Where We Be
Navimag Ferry, Chile
A rare sighting of another ship on the serene waters of the Chilean fjords
The ad says that a journey on the Navimag ferry /
freighter ship is more than just a means of
transport, it's a bonding experience with your
fellow travelers and a sea voyage you'll remember
for a lifetime. Well, we'd have to say this ad is
actually true. Sailing through the Chilean fjords on
a small vessel with sixty other adventurous souls
is an experience in its own right. The scenery on
the sunny days is awesome, and the cameraderie
on the cloudy or rough ones is equally memorable.

On the scenery side, we saw our first-ever
"fogbow" and spent an entire wonderful day on
the open top deck watching the scenery slip by
and pointing out seals, sea lions, and dolphins
frolicking in the rich waters. (No blue whales, but
we certainly looked!)

There was one rough 12-hour passage through
the Golfo de Penas on the open Pacific which
definitely involved a lot of rocking but was less
bad than it could have been. We weathered that
experience fine, and the rest of the cruise was
lake-like as we navigated through the calm waters
of the fjords.

In the evenings we shared meals and amusing
card games with new friends from around the
world. Our little coterie of friends were Belgian,
Dutch, Kiwi, Canadian, and Portuguese. We played
Patagonian bingo and listened to great guitar
playing by locals from the impossibly remote town
of Puerto Eden.

All meals were included and the food was better
than we expected. We slept in small dorm rooms
with four bunk beds each. Each bed had a curtain
you could pull across for your own private space.

We were originally scheduled to sail the week
prior and were glad we waited since we learned
that it rained nonstop on that trip and the ship
broke down halfway through the voyage. Our luck
was much better. We had two days of great
weather and two days of decent weather -- and  
our small ship actually made it to its destination in
Puerto Natales, near the southern tip of Patagonia
in Chile.
Stark contrast of our little ferry with the Norwegian cruise ship also in port at Puerto Montt
The night before our ferry trip we stayed at Hospedaje Rocco in the Angelmo district
of Puerto Montt (near Navimag) and made friends with some of our fellow travelers
A huge lift raised us and our luggage up to the lowest non-cargo level of
the ship where the least expensive berths were located (ours included)
This is the "Puerto Eden," the freighter that served as our home for three nights and four days
This is our four-bed bunk room -- actually an upgrade from the 16-bed bunk room we had
been expecting. Fortunately we had very nice roommates from England who didn't snore.
A little Chilean wine, a little Patagonian bingo, and a lot of
cards with new friends made the evenings pass quickly
Robin with Sophie from the Netherlands who loved every minute of the trip and
was usually on the top deck (when she wasn't teaching us new card games)
Multilingual Ilse from Belgium (left) became a close companion during the trip. Ian
from New Zealand was a riot, and Carol from Canada always had a book in hand.
Ilse dances with a local man from Puerto Eden in the dining area while a guitarist strums and others clap and take pictures
Hanging around with great people -- Arnaudo from Brazil and Ilse from Belgium
Robin in her Puerto Varas cap during a rare quiet moment aboard the ship
Our first-ever sighting of a "fogbow." Can you see it?
Looking lower aft where the trucks and cargo are stored
Breaking the rules again, climbing up the superstructure
Passengers play chess and take pictures on the top deck
Navigating a narrow passage through the southern fjords -- by this time snow was common on the peaks
Sunset of our first day -- a day full of sunshine and calm seas, perfect for spotting seals, sea lions, and dolphins
Our second day was mistier but still beautiful, especially with the snow capping the mountains
Bright orange lifeboat with cords of knotted rope
Rows of blueish hills fade into the mist
Approaching abstract art
We spent as much time as we could on the top deck enjoying the beauty, with a cup of hot coffee to keep us warm
The ship's wake fans out behind us as we cruise through incredibly peaceful waters
It definitely grew colder and more forbidding as we moved further south
Sailing for that distant opening on the horizon. At this point we're hundreds of miles away from any human habitation!