¿Que dia es hoy?

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it’s not chile…it’s CHILOE!

after our bike tour around the patagonian lakes district, we signed ourselves up for the extension which took us to the island of chiloe.

if you haven’t already heard about this island off the coast of chile, i would highly recommend a visit.  it’s an island full of rich history, mythology, UNESCO protected wooden churches and endangered animals.  some of these species are found nowhere else in the world.  the experience and the island was nothing less than magical but, we were also extremely lucky to have juan pablo show us around as he himself is a local! 

juapa lit up as we crossed over into chiloe.  he seemed so excited to share the beautiful island with us and we were as equally enthusiastic to see it!!!  the 30 minute ferry ride over to the island was in itself a treat.  he told us he could basically guarantee that we would see sea lions.  we ended up seeing no less than several sea lions, flocks of pelicans, dolphins and a family of black necked swans.  

peruvian pelicans are amazing to watch as they fly in large groups and glide right over the water.

after our ferry ride we went straight to…a restaurant.  the food was as simple and fresh as their advertising. 

after lunch we went to a local marketplace to see some of the specialties of chiloe. 

smoked and dried clams, mussels, herbs and seaweed!

fresh honey and baskets of bright eggs.

one of the “must sees” in chiloe are the wooden churches built by the spanish and jesuit missionaries.  they were made using a unique construction technique of interlocking wooden beams and foundations.  16 of the churches were declared UNESCO world heritage sites. 

we went to visit a museum of the churches to learn more about their structure and design. 

our next stop was to the the punihuil pengin colony where both humboldt and magellanic penguins cohabitate.  we had to take a boat to cruise around the three little islets where the penguins live amongst other sea life. 

life jackets a must!  safety first!!!

but these particular ones had an interesting feature.  fredrik was trying really hard to take this seriously.  

but in the end…

a mix of humboldt and magellanic penguins.  the humboldt are less common and greyish hue.  they also only have one black stripe on their torso opposed to the two that the magellanic have.  

it was also a site for red-legged cormorants.

so lucky to see this little guy!  it’s an endangered marine otter known as the chungungo. 

but an even more rare siting than a humboldt penguin or a marine otter was seeing the invincible tika showing signs of weakness.  apparently, he gets seasick!!!!

by this time we had worked up our appetites again which worked out well since our grand finale dinner was supposed to be a feast!!!  juapa was taking us to the home of a woman that specializes in making curanto al hoyo.

before entering her home we were greeted by two stunning foxes.  these were no ordinary foxes but were actually “darwin’s fox”   

they are critically endangered and it is estimated that they have a population of only 250 .  

worthy of paparazzi.

one of the reasons the foxes may hang out in this area is because of the delicious food (and the scraps that inevitably get tossed) of the curanto. 

underneath this smoking hole covered in leaves was our dinner. 

a FEAST of layers that started with a moist and chewy potato bread that was cooked over a bed of meats including chicken, sausage, pork? and vegetables.  all of that was over a huge pile of clams and mussels.  

we couldn’t wait and were able to pick the steaming shellfish right from the hole. they were perfectly cooked and DELICIOUS. 

philip needs a lesson in squatting…

there seemed to be an endless amount of food and our bellies seemed to expand endlessly. 

after we had our second, third and fourth servings of food, we went back out to play with the foxes! 

and as we left that evening, walking to our van, this was our view. 

we went straight to our hotel that evening and found out that even the hotel offered something really special.  

first of all, the hotel was on stilts.  

secondly, this was our view from our bedroom. 

although we were exhausted from the day of commuting and natural wonders, we were equally as excited to start our next day that would be full of more cycling and more chiloe.