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between land and sea
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A part of the carretera austral having been destroyed by a landslide, and seemingly not going to be repaired soon, we drive to the west coast to reach our next stop : Chaiten.

puerto RM balmaceda puerto RM balmaceda

For that, we go to Puerto Raul Marin Balmaceda, using 2 ferries. One to pass a construction area (another landslide), and the second because the city is actually set on an island at the edge of a marine reserve. it’s a very small island, with a single fishermen village, sandy roads, and lush vegetation of arrayanes, and big ferns.

road to RM balmaceda road to RM balmaceda forest trail forest trail

Taking advantage of a great weather, we explore the fjord with our kayak (for its second outing) but it’s too cold to swim : actually, we see few penguins floating around...

kayak kayak kayak 4x4 kayak 4x4

balmaceda fjord balmaceda fjord

We spend the evening on the beach, eating local cheese, home made bread and Chilean wine, only disturbed by big hairy flies. It’s the time we use the mosquito net Fanny brought us and ‘host’ our Swiss friends. During our stay there, we noticed that people like to come to the beach 10 minutes at dusk, and stuck their cars in the sand during the rising tide (which could explain the big mechanical shovel on the beach at night)...

sand digging sand digging beach camp beach camp

We leave Raul Marin Balmaceda with an old rusty ferry looking like a Russian ghost ship, in a very thick fog, preventing us to see any dolphin or whale.

rusted ferry rusted ferry

Once in Chaiten, weather is good again. We walked to the top of the nearby volcano, which erupted by surprise in 2008 after 9000 years of inactivity. The climb is a bit tiring, 650m ascent in 1 hour in a forest petrified by the heat of the eruption, at the sun, and still bothered by these big flies, but the crater is gorgeous! A lunar landscape, steam fumaroles and 2 colored lakes reward us.

chaiten 1 chaiten 1 chaiten 2 chaiten 2

chaiten 3 chaiten 3 chaiten 4 chaiten 4

We then decide to have some rest in Amarillo thermal baths and its two hot swimming pools.

termas de amarillo termas de amarillo

To finish the visit of the city, we go and have a look at Michinmahuida valley and its glacier, maybe the last we’ll see for a while, and go camp on Santa Clara beach. Again a colorful sunset and a couple of sea lions swimming in front of us, and we board on the ferry to Chiloe.

Michinmahuida Michinmahuida Santa Clara beach Santa Clara beach


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