from Puerto Montt to Ancud, the second largest town on the island.
Chiloe Island Ferry
We arrive at the ferry which will take us across the Cachao channel to Chiloe Island and are able to drive straight on - that is what I call good timing! Once onboard, we all have to get out the bus, so we all head to the top story of the ferry to enjoy the 30 minute crossing. It was quite cold on this deck, I was glad I had a beanie and thick coat that kept me warm.
As we pulled away from the mainland, a cheeky seal surfaced near the ferry. Excitement rose amongst the passengers, binoculars appeared and eyes were on the water on the look-out for more. We were not disappointed, as near where we berthed on Chiloe Island were quite a few relaxing on a buoy. Happy with our sightings, it was back to the bus ready to begin our tour of Chiloe Island.
As we pulled away from the ferry, our Tour Guide pointed out a large group of Black headed Swans feeding in the shallows. The are the largest waterfowl that is native to South America.
Black Necked Swans
After a short drive, our tour along with several other tour companies made their first stop at the small village of Chacao. As it was founded in 1567, it is a very old town with some quaint shingled cottages painted in bright colours.
There isn't a lot to see here, probably the Church of San Antonio de Chacao, the Plaza de Chacao, where two cannons from the Battery of Remolinos are displayed, and the market stalls where locals sell there wares are the main attractions.
Our guide told us Chiloe Island is full of legends and myths, and that the funny looking man you could have your photo taken with, was dressed as one of them.
Dressed as a legend
By the time we reached St. Antonio Colonial Fort, rain had set in and it was pretty miserable weather. The fort system of Ancud along with other nearby forts, were one of the four fort systems that existed in colonial Chiloe. Ancud is made up of two forts and four batteries. Mainly canons and walls is what you see here, and far reaching views on a fine day.
St. Antonio colonial fort
Our final stop before a late lunch (2pm - Normal for the Spanish) was a visit to the penguin colony in Puñihuil. We arrived in a nice sandy cove where lots of buses and people were, all here for the same reason and that was to see the small colony of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins that breed together on the small islands here. First we had to pay a fee, then we were suited up in life jackets ready for our boat trip.
They have a novel way of loading people into their boats here. We were ushered into a trolley where we stood and some men pulled the trolley into the ocean and beside the boat, by doing this, all the tourists had dry feet.
There were quite a few small islands where the Penguins live and other birds as well, trouble was, the guide on this tour did not translate to English so I have no idea what I saw. As the day was dull, my photos didn't turn out like the ones on a sunny day you see advertising the tour.
Well, I still saw plenty and everybody got a good look and plenty of time for photos.
Back on the beach a head count took place, then we were on the bus heading to our Restaurant for lunch.
The rain had stopped by now, so I had good views of the rolling hills where farmers grazed sheep and cattle, it really was very pretty countryside.
Lunch was at a Restaurant on a back road and was excellent! The Chileans sure eat big meals - I was struggling to get through my delicious Salmon, which came with fresh chips, a heap of onion, 2 eggs and salad.
Salmon for lunch
With full stomachs and the sea air in our lungs, many went to sleep on the way back to Ancud, where we stopped for a break before making the journey back to Puerto Montt.
OK, it wasn't sunny, but it still was an interesting trip to do, and it was great seeing the Penguins in the wild!