our flight to santiago was uneventful, which i guess i good; we had just enough time to watch a movie, eat dinner and sleep and when we woke up we were in santiago! when we arrived in santiago, we had a whirlwind 24 hrs to hang out with jared’s host family. we were there just long enough to see all of the new additions to the family (i.e. lots and lots of little ones!), have an al fresco lunch and enjoy a barbecue at andrès’ apartment with the family.
saturday morning was an early one with a 6am flight to punta arenas via puerto montt. we weren’t able to land in puerto montt due to the fog so we had to land at a much smaller airport that was about 30 minutes north of puerto montt, which meant one thing: a delay. jared and i tried to make the most of it though and we got lunch and a cerveza! we were cracking up at these two frat boys on our flight who had clearly partied hard in santiago the night before and we were thankful that wasn’t us!
after an hour or so, we were able to board our flight and were well on our way to puerto montt where we stopped and dropped off a few passengers and then picked a few more up. jared and i were sitting in separate seats on the plane and he happened to sit next to a group of comedians, one being a semi- celebrity chilean actor/signer/comedian named hans miguelito. he and his crew were performing at the hotel and casino calleddreams in puntas arenas. maybe their sense of humor rubbed off on jared?!? ha, one can only hope! :)
in typical chilean fashion we were only 4 hours behind schedule and finally landed in punta arenas. there was a bit of a minor scare that my bag didn’t make it, but it was retrieved after jared looked behind the baggage claim belt and it had just fallen off (most likely due to weight!). whew, we made it!
we hopped on a bus to town with a few other fellow americans to pick up our home for the next 6 weeks. atwo-person camper van that pretty much has everything we need: a fold-down bed for 2, power steering, internal table + lounge, gas cooker, cutlery, plates cups + bowls, pots + pans, camp stools + fold-able table, silverware and an ice chest. also, the great folks at wicked campers hooked us up with a few extras like a auxiliary converter to listen to our spotify playlists. very essential for this long drive!!
in order to avoid the ‘hangry’ (i.e. when one becomes so hungry that it makes them angry), we had a quick bite in town at this little pizzeria and then on to grocery shopping for the next day.
instead of camping in our van in town that night, we opted to drive about 2.5 hours and take a ferry across the straight of magellan toward puerto delgado. it was about midnight when we finally decided to pull over for the night and get some sleep. the first night was a bit challenging putting the bed together in such a small space, but we figure we will eventually get the hang of it. we got out our mummy sleeping bags and blow up camp pillows and hit the hay!
the next day we woke up and didn’t realize what time it was; i would wake up and see that Jared was still asleep and go back to sleep and then he would do the same to me. when we finally woke up for good, we realized we had slept until NOON!! that was definitely not in the plan so we hurried to get dressed for the day and got on the road to our destination for the day: onaissin, a small town in patagonia to see the king penguins. this is a rare sight because you can only see king penguins (or pengüinos rey, as they say) in antarctica. onaissin is a small area where a colony of about 200 of the world’s king penguins reside.
on the way to onaissin, we ended up making a wrong turn, but it ended up being a good thing because we were getting close to running out of gas and had seen no gas stations in any of the towns. we found a small one, filled up and were on our way to see the pengüinos rey!! they were incredible!! and we even saw a fantastical fox along the way (pictured below).
our next ‘fork in the road’ (literally) was to decide whether to drive to the town of porvenir and take a 2 hour ferry back to punta arenas OR drive back the way we had driven which was about 2 hours away. we did not have a ticket for the ferry ride so we would be chancing it to take the ferry on a sunday when lots of visitors were traveling back to punta arenas. stay tuned for part 2 of this post and which path we decided to take…