Thursday, February 15, 2018


[Maryanne]Apiao is a small very rural island with no obvious reason for a tourist to visit. For us, it was a very protected anchorage, between Quintupeu and Chiloe, and, well, why not?

Visitors and the other boat here in Apiao

[Kyle]Once we’d settled at anchor we were visited by a nice local family in a rowboat, which is how they all get from one side of the u-shaped island to the other, rather than a long trip in the road. They seemed quite amazed to see a visiting sailboat to their island. With them was an Italian anthropologist who was doing a study on the island. She never mentioned what exactly she was studying there. I got the impression she didn't want to say in front of her subjects. {Maryanne: Having just arrived ourselves were were not at our most alert. I think actually she had previously visited as an anthropologist, and was now returning as a friend of the family.. Amazingly we later discovered that Giovanna Bacchiddu's PhD based on studies on the island was from St Andrews university where I had studied for my BSc in Marine & Environmental Biology}

In the morning, after a good rest, we were up bright and early for an exploration of Apiao. We rowed ashore and scrambled up a path by the beach and found ourselves at the edge of a tidy farm. We called out and knocked and waved, but found nobody home. Oh well, don't disturb the livestock, close the gates behind you, etc.

At the far end of the farm, I met the guard dog. He was barking at me with enough force that it seemed he was going to blow his head right off. Since I have a certain history of trying to befriend animals that want me to just go away, I toddled on up to the end of his leash to say hi. This seemed to confuse him terribly and he started alternating barking fits with cowering nervously at my lack of retreat. Eventually, we determined that he was a Good Boy!, a really Good Boy! All of the acting out was because nobody seemed to realize that he just wanted someone to give his ears a good scratch. I'm pretty sure I'm now his favorite intruder EVER.

We crossed another two farms before we finally found the road. It was pretty impressive to think that each house and barn we saw was built without the luxury of even a driveway to bring in the materials.

Even in this remote island, the church was all locked up!

We followed the road for a bit, but never found anything resembling a population center. The largest group of people we encountered were engaged in moving seaweed above the high tide line to dry. Mmmm, seaweed! The few people we met along the way were happy to chat, but also seemed unwilling to linger for too long. Most of our walk was in solitude, although we had the distinct feeling that our presence as the only strangers on the island had already made the rounds.

Locals are farmers and fishermen. Much of the beach above high water was set aside for drying seaweed

The local airstrip was empty aside from a few horses

On our way home, we encountered a bunch of kids acting kind of like the guard dog at the farm. When we stopped to say hello, they hid behind each other with curiosity betrayed by their big, shining eyes. Only after we were some distance away would they start shouting after us with English phrases they had learned in school.

“Hello!...Good Morning!”, they yelled, delighting in eliciting a wave back and another English phrase in return. They did it over and over again until we were out of sight.

Back at the farm, after petting the wagging guard dog hello (What have I done?), we met Juan. It was his place. For some reason that made me hungry {Maryanne: Kyle's fav. restaurant is a Mexican called Juan's place, in Berkeley California}. He was very nice and was very gracious about us using his beach and trespassing on his farm to get to the road. After all, almost everybody on the island has to cross somebody's farm to get to the beach from the road.

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