Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fairy Ride

Between P. Montt and P. Natales, Chile

We just finished a 3 night boat journey through the fijords of southern Chile. The OC opted to pay the extra seventy US for places in a 4 person cabin. The next class down (the lowest) would have us in a dorm of some 32 folks. We figured the extra money was worth it for the little bit of privacy it affords. The two other beds in the cabin were filled by a young-ish Australian named Chris (never asked if that is short for Christen or Christine or something else) and a Frenchman called something that sounds like "Yuan". The latter was so scarce that I did not meet him in person until well into the 2nd day at sea.

The accommodation was of a very good standard. Unlike many beds in the recent past, this one was long enough for me to sleep in a state of complete erection. The boat must have been refitted recently. It certainly had that new boat smell. We had a bathroom just for the 4 of us with hot shower. Above the cabins was a galley that doubled as conference facility for the daily program of talks and presentations on wildlife and culture in both English and Spanish. The top ("pub") deck was a bit smaller leaving room for a large outdoor area with plenty of benches to the rear.

Meals were served in two shifts and where always abundant and usually tasty. Even vegetarians were catered to with some care. Nothing makes an alpaca-clad hippy happy quite like vegan eats served with style. Thankfully, that description did not extend to all of our fellow travelers. Many were young backpacker types, but there were some older couples and even the odd family. Most were European of some stripe and English was far more commonly spoken than Spanish. Memorable characters included Andrea the soon to be law student from NYC and the Storm Troopers of Love - a couple of Polish motorbikers in matching cycle armor.

Almost all of the journey is through an inland waterway. It was mostly cold and rainy with rocky hills or tree-covered slopes on each side. We passed through a rough bit of water for 10 hours when crossing a bay. I spent this time unconscious due to the effects of surprisingly strong anti-motion sickness medication. The disorder in my locker caused by the lurching of the ship was a testament to the size of the swells, though. There was also some physical evidence of puking here and there around the ship. The scenic highlight was a close approach to a particularly nice glacier. The blue color and melting ice flows were very striking on the clear cold day.

The long ferry ride was a welcome change from the long bus rides that have characterized most of our travels in South America. It was also a bit of a training session for the even longer (13 day) trip to and from Antarctica to come.


Blogger jason said...

> this one was long enough for me to
> sleep in a state of complete erection


This is what happens when you bunk with a chick and a frenchman?

I got nuthin'.

12/26/2005 9:31 PM gmt


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