Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.
Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Puerto Montt and boarding the Navimag
From Valdivia we got the bus to Puerto Montt. We didn't leave until midday as we had gathered that it wasn't the most interesting place to be. We were only going there so that we were quickly on hand for the ferry in the morning.
Aboard the Navimag in dock, Puerto Montt
Arriving in the town it felt a bit like being back in Bolivia. Many of the buildings we passed were little more than shacks of wood and corrugated iron. Ramshackle and down at heel are the words that come to mind in describing it. As we neared the docks area, comparing it to Bolivia seemed generous and the words grubby and decrepit were more appropriate. Many of the windows were broken and there seemed to be little care taken of the buildings, all of which made it a less inviting place to be.
Our hostel was really more of a house that lets out rooms, and gave no outward appearance of being a hostel at all. Inside it was actually OK, but it still wasn't the kind of place to stay long or to be able to meet other travellers. Uninspired, we really couldn't be bothered to look around the town for dinner, so just went to a chicken and chips place close by. When we ordered the chicken, they said they didn't have any, but she could do a burger egg and chips. We accepted this, and then watched in amusement as she went out to buy some burgers. It appears that despite showing a sizable menu, heavily focused on chicken, the only things they actually had on hand were eggs, chips and some rather limp lettuce. Weird. The food was OK, but I won't be including it on my recommendations page.
Chilean fjords from the Navimag
At beakfast it was quickly apparent that everyone else at the hostel was getting on the Navimag too. We arrived at the terminal halfway through the 9-11 check in time and dropped off our bags. We were told to be there for bus at twelve, others were told one o'clock, but in fact we were all hanging around until gone one, when they gave us a security and safety briefing. This had essential information like someone will check your tickets' and 'hold onto the handrails on the ship as the steps are steep and slippery.' We would never have worked that out for ourselves!
When we finally boarded at about two, we found our cabin. We were sharing with a young Romanian couple who seemed very nice. We had seriously wondered if fate might put us with our 'stalkers', who we knew were also on the boat, but not this time.
We found the bar, met up with our stalkers, settled in for the journey, and then just sat in the docks for a few more hours. We finally set sail at about six pm, when we all had to go for another briefing, which actually did tell us about life jackets etc, as well as the important information about meal times.
Chilean fjords from the Navimag
The scenery during the evening was pleasant, but not as good as we were anticipating for the next few days. What we hadn't reckoned on though was the entertainment. Tonight it was karaoke. This clearly was not a strong point for most of the passengers, and after some terrible renditions of karaoke classics like Total Eclipse of the Heart and Wonderwall, and some lively if strange Spanish songs that were about our start and end port towns, they thankfully reverted to just playing music.