Another Boat Run: Diary of Last Year #13

17th of January 2017

Not so long ago, when we crossed from Argentina to Chile for the second time, we had to run (or more accurately: pedal) to make it to the boat in time. It was a tiring experience and we couldn’t enjoy the scenery as much as we would have liked. We told ourselves we would not do this again.

Today, we will have to hurry again to catch a boat. We’re taking the ferry from Hornopirén to Caleta Gonzalo.

But let’s start with the beginning. We’re just starting to digest the fact that someone stole our backpack with our tent inside from one of our bikes in Puerto Montt. We’ve spent our first night in our new tent, less than half as big as our nice Hilleberg Nallo 3GT. It feels like moving from a spacious loft to a mini-studio… Although we must admit that it’s ridiculously easy and fast to mount and that a self-standing tent has its advantages, too.

And although we mourn some of the personal items that disappeared along with our backpack, we pedal on. This is not going to stop us.

In the late morning, we arrive to the small port of Hornopirén with lots of time to spare until the ferry leaves. Online rumours of limited bike space on the boat made us come early, but we get our tickets without problem and all the other cyclists around seem to get on board, too.

Cycling onto the ferry at the port of Hornopirén.

The ferry crossing to Caleta Gonzalo is in two parts. A first longer leg to Leptepú, followed by some 10 kilometres or so of road to Fiordo Largo, and a second shorter leg to Caleta Gonzalo. The lady at the ticket counter informs us about the timing: if the ferry is on time, we should have more than enough time to cycle the stretch between the two boats. The alternative – and what most other cyclists do – would be to hitch a ride in an empty pickup truck. But we don’t need that, we’re here to cycle, right?

On the ferry, we meet Lisa and Shane, two Canadians cycling a part of the Carretera Austral. We will meet them on and off on the road for several days, until they will turn back and return to Puerto Montt. They are the only ones also cycling the stretch between the two ferries.

We arrive in Leptepú a bit late – about an hour. We have 45 minutes to cycle 10 kilometres, and it’s mostly flat – something doable, normally. Except that now, we’re cycling on a dirt road, in parts sticky from the rain and in other parts slippery from loose rocks.

In brief, we pedal as if we were hunted down by a bunch of hungry lions. We make it to the ferry at the very minute it’s supposed to leave. Except that it leaves late because it has to wait for a busload of young Americans (no idea why they were so slow), who will then munch Nutella sandwiches in front of our hungry and hypoglycemic faces…

We’re happy to arrive to Caleta Gonzalo, where we set up our tent at the campsite (which is very nice, except for the cold showers).

Tent at campsite in Caleta Gonzalo, Chile.

This time we swear we won’t do another boat run!



Enjoyed reading this? Here’s the full series of Diary of Last Year.

Or else, browse other posts about our trip here.

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