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October 19

October 19, 2008

Ancud is definitely not a bustling metropolis- well, not at this time of year, anyway, as here “low season” and “high season” actually seem to mean something. We managed to sleep in until ten o’clock this morning despite being in the tent, which I think is some sort of minor miracle attributable in part to the chilly weather and diffuse sunlight. When we did rouse, we indulged in biscuits and some scrummy instant oats made with warm, powdered milk. We’ve been using this time in Chiloe to experiment with lightweight, easily portable foodstuffs, and so far have had much success.

The activities list in Ancud is not long and diverse, and we had two options: a penguin colony somewhere about the area, and a naval museum with an incredibly enthusiastic write-up. We tried for both but got neither, it being a Sunday in winter in a small town. Despite this, we were not disheartened- we had a coffee and empanada on the main drag, browsed through some handicraft stores in the Mercado de Artesania (I eyed off some hundspun wool from an animal I wasn’t able to identify with my bad Spanish, but haven’t yet committed to a purchase) and wandered through the fort on our way home.

We’re stuck in that frame of mind commonly induced by wintering in a popular beach resort- where the sea in grey and stormy, the weather untrustworthy and everyone gone, leaving only a sense of freedom and calm. Our camping site is quite excellent, despite the sub-standard temperature of the advertised hot water showers. The sites are situated on a clifftop overlooking the ocean, and as we meander back and forth from the bed-field to the living-field and the bathroom block we’re treated to a wonderful panorama of angry ocean with rocky outcrops inhabited by some truly stunning seabirds of a distinctly almost-Antarctic sort, svelte black, white and brown things that dive in and out of the frigid ocean like it was a warm bath.

The rain held off until about four o’clock this arvo, then cleared again about seven, leaving us with a crystal clear, star-studded night to enjoy around the campfire, which after hours of painstaking tending in the rain is now roaring madly.

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