That island that gave me the creeps
Chiloé may be a beautiful little island or maybe not. I can picture Chiloé as this magnificent green idyllic place, with cute little Humboldt and Magellanic penguins playing together, delighting the tourists. This is how most likely things appear in summer.
But we did not go in summer hence, no penguins, no sun, no cuteness but a very gray but yet beautiful and mysterious island. If you go in autumn bring a rain jacket as Chiloé is one of the rainiest islands in the world.
We arrived in Chiloé it rained, during our stay it rained and when we left it rained! Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean I dislike the island, actually the opposite is the case, I’m pretty sure many tourists don’t get to see the island in that way. A place that looks like the perfect set for a horror movie. Grey sky, rain, fog, old wooden houses and empty streets with just some inhabitants looking out of the windows taking a skeptical glance at the new arrivals, probably thinking what they might want on their island in autumn, as the penguins have already left. Dogs are sitting in the front gardens protecting their houses and eyeing the visitors equally skeptical as their owners. Be careful they are watching you!!
Already when we approached the island by boat it reminded me of the movie the fog due the island being covered in a grey haze. But instead of dreaming of a Caribbean island and wanting to escape the horror movie lookalike scenery, it excited me to finally arrive on the island.
After the arrival in Ancud we were walking through the rain looking for accommodation and in my mind I imagined hearing the news coming from an old radio and the host announce that a massive storm is approaching the island. Due to the storm there wouldn’t be any boats able to leave for the next days and we were stuck on the island and suddenly strange things start happen. But that just occurred in my head. In fact nobody got killed apart from plenty of chocolate bars.
What actually happened was that we stayed most of the time in our room in the house of this lovely old woman consuming the above mentioned chocolate bars. The closest we ever came to a real homicide was when Jenny, the lovely old lady, gave us Alfajores (Argentinian chocolate) that were already expired for two months. But even though my travel partner in crime only figured it out after he had already eaten the Alfajor, he survived without any permanent damages. No, wait there was a second time death knocked at our front door. The time I ate a Paila Marina that looked like it consisted of intestines instead of seafood. I barely recognized any of the ingredients swimming in my seafood stew and expected to find a Human eye or finger anytime. First off all I was scared to I end up in a stew myself and secondly I was scared to end up with food poisoning. As I wrote this text you will already have noticed that this wasn’t my last supper but it could have been.
These are some of the ingredients and I am pretty sure you are not going to have seen all of them either:
- Chilean mussels
- Machas (from the Pharidae family of mussels)
- Tunica rocks
- Giant barnacles
Due to massive boredom we decided to head to Castro, the next big city on Chiloé in hope to find things to do and in hope that the rain would finally stop, at least for a bit. And sometimes miracles do happen. Suddenly whilst walking around castor the rain as a matter of fact, did stop and the sky cleared up and for a few minutes the true beauty of the island was revealed. But this lasted indeed just a few minutes and then it kept on raining again.
Parque nacional de Chiloé
But then one day the sun smiled down from the sky and we saw the chance to finally get to know the island a little better. It was quickly decided to go to “parque nacional de Chiloé ” a national park an hour and a half from Castro away. We never regretted the decision as the weather decided to remain perfect for the day and the park turned out to be simply stunning. There is a forest in the park that looks like enchanted and you expect to see dwarfs, hobbits and fairies behind every tree. Other parts like the swamps look equally magically. And last but not least there is the sea, the rough Pacific Ocean banging against massive cliffs, so raw and pure. In front of the sea are cows and horses browsing whilst the fields are dragging themselves to the shoreline. I had never seen a similar place like that. It was truly enchanting. And the best part of being able to see this during autumn there were barely any other tourists in sight.
Our last stop was Quellon were our ferry was supposed to leave for Chaiten in Patagonia. I say supposed because it didn’t, at least not as planned due to bad weather conditions and this is something that can apparently always happen. Hence we had to wait, in a city that is not really suitable to kill time
Quellon is a harbor how you picture it a long time ago. Small dirty pubs and brothels string together at the seafront. Filthy places were the sailors hangout after a long time out on the sea and drink till the morning hours. However the most beautiful Quellon had to offer was a perfect double rainbow. Maybe it was once again just the weather that made the city appear unwelcoming and duller than it actually was.
But however we were glad when our boat finally set the sails and left for Chaiten.