From the burning desert to the seaside city of Coquimbo, with its endless beaches. It is situated in the narrowest part of Chile making it a premiere location for exploring the Chilean Andes. It is an industrial and shipping centre especially for fruit, and copper from the mines in the region. I have been here before so I didn’t do a tour today and instead wandered around town and did a little shopping
In between we had a sea day just cruising along the Chilean coast with calm seas and sunshine. I love sea days. You dont have to get up early for a tour, so you can be lazy or you can take part in the many activities that are planned for you throughout the day. There is a well stocked library. We have art classes, trivia, various levels of bridge, mahjong – I even learned how to play Chinese mahjong. Hey, it’s easier than the American game. Also we always have great lecturers, usually people with knowledge of the ports/countries we are visiting.
In Santiago de Chile I learned some interesting facts on my wine tour in the Casablanca-Santa Rosa area. Years ago in France the Carmenere grape was totally wiped out by phyloxia and thought to be lost to the world. However, prior to the phyloxia outbreak, France had sent a shipment of Merlot grapes to Chile. When they arrived they noticed there were some vines that were different. They did not know what they were but they planted them anyway along with the Merlot vines. Some years later, someone recognized the vines as carmenere and so this grape survived on the other side of the world. The Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west creates a great growing climate for red wine and our guide told us that some of the best reds come from the Colchatua Valley area near here. I will look for them when I get back home.
I have come down with a nasty chest cold and cough, the first I have had since before COVID. I saw the doctor here on board and she put me on an antibiotic and decongestant. So for the next few sea days and through the ports of Puerto Montt, Puerto Chacabuco & Puntas Arenas, I stayed close to the ship or just wandered around the towns and took it easy. The weather is definitely much colder now as we make our way further down the coast. The days are longer also. Where we can, we slip in and out of the Chilean Fjords to avoid the rough waters of the Pacific in this area. It was a treat to see the Amelia Glacier and be sailing in the Beagle Channel where Fitzroy sailed with his ship, the Beagle, with our old friend Darwin on board.
Leave a Reply