Monday, December 29, 2014

Trip to Patagonia - Dec 29, 2014 - Discover Chiloé Island; Puñihuil Wildlife Sanctuary

- from the Itinerary: 

This morning, we’ll visit villages on the coast of Chiloé Island, including Quinchao Island, Curaco de Velez, and Achao. In Achao, we’ll see one of the 16 historic wooden churches of Chiloé that are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Begun by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century, these churches represent the blending of Spanish Catholicism with indigenous culture, with some details of their construction showing that they were built by carpenters who had learned their trade building boats.

You’ll have time for lunch on your own, after which we return to our hotel.

Later, we’ll ride to the quaint fishing town of Puñihuil. Weather permitting, we’ll board small boats and sail out to observe the residents of a local wildlife sanctuary that is home to both the Humboldt and Magellanic penguin (from approximately October to March), as well as sea otters, sea lions, seals and a variety of marine birds. Afterwards, we’ll have dinner in Puñihuil, and then return to our hotel.

We visited several of the smaller islands around Chiloe Island and did a walking tour of Achao. The market here sells a strange (to us) seaweed and smoked mussels.


A type of seaweed

Smoked mussels

We also saw this wooden church, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We learned that these churches do not allow votive candles - pretty obvious why.




Later we visited Ambrosio, who builds boats. He was in the process of working on one that had been contracted for his son.


Ambrosio explains his work

Smaller boats awaiting completion

After returning to the hotel for some free time, we again boarded the bus for a trip to Punihuil, a wildlife reserve for penguins. This reserve consists of several small islands that are off-limits to humans, but are populated by Humbolt and Magellanic penguins and lots of marine birds. To see these animals, the local fishermen use boats to take people around the islands. Getting into the boats involves climbing onto wheeled carts that are pushed out through the surf to the boats. Sure better than walking into the surf, for sure.


Pinguinland?

Boarding cart for transport to boat

Heading out to the boat

Penguins

Patagonian Sea Lion

We had dinner at a restaurant on the beach and left just before the tide closed the road out of the area!