One year honeymoon around the world...17th April 2007 to 9th March 2008! Yes we're home!!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

The Navimag Ferry
we had heard about this boat trip through the Chilean fjords long before we got to South America. After our return from the snows of Torres del Paine we had an organisation day. As a traveller this basically involves doing 3 things> admin (buying tickets, making hostel bookings etc, going shopping for incidentals and getting laundry done). Any spare hours in the day are then spent on the internet! or hanging out reading books, watching films etc.

We were due to board the ferry at 9pm on thursday night 17/05. As it got dark in the town of Puerto Natales all the travellers started to gather in groups in various bars in anticipation of the short walk to the docks. I say docks but it was more like a jetty on the edge of a lake really however with a boat almost as big as a cross-chanel ferry tied up to it. We finally headed onto the boat at 9pm. Our host/guide led us across a yard full of trucks and into the bowels of the cargo deck of the ship. We all had to stand on a large platform which then slowly raised us up into the passenger area of the ship. It was wise to hold onto our bags as the floors were covered with a substance which owes it's existence to the several hundred cows which are shipped on each ferry! We quickly found our cabin anyway which was surprisingly cosy and even had it's own bathroom. There were 4 beds in the cabin but we had managed to pull some strings with guy in the harbour and got the place to ourselves! We then quickly occupied a corner of the lounge / dining area on the ship and started to make our acquaintances with the other 50 travellers who we would be spending the next 4 days on board with.

The ship left the harbour early the next morning and started it's cruise through the chilean fjords. The Navimag as it is know is basically a supply boat linking the very south of Chile with the nearest roads into the rest of Chile which are further north. Boat / Transport geeks amongst you can check ou the route on . The next 3 days were spent in one of the following ways: strolling around on the deck, eating one of the 3 meals a day, playing cards, reading, fiddling with levers and instruments on the bridge (yes we were allowed in there suprisingly) or for some people vomiting contiuously as the boat spent 12 hours in the violent, gut-wrenching swells of the open seas of the penas gulf. (yes that is the real name!). The last night was fantastic with bingo and various other games organised by our guide and host Andrea and great tunes and around 20% of the annual Chilean wine production being consumed! For the wine freaks amongst you I thought you may like to know that an excellent bottle of red costs around 90 pence in the supermarket.

Well, we arrived in the early hours of monday morning in Puerto Montt and slept through the night before leaving the boat at just after 07.00 a.m.

Really enjoyed the Navimag. Bit anxious I might get seasick but I felt completely fine apart from the open sea crossing - even then I took 2 pills and slept most of afternoon, got up for some dinner and went back to bed again. The waves were measured at 5 out of 12 so it definitely could have been worse! At dinner that night plates and trays were moving about the tables and I struggled to walk straight but it was quite fun - started to forget we were at sea it was so tame the rest of the time.
When we booked the night before we were given the impression we would have the cabin to ourselves as it was off season and no-one else had booked into that cabin at that point. However when we came to check in lots of people had been upgraded classes and we were sharing! So we had a very nice moan and the guy tried to say everyone was booking higher classes because the differential was low and I said no, it's because you've upgraded people cos we've just seen some friends (which is true) and asked if he could move us at all as it was a bit unfair that we'd paid full whack. He said to come back just before 9pm when we were to board...

When I went back to the desk he was just printing off the passenger list and he pushed it across to the the counter to me and he had moved the other two out of our cabin. Result! Sorry Claire and Sam whoever you are... hope you got a nice room too :-) (yeah another Sam... that would have been a pain sharing with him/her)

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