Madaru moto - motorbike adventures in South America  

Day 71: I slept a bit easier last night, though it was still pretty cold. This photo shows how close the snowline is to the shore. No wonder the rivers are so frigid.

Low tide exposed some dead jellyfish. I assume they are jellyfish; they were quite large, about 2 ft across, and blood red. A bit like that old  Sci-Fi film, 'The Blob'!

It looked like it had two angry eyes

It was so cold I didn't sweat much, but finally my bottle of tap water gave out. I filled up from a stream. I hope the brown colour is just tannin from rotting vegetation, and is safe to drink.

I love taking macro photos with my little Ricoh GX200.

At long last the road brought me back to signs of civilization: 

The town of San Juan  seemed deserted save for an occasional barking dog. I knew the bus would come on Wednesday at around 7pm, so  I was in for a wait of several hours. There appeared to be only a few dozen residents here.

I asked at a nearby house if this was where the bus stopped, as there was no sign nor bus shelter.  A man came out when he heard his two dogs barking.  Mr Jose Yonson, retired from the Chilean  Navy, invited me in for a cup of coffee.

Inside his 3 room house he built himself.

Jose showed me his little fishing boat, moored on the beach just a few yards from his house. 

Here is a winch he made himself.

He had a wood stove for cooking and heating. Although I saw signs during my trek prohibiting the remeoval of firewood from the forest, Jose said it was allowed to collect driftwood, and there was plenty of that.

I showed Jose the photos of the blood-red blobs. He said they were jellyfish, and he had seen even bigger ones. "You often find them like that" he said "without tentacles, because the birds eat the tentacles".

Jose told me it was a bit dangerous trying to trek to the Cape alone at any time of year. He said he knew of one foreigner, a Paraguayan, who died in 1990, and another who almost starved because heavy rains had caused the rivers to flood, he could not swim, and he had to wait 2 weeks before he was rescued. He said the rivers are much lower in the summer, and of course even if they are high, they are a lot warmer. 

Jose regaled me with stories about galleons and pirates, he said the strait would be full of wrecks some of which would have gold. He said he knew the English were here before Magellan, exploring and being pirates in the strait. "How do you know that?" I asked.  He said he knew of a grave that had the skeleton of an English sailor that was very old. "The teeth in the skull had letters inscribed on them" he said in all seriousness "it was an English word". 

Never married and with no children, 78 year old Jose's only company are these two dogs

Before sunset Jose started up his diesel generator

a daily chore, he said, so he could have electricity at night and watch his favourite TV programme, an inane game-show called "Calle Siete" 

Jose correctly predicted the bus would be right on time, he saw the bus coming; it went past, turned around and then came back about 5 minutes later. Jose saw me off

Jose pointed out the mountain with snow on it is Mount Tarn, which was climbed by Charles Darwin when he visited this area in the 1834. Darwin was smarter than me: he came here in early February. 

Just now Mt Tarn was cloaked in cloud and topped with snow.

As soon as the bus driver opened the door, he remembered me, and simply said "Too cold?"  

"Claro!" I replied.

Day 71 GPS data: walked  13.49km

Day 71 walk section

Day 71 walk and bus to Punta Arenas

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 Text and photos copyright  © Glen David Short 2012
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