Patagonia: Coyhaique, Puerto Cisnes to Puerto Montt (14th November to 19th November)

Coyhaique

The 217km ride to Coyhaique went without incident but sadly with lots of rain, and it was very cold. One phenomena we experienced over the last couple of days was riding in the rain when there was not a cloud above, behind or in front of you, but on the horizon. It is really quite comical but the wind is so strong that it blows the rain for miles.

We took a lunch break at the cutest little restaurant located in 2 hippy style busses, followed by more rain on the road. So cold and wet we decided to call it a short day in Coyhaique which is a very nice little town. I have to say the small Chilean towns in Patagonia are very cute and much nicer than those in Argentina.

We later found out from a Dutch backpacking couple that it snowed in Coyhaique the day after we left. They were in a bus which could not get through and had to change busses to one with snow chains … what a stroke of luck that we left when we did.

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we found some pretty large interesting plants on the road to Coyhaique

P1000691 stunning Chile

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Making good use of two old broken down busses.

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One of the many Gauchos (cowboys) we saw along the route

Puerto Cisnes

Next stop La Juanta, we were planning another short, chilly and wet day which turned out to be a lot shorter than we expected. 160kms out of Coyhaique we stopped to take a break from the constant rain. At this time of year there is just no end to the rain in this part of Chile, it is incredible it doesn’t stop for a minute. With fresh dry gloves from my panniers I started my bike, kicked it into 1st gear only for it to promptly die, it just simply went uummppp. Hmmm I tried it a couple of times but with no luck. There was clearly a serious problem. It seemed as if the bike had no fuel which was not the case. We were stuck just totally and utterly stuck in the middle of nowhere in the rain 😦

even the most miserable cold wet day can be beautiful

my shelter from the rain for the hours I waited for Joern to return

 picture from the shelter

We decided that Joern needed to go back to the last town we passed about 25kms back and find a truck to fetch my bike. We were hoping there’d be a mechanic and hotel there as well but that was really wishful thinking as it was a very small town. I stayed with the bike amusing myself by putting it back together, we’d take it apart to try finding the issue thinking it may be a blocked air filter. We suspected that it was not getting fuel but thought the issues could also be lack of air, this however was not the case. After putting the bike back together and watching the rain fall the sun came out for about an hour and I almost ran out of the shelter to make the most of it, walking up and down the road balancing on the curb for fun.

3.5 hours later Joern returned followed by a pickup truck. He’s had quite an ordeal trying to find a mechanic who knew nothing, a hotel that was more a hole than hotel. He finally managed, with the help of a very nice Argentinean guy he met who had lived in Germany and spoke German and Spanish, to get someone to come up and fetch the bike. However the agreement was to take it to another town about 35kms north where they thought there was a mechanic.

P1000742 sunset in Puerto Cisnes

We finally arrived in Puerto Cisnes at 7pm and found the cutest little cottage to rent for the night. The next day we went in search of a mechanic but to no avail. There were a couple of motorcar mechanics but no bike mechanics. We had pushed the bike a couple of kms to one man who said he was a mechanic but knew less than Joern so Joern took it out and started pushing it back to the cottage. On his way back a guy stopped and asked in very good English if he needed help. Louis was another awesome helpful person and just a downright nice guy with a lovely family. Joern explained the situation to him and said that all we need is a dry place to work in so that Joern could take the carburettor off and find out the reason why the bike is not getting any fuel. Louis immediately offered us his garage.P1000759 preparing to go out in the freezing rain

Unfortunately the fault was a torn Carburettor vacuum membrane, damn. After I googled how to temporary fix this vacuum membrane we bought the right sealant and fixed the tear, however to no avail as it did not hold and we were back to square one. We needed a new one, no doubt about it. I frantically emailed bike shops and rental agencies trying to find someone with KLR spare parts. Enter Mike from Ride-Chile a Danish guy (good people the Danes, I have yet to meet one I don’t like)  Mike runs a motorbike tour and rental company out of Santiago. To cut a long story short he has an old KLR which he used for spare parts and was willing to sell me the carb. He was also driving down to Puerto Verde 21kms north of Puerto Montt on Thursday to fetch some bikes and said he’s bring the Carb down for us. What a stroke of luck since we were booked on a ferry from Puerto Cisnes to Puerto Montt on Wednesday at 12:00 arriving at 19:00 on Thursday. We agreed for Mike to leave the carb at his hotel after he left and we’d ride up on Joerns bike on Friday and fetch it. With any luck I’d be back on the road on Saturday.

