Day 20 of 68 – Isla Róbinson Crusoe, Chile

January 23, 2018 Paul Groves

It is hard to believe that it’s been almost 3 weeks since we started our journey. We still have 8 days before we get to Antarctica. Days 19 and 21 are sea days with the typical lectures, cooking demonstrations and art classes. We have a guest chef from Chile onboard, Chef Manuel Matamala. Ron learned to make Currasco Marino, a sort of fish slider, and some other tasty dishes. On Day 19 in the evening, we approached what looked like a mysterious island, shrouded in mist. As we got closer, it turned out to be Robinson Crusoe Island. The seas have been a little choppy, so it was nice to pull into the bay where the waters were quiet.

Today’s port was the island of Róbinson Crusoe and the town of San Juan Batista. The island was the home to a marooned sailor, Alexander Selkirk, who’s story is thought to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s book “Robinson Crusoe”. To reflect the literary lore associated with the island and attract tourists, the Chilean government renamed the place, Más a Tierra, to Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966.

During World War I it was the site where a German cruiser, Dresden, was scuttled. It still lies about 250 ft underwater in the bay where we anchored.

In 2010 the island was struck by a tsunami, killing 16 people.

There’s not a lot to do in the town but there are 3 main hiking paths for visitors, one of which we did. The main road up through the town was very steep. It was not surprising to see a sign designating this road as the tsunami evacuation route. After our hike, we visited the small church along the steep road and then found a nice little cafe where we ate a homemade apple turnover with a nice cup of coffee before returning to the ship.