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The Lucky Passengers!

Puerto Natales, Chile


Our four day trip on the Navimag started with clear blue skies in Puerto Montt, Southern Patagonia, and the weather continued to be very kind to us for the entire trip. So much so that the on board guide kept telling us that we were the ´lucky passengers´. They had not had a clear day for the past 2 weeks up until now and it is also very rare to get 2 consecutive days of clear skies in this part of the world. So, as you can imagine we were very happy.

The Navimag is essentially a cargo and passenger ship which runs between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales. The facililties on board are fairly basic but with everything you need. Our days were spent mostly on deck (as the weather was so fantastic) appreciating the views, listening to talks on the local fauna and flora, chatting to other travellers and drinking lots of hot chocolate.

On Day one we travelled through the Ancud and Corcovado Gulfs. Day two we sailed through the Moraleda, Errazuriz and Pulluche Channels and into the famed Anna Pink Bay and through the night the Penas Gulf. Throughout the day the guides warned us of how rough the seas can get once we reach the open ocean or oceanic area. They recommended (often) that all passengers should take some sea sickness tablets to help with sea sickness. Chris was really looking forward to some big waves and hopefully some stormy weather. I wasn´t!! We decided to take our chances and not take any tablets hoping it was the right move. So when we hit the open ocean, around dinner time, Chris was sorely disappointed with the extremely calm water. I was thrilled that we were the lucky passengers, once again, and only scored an official 4 out of 12 for the sea conditions. We both woke up in the middle of the night rocking in our beds - a very strange sensation.

Day three and the morning of day four were the most interesting sections of our trip. We passed through the Messier Channel and then through the English Narrow which was just stunning. We stopped in at Puerto Eden, a very small Chilean settlement with a population of about 200. We dropped off supplies and collected a few passengers. That afternoon we stopped in front of Pio XI, the largest glacier in South America. It is roughly 60 kilometres in length, over a kilometre deep with 100 metres visible above the surface of the water. We were lucky enough to see and hear large chunks of ice falling off into the water below.

Our last day ended up being much longer than planned due to strong head winds. We were supposed to arrive in Puerto Natales at 11am but ended up arriving at 5pm. It didn´t worry us as we got to see more in the daylight. The most notable part of this stretch was the White Narrow, being only 5 metres wider than the boat. It was impressive seeing the Captain navigate the ship through such a small passage.

We disembarked at 6pm and had to quickly get ourselves sorted in the hostel and then book our bus, ferry and pick up supplies for our 5 day hike in the Torres del Paine National Park. After a busy evening we were all set to go and were looking forward to hiking again after spending so much time on a boat.



permalink written by  chrishoorweg on November 22, 2007 from Puerto Natales, Chile
from the travel blog: and one last trip before we come home.........?
tagged Navimag

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