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Our Chilean Passage Expedition began in Puerto Montt— a modern city at the northern reach of Chile’s inside passage.
On October 28, 2003 everything was ready. We assembled and loaded our folding kayaks and set off from Chinquihue beach.
On the island of Chiloé we paddled by many of the shingled wooden churches for which this densely inhabited region is most famous.
Our camp spots on Chiloé were often narrow strips of grass squeezed between the tide and the fence surrounding a family’s pasture land.
Back on the mainland the volcanic sand made for inky black water and spectacular beaches—as seen here at Bahia Tic Toc.
Low pressure systems blast in from the Pacific one right after another, bringing an instability that makes for nearly continuous rain....
We allowed a month there to secure our trip permit, study Chile’s unique Spanish dialect and to thoroughly explore our surroundings.
We had timed our crossing of Canal Chacao to coincide with the neap tide slack, however the current was still so intense we barely made it!
With an 8-meter tidal range there are few community piers so the fishing boats are beached instead of docked—here at Tenaun.
Although the Chilotes were generous as well as respectful, we suspect they had built the fences to keep out hungry kayakers...!
Southern Chile is renowned for its consistently bad weather. There are large areas that have yet to be mapped, being obscured from the air.
....and relentless wind. Wind and water are a dangerous combination, but to paddle in Chile you must be content to paddle in the wind.
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