The ferry taking us to Puerto Montt is a monstrous beast that can swallow whole semi-trucks through its gaping maw. They sit there, down in the hold, along with big containers, passenger cars, machinery, goods of all kinds, and (strapped to the wall on one side) our precious bicycles.
This ferry is a very spartan one for passengers. It is utilitarian. The cabins are small. Cramped small. Clammy. Claustropobic small. Food is poor. Light is poor. I have one roommate in a cabin with two bunkbeds. I can’t imagine how it would have worked if the other two bunks were occupied. Only one person at a time can fit in the aisle between beds. There is a tiny bathroom in one corner. We paid extra for this convenience. There are only 76 passengers onboard a vessel that holds 320. Also 44 crew members.
My roommate is a retired bank manager from Germany. He has that kind of physique that could be referred to as hulking. Maybe lumbering would more kind. About 6’3″ or so. A little too top-heavy. Like his body can only bend one part at a time. Getting into the lower bunk requires great patience as well as a plethora of grunts and groans. The betting odds partway through the process are less than 50-50. Sometimes he hits his head on the upper. He also mumbles to himself on a regular basis.
Getting into the upper bunk? I wouldn’t want to be there for that one.
He is here in Chile and Argentina to photograph steam locomotives. He’s traveled all over the world doing just that. He showed me a slide show of a book he has published of steam powered trains in Turkey. It is beautifully done. I have no great interest in the topic. One can always appreciate anything that is really well done.
It would have helped if the weather had not been so damp, foggy and oppressive. It is typical of what this coastal climate gives you. We did have one glorious afternoon with some sunshine, lower breezes and temps that allowed one layer to be shed. The seas calmed. We tromped out on the upper deck. We saw porpoises, whales, and various seabirds that I hesitate to mis-identify. Fresh air is so good for the soul. My cabin is not.
Since the open ocean portion of our voyage was relatively smooth sailing, our captain took advantage and spent more time there. It meant we would make better time and arrive early. It also meant we would miss seeing some of the highlights of the trip located along the inland passages. We missed seeing a ship that grounded on top of an earlier shipwreck in one of the main channels. Also an indigenous village of 120 residents that can only be reached by boat. Spending more time in the small channels also would have afforded us much closer views of the mountains, islands and fiords. Such is life.
We have over 80K to bike on Saturday once we get off the ship. We can’t leave until they can unload the cargo. Landing early will allow them to do just that and us to start pedaling sooner. We should reach Ensenada at a reasonable time. The open sea decision was not all bad.