Days 18 & 19 (12th & 13th Dec.)
After chatting the previous day with Ivan, we decided not head straight for the Carretera Austral. Rather, on his recommendation, we would make our way south-west to the island of Chiloe, a couple of hours’ ride from Puerto Montt.
We headed to Pargua, the small port where we could board the ferry which would take us to Chiloe. The crossing took around 45 minutes at a cost of around £10. During the crossing, there were dolphins nearby, and a flock of Pelicans flying overhead – a common sight for locals but exicting for us.
Our destination was the small sea-side village of Calen, a 50 mile ride to the eastern side of the island where we’d booked our accommodation for the next 2 days – staying with a Chilean couple, Andrea and Daniel, in their beach-side cabana. En-route, we stopped at a roadside café and ate an enormous chicken and rice lunch within a room full of very friendly construction workers who were repairing the road. As now usual, one introduced himself and had a bit of a practise of his English. The last 5km of the ride consisted of a steep, unmade road leading down to the sea; apart from the (flat) 200m bridleway leading to our house, this was the first time the bike & sidecar had been off the paved road. This was the perfect surface to test out the replaced sidecar bolt, which remained firm!
In the photo above, you can just about see where a salmon farm is located on the left side, and more so where mussels are harvested below the floats elsewhere. We have now booked our ferry crossing at the start of the Carretera Austral, from Hornopiren, for Friday morning, so will leave here tomorrow and head there via Puerto Montt.