Monday, February 12, 2018

Caleta Porcelana - Hot Springs and some serious tacking

[Maryanne]We woke up at Estero Comau to find we were the only remaining boat… Even the camping kayakers had left. Apart from a couple of local working boats, we had the place to ourselves!

Moring at Caleta Porcelana

The local farmhouse will issue you a ticket to enter the hot springs trail

Ashore was a very picturesque working farm with a beautiful farmhouse set in the hill overlooking the Fjord, but there was also a set of natural hot springs that we were determined to brave. This whole area is very active geo-thermally so there are a number of places to visit where hot springs are found. This particular location we understood had a fee associated with it, but we were uncertain what that fee would be (travel and guidebooks are generally old and with limited information) – one suggested it may be as much as $120 US for a park fee entrance… Gulp. We were hugely relieved to find it was only $700 CLP each (about $1.20 US).

Elsewhere locally (closer to Puerto Montt and the road networks) there are some very high end, spa-like options – this however was a much more basic “there is a bit of warm water in the river in the middle of nowhere” option, but at least there were no crowds.

Nestled in the forest we found our perfect pool

With a smile and a wave from the woman at the farmhouse we set off on a trail up the hill in search of these warmer waters. We had our swimwear on under our clothes, and amazingly the sun came out and we were hot on the walk up – we had a perfect day for a plunge. Eventually we started to see patches of steaming water, and as we turned each bend in the trail wondered if this was it, only to find another pool a little further on. The higher we climbed the hotter the pools got as the warm water mixed with the cooler stream waters, so eventually we turned back down the hill to find our ‘goldilocks’ version and our own private soak. Ahh bliss.

Eventually we found we had exhausted the fun of sitting in hot water, so we dried, dressed and ambled back down to the boat.

Luckily we didn't see the large beetle until after our dip

We were ‘done’ so early with our trip, we determined it would be good to take the boat back along the sound and anchor further north (back at Quintupeu) to save some time for the following passage. So off we set!

A beautiful day to sail

With no real time pressure, the gentle head winds and relatively narrow sounds were a pleasure to tack back and forth in. There were plenty of birds, the odd sea lion and some stunning views of mountains and waterfalls. The sun shone and the skies were blue – oh, what a wonderful day to be sailing about in a boat!

Aside from the view we had the odd plane and bird to distract us

We were happy enough with that - but just as we arrived in the spur for Quintupeu we had a pod of dolphins join us and hang out for a while, leaving us eventually to anchor in the peaceful Quintupeu (this time alone).

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