We opted to take a few days to visit Chiloe, a large and remote island on the Chilean coast. The island has a unique culture, and it’s my understanding the inhabitants are Chileoen first and Chilean second. We also opted to camp, as I’d brought all of our camping gear from America. On the first day, we took the ferry to Chiloe, drove on the beach to visit Humboldt and Magellanic penguin colonies on the northwestern coast, and we got lost on a remote beach near Valle de Chepu.
Watching the penguin tour colorful boats load passengers and launch through the surf was a lot of fun. A crew in the water would push the boat into the waves until the pilot had enough depth to trim down the motor, start it, and break through the waves under his own power. Not a normal sighting back home in North Carolina.
Near the Valley de Chepu, for the first time, we had to break out the four-wheel-drive in the 4Runner to make our way through deep sand and up a steep and rocky road. I was extremely nervous about the driving situation. It was so serious, we didn’t even stop to document the situation. After careful climbing over rocks and boulders, we managed to crawl our way out of the valley. When we reached the top of the rough road, a group of 4wheeling enthusiasts, with their jacked up Nissan Pathfinder on big tires, were in amazement and awe that we had driven the road. Their faces of astonishment will forever be burned into our memory.