“No one even considered it a volcano, but that changed quickly. On May 2, 2008, Volcán Chaitén, 10km northeast of its namesake town, began a month-long eruption with a 20km-high column of ash. During the first week, successive explosions emitted more than a cubic kilometer of rhyolitic ash. The rampage caused flooding and severe damage to homes, roads and bridges, decimated thousands of livestock and spewed ash as far as Buenos Aires. Chaitén’s 4000 inhabitants were evacuated.” Excerpt from Lonely Planet South America.
Chaiten is a lot smaller than I imagined but despite this I didn’t get to see any of it – as the rain continued to fall. Thankfully my delightful accommodation had excellent WiFi, so I was able to catch up with ‘administration chores’.
Trying to leave town proved to be a challenge. Naviera Austral, the Ferry company with the monopoly around here, has an office in town and I still had a bone to pick with them. Unfortunately, every time I went to their office it was closed.
So I paid a visit to the bus station. The once a day bus service to Puerto Montt was fully booked – for the next five days!
I went back to the ferry company, thankfully the office was open this time and the lovely lady behind the counter spoke enough English to understand my problem from nearly a month ago. She sorted me out a ferry ticket to Puerto Montt and agreed to waiver the fee. If I could actually board this ferry I would complete the journey I had originally set out to do – but in reverse!
Chaiten to Puerto Montt ferry – 12 mind numbing hours!
Next stage: Puerto Montt to Valparaiso.