Day 8 |
Mar 07, 2012

Castro, Chile

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 42°28´S, 73°45´W
Weather: sunny, partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 16°C

In calm sea conditions and in sunny weather the Silver Explorer entered the bay where the little town of Castro on Chiloe Island is located. After some rainy moments down in the Chilean Fjords today’s weather was a great pleasure to all of our guests. Before the vessel reached the anchorage position, we passed by a lot of mussel- and salmon farming, clearly visible by their red and orange buoys.

After lunch in The Restaurant both tours started on time. The first had this only six guests and Will our ornithologist. They went out to the Chiloe National Park to do some hiking in the Tepualia Forests.

The second tour was the Achoa Tour. This excursion went out to the northern part of Chiloe to visit some of the wooden churches that are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first stop planned was at the little fishing village of Dalcahue. A local market invited our guests to do some souvenir shopping; there was also enough time to wander around in this picturesque little village and visit the first of the wooden churches we are going to see on this tour.

Back in the bus, our driver showed all his driving skills when he maneuvered the vehicle onto the ferry, which brought us to the island of Quinchao. In a short drive through the scenic landscape of this part of Chiloe, the bus reached our second stop on the tour – Curaco de Velez. A nice little museum, which gives information about the history of Chiloe Island and the second wooden church are the attractions in this village. Beside that, Curaco de Velez is famous for its houses and their shingles. Fabricated from the very durable wood of Alecre trees, they are unique in their shape and color for every house.

From that stop an approximately 20 minutes drive brought us to the main town of Quinchao Island – Achao. In former times Achao was renowned for its fishing and whaling industry, but today not much is left of this activity. Achao is a small little town, nowadays trying to benefit from the tourism to visit the oldest standing wooden church in southern part of Chile. It was built in 1730 and contains beautiful baroque imagery.

After the visit to the church it was time for a break, and in a nice local restaurant typical Chilean empanadas and pisco sour were served to the sound of local music. The musicians invited our guests to dance and after two or three pisco sours they enjoyed very much this local entertainment.

From there a 40 minute bus drive, including again the ferry and the driver’s skills, brought us back into Castro, where the last planed stop took place. It was the main cathedral of Chiloe Island – a wonderful work of wooden architecture and engravings.

Back on board, guests spent another pleasant day on tour through the Chilean Fjords and of course a delightful dinner in The Restaurant.