Back in Santiago, I'd planned to go straight to the bus station and get a ticket, drop my bag there and spend the day exploring. But I was far too exhausted from spending about three days straight of not sleeping on an actual bed. So I headed back to the hostel and hoped for a free bed to take a nap.
Several hours later, but still tired, I washed up and headed back into Santiago to find the bus terminal to make sure I had a seat on the bus to Puerto Montt, overnight, because I like to torture myself.
Bus ticket secured, I made my way to the market Antonio had recommended to pick up some souvenirs. Only thing, it was clear across town. Tried to hop on a bus, but that was too much trouble and time consuming to figure out, so I just kept walking. By the time I got to the market I was so tired and hot I wanted to sleep on a bench. But, I had, stupidly, wore my college t-shirt and looked so much like a tourist it was ridiculous. And since no clock I found had the correct time, I decided it was safer to get back and not miss the bus.
Worried that I'd miss my stop, as I've done in other countries, I kept asking if every stop was Puerto Montt. It wasn't. But I went all the way downstairs at one stop just to be sure. That's where Carlo and I first met. He assured me we were not in Puerto Montt yet. Phew.
Later, in Puerto Montt, Carlo and I established that we were both catching the Navimag ferry, so we set off to find the terminal together. We found Yoan, checked in, dropped luggage, wandered the streets to find breakfast that sadly included Nescafe...awful instant coffee.
Bags had been dropped, we had tickets and were still waiting to board. Everything in Chile is on "South American time." Except the buses. Most of them seem pretty punctual.
They load you up on buses and haul you over to the actual ferry loading area and finally, we were climbing a bunch of metal stairs onto the ferry. Finding our rooms was a challenge at first, but we figured it out, with a little help, and our bags were placed on our beds and we settled in. There were just three girls in our room, which was nice since there's not a lot of room to move around when everyone is in there at once, with bags and stuff. My roommates for the trip were Fleur, from Holland, and Joanna, from Poland but lives in Dublin.
Turns out, Joanna used to work at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, not far from where I grew up.
At this point, I was practically doing a jig on the deck I was so ready to get underway. Every time a little boat went near the ropes tying us to pylons we all hoped we would be off. And finally, we were!
The weather was pretty gloomy the first day and rainy and I was praying for the rain to hold off for the trip. By the we were moving, it was late afternoon. Then there was a safety briefing, that involved, "If you see someone fall overboard, notify the crew." Yes, sir. No one fell overboard on this trip, but it did almost happen when I sailed the Whitsundays in Australia a few years ago.
The first day was pretty, but not spectacular like the glaciers we were all waiting for. It looked a bit like New Zealand, or Ireland or parts of the U.S., or Wales or a lot of places depending on who you were talking to at that point.
It's summer in Chile and you're crazy close to Antarctica down there, so it stays light until 10-11 p.m. Of course it's also light by 6 a.m. or so. The first night, Joanna, Carlo, Joan and I played cards, lots of cards, over local Chilean beer. Then we shared wine and continued with cards. We played Uno for awhile then moved on to Asshole, a game I lost at a lot, but did manage to become the president once I think. I'm really no good at cards.
That night was the best night's sleep, finally in a real bed, with quiet and though I was on a boat, I didn't feel like I was moving for the first time in several days. It's the little things, really.
More amazing scenery all day and mid-afternoon we hit open ocean. I got to chatting with Tom, a Welsh guy, who was traveling for months before heading back to Wales for his sister's wedding. He'd been living in Australia for awhile and also worked in social media, so we chatted and were some of the only ones on the boat braving the cold and off and on rain to be outside almost the entire day taking it all in. Of course, it also helped me with the choppy water to be outside. I felt much less queasy outside. Then we watched as what looked like a wall of rain got closer and closer so we went inside to warm up and not get soaked. Walking on the boat was a challenge as it rocked all over, but I managed to not fall overboard and Tom opened the super heavy door for me, thankfully, as I was struggling not to trip myself. Of course, I did walk into the wall right about now, somehow Tom didn't notice, and I managed to get my balance.
Somehow, the conversation became centered on thinking of songs with a nautical theme. It went on for quite some time and was a pretty funny list. Tom introduced us to an odd song about a duck, we had some Men at Work in there, Come Sail Away and gosh, I can't remember what else. At one point, Tom offered up "Love Boat" and then started singing made up words to the tune of Love Shack. He was challenged to write a song and perform it at the party the next night, but we never did get our song. His brilliant lyrics were eaten by a "flying whale," a joke that managed to go on most of the next day.
I managed to not get seasick, though it was rough for me in the dining area. I kept calling it the kitchen, Tom and Steve kept correcting me with "galley." But that room was stuffy, it had windows but they were foggy and hard to see out of at that point and just being in there made me feel awful that night. Dinner was pasta with red sauce and though there was cheese and such at the front of the room, I didn't dare try to walk up there with a plate of red sauce while on the rocky open ocean. I got out of the kitchen as fast as I could and went back outside for some air and joined about half the ship in going to bed early to fall asleep before we hit what's known as the Gulf of Pain. I think I did and only woke up once when I might have almost rolled out of my bed. Not sure if that was the ocean or just that it's a super narrow bed and I'm a klutz. Could go either way.
Next day...glaciers! And dolphins! And wildlife! I missed the whale. It was there, I just couldn't see it. It was really far off and we could only see the waterspout, but it was choppy water, so all I saw was waves. Oh well.
I've climbed a glacier in New Zealand and seen them in Montana, but they're still pretty amazing in Chile. We sailed right into a cove, through small ice hunks and right up to a massive glacier. It was incredible. There's not much to say other than look at these photos!
There was a kid running around yelling to tell everyone we were there. After it took us forever to get off the ship. Tom and I decided that in the event of an actual emergency, we'd never make it off the ship in time.
It warmed up considerably that day and with our coats, life jackets and walking around in the sun, we were melting. There were also more stray dogs everywhere. And chickens. But, the views were incredible. Like this one.
Back on the ship, people broke out the wine and alcohol almost immediately. It was 5 p.m. after all. That's when I made friends with a couple from Oregon who work for the fire service. Traveling is awesome since you get to spend days on end with people from all over, but sometimes it is nice to chat with people from your own country, especially when you have some things in common. I also met Allison that night. She's in her 60s or so, traveling the world alone and I want to be her when I grow up.
That was the last night on the ship and so it was Bingo Night, followed by "Fiesta!"
We missed bingo since we were outside chatting over drinks and taking in the stunning sunset. Then the party started and it involved a disco ball. Oh my.
And then there was dancing. It's rare you can get me on the dance floor if it's not a family or close friend's wedding, but new friends, fun and some wine will do the trick it seems. We closed the party down with ridiculous dancing. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing on a dance floor, but Tom was trying to show me the salsa, I think, and Thomas, a German rocket scientist (really) spun me several times, crashing me into the souvenir case, but it was good times.
Steve snapped these photos. I'm sunburned as anything, with ocean hair, but oh my gosh, we had so much fun. Top photo, is Fleur, me and Tom. Bottom photo, Tom spinning me all over, very near the souvenir case Thomas had spun me into.