While staying at the Tierra Chiloe Sally took an excursion on their boat ‘The Wiliche’, read all about what you can expect from this beautiful boat trip.
The Wiliche is a traditional wooden boat, 18 metres in length with a large, spacious, indoor lounge complete with cushions and woollen throws (all traditional Chilote of course).
From the hotel we cruised for an hour and a half passing cliffs, villages and rolling hillsides before arriving at our first destination of Chelin. On arrival we were greeted to the bay by 2 dolphins that were swimming around under the bow of the boat – this was really magical.
As we cruised along there were south american terns diving into the water, magellanic penguins popping up mid catch and many imperial cormorants. I was very lucky to have a day of still tranquil waters, clear blue sky with not a breath of wind or drop of rain in sight – a real treat for this part of the world.
The first village we visited of just a few houses had a wooden church that was under going restoration work. It was fascinating to see how the original church must have been built and see the techniques that were being implemented today to keep this 200 year old building alive.
Behind the church was the traditional Chilote graveyard, almost a replica of the village but in miniature. The Chilotes are strong believers that after death people still need a roof over their head so the tombstones are actually little wooden, shingle clad houses. This was fascinating and really quite different to anything I’d seen before.
After a wander up to a view point, the captain, Jose, then came to collect us in the zodiac boat and we motored across to the opposite island of Quehui.
On-route, we pulled up alongside a small, local fishing boat to see what they were catching. On board were two men in thick wetsuits, two helpers and reels of yellow hosepipe; these men were divers and the hosepipe was part of the rudimentary equipment that they use. They were delighted to offer us some of their catch – muscles bigger than my hand, aptly names ‘ Shoe sole muscles’ and enormous clams. Later in the afternoon the captain cooked these up with white wine, garlic and onions – delicious and so fresh.
There had been many forest fires due to the dry summer and so the horizon was really hazy. However, on a clear day looking east you have a spectacular view of the snow peaked Andes including one or two volcanoes.
The return journey took us on a slightly different route passing the north western side of the Chelin island. For the return journey I climbed up onto the roof and laid down for a well earned siesta – totally priceless.
Highlights of the day….
The fascinating graveyard
The divers – interaction with the local divers
The stunning calm waters, emerald in colour with the hillsides reflecting perfectly – days like today are very rare I’m told.