Although the delay and the constant rain were getting us down we made the most of it by enjoying the little town and lovely little cottage we were in, cooking our own food and having more space than any hotel room could offer, so we strung up the washing and had a few good laughs.

P1000761 our cute little cottage

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P1000752 make some slop

P1000755 the slop – didn’t taste half bad though 🙂

Puerto Montt Ferry

After my ordeal with the ferries in Brazil I could not believe that once again I needed to take an overnight ferry. Really not looking forward to it we pushed my bike onto the Jacaf which to my pleasant surprise was a very large modern sturdy ferry. Even when the seas got a little rougher and the ferry bucked and rolled it was not nearly as bad as the ferry I took out of Macapa so although I felt a tiny bit queasy it was fine.  The ferry was clean and modern the real bummer was that there were no cabins just seats (like economy class plane seats), and although they were quite comfortable, for 33 hours a cabin would have been AWESOME. The good news was that the ferry was nearly empty so we both had 3 seats to ourselves and could stretch out and sleep. It also made a huge difference to have Joern with me as he keeps me amused… he is a funny guy

P1000764 The ferry

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 stuck in this space for 34 hours

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I eventually took a sleeping tablet and knocked myself out, best way to not got mad.

my amusing husband … and the not so amusing couple in the background

There were also a couple of other things that kept me amused on the voyage. There was a young married couple with a beautiful baby boy (about 2 years old) on board along with the mother of the girl. She turned out to be quite a batty woman who had long rather loud conversations with herself, her daughter and son in law and any passenger that looked her way. She was also quite a grumpy old thing and sat on the opposite end of the boat and just shouted across to her daughter and son in law. Who at one point had a screaming match right on the boat much to everyone’s amusement and shushes. The old lady and daughter seemed to tag team against the poor guy and he really got it in the neck. Since we could not speak Spanish we had no idea what he did but I would have felt sorry for him if they had not been so damn loud playing computer games and talking in loud voices and just disturbing everyone for the whole voyage. I was so glad when they got off the ferry in Quellon at midnight meaning that we all had a peaceful sleep. The other things that kept me amused were the beautiful Patagonian Fjords, sadly it rained but we did seem to hit the eye of the storm at some point and had a couple of hours of sunlight and spectacular views, while seeing black clouds in a circle all along the horizon, quite interesting. Sailing through them was less interesting but as I mentioned the ferry was modern and very sturdy so I coped and only got a little green but took some sea sickness drugs. The best sightings on the trip were the seals, we had 3 different sightings of seals and that was nice as they were so close to the boat. Unfortunately not at a time when either of us had our cameras at hand. So the ferry trip was not altogether bad, but if I had a choice I’d FAR FAR rather be riding my bike, even in the rain.

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Off loading some passengers mid voyage. This was an interesting sight. The boat did not dock, they simply let down the ramp and the passengers boarded a small boat which took them to one of the islands.

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P1000815 The beautiful Patagonian Fjords

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When the ferry docked at one small town I spent the time watching this gorgeous dog. He greeted every person who left the ferry. It looked to me as if he was waiting for someone specific and when the person did not arrive he watched the ferry leave and seemed to walk away quite forlorn.

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The small town of Melinka where we docked to load & off-load passengers and cargo

We bordered the ferry in Puerto Cisnes at 10am on Wednesday morning and disembarked at 8pm on Thursday evening in Puerto Montt, 34 hours later … I never want to see a ferry again, EVER

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