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Puerto Montt

Passing through the Chilean Fjords

Winds on our depature from Ushuaia, were around 60 mph, so not suprisingly, as the ship cruised around the treacherous bottom of South America, known as Cape Horn the followng morning, the winds were still 60- 65 with gusts to 100 mph.  This area has recorded more shipwrecks per square mile than any other body of water in the world.  The captain blew the horn as the ship moved from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and read a poem honoring the men lost at sea.  Our ship was rocking, and didn't calm down until the following day, as we cruised into the protection of the Canal Sarmiento.  Protection continued the next day as we moved through the mesmerizing Chilean Fjords.

Charles Darwin traveled on much the same route, on the HMS Beagle, in 1843.  Bound for the Galapogas, where his observations and deductions rocked the scientific world with, "On the Origin of the Species". 

This fishing port was first settled by German immigrants starting in the mid-19th century.  Since the 1980's salmon aquaculture has become a major employer, with fishing beds set up in the Pacific and within the Chilean Fjords, the fish is shipped all over the world.  The negative environmental impact of the salmon industry is just starting to be addressed by the Chilean government.  Agriculture, forestry and tourism are also major contrubutors to the stability of the region.  

Even though we were visiting during their dry season, this area experiences heavy rains through much of the year, and it rained for our entire visit.  Puerto Montt is the hub of the Lakes District for Chili, but it is not a scenic city, and we moved quickly out to the countryside.  Heading into Puerta Varas, we were unable to see the two volcanos the area is known for, Osorno and Calbuco, due to heavy cloud cover. Moving further into the countryside, we stopped for a salmon lunch with a pisco sour at a farmhouse which also had llama, emu and deer on the property.  Boarding a ferry at Lake Llanquilhue, we took a short scenic, albeit cloudy and rainy ride, with the Osorno Volcano peeking out briefly, and then we continued by land to the Petrohue Falls.

We boarded the ship in Puerto Montt, and now we'll have another day at sea, and then into Valparaiso where we will disembark to continue our travels.
 
Along Glacier Alley
Petrohue Falls
Along Glacier Alley
Osorno from the ferry 
Entering the protection of the Canal Sarmeinto
White-tipped rock marks the transition between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
Ferry landing
Along Glacier Alley
Llamas at our lunch stop
Osorno peeking out from the clouds




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