Day 22 of 68 — Castro, Chile

January 25, 2018 Paul Groves

Castro is located in a large bay that is protected from the swells we have been experiencing in the ocean. The city does not have a pier for a large ship like ours, so we anchored in the bay and took “tenders” to the shore. The water was very calm, so the tender rides were smooth and easy. All around the bay, we could see lines of floats which are mussel farms. Castro also has salmon and rainbow trout farms inland. Most of this fish is for export. Although we saw boats along the shore, actual fishing does not seem to be an important industry here.

We signed up for a tour of a national park. On the way, however, we were able to see several interesting sights. There are many churches in the area, but they were built by the locals which means, boatbuilders. The churches are all made of wood and sometimes painted very bright colors, such as the yellow and purple church. You can see the shipbuilders art in the construction and decoration of the churches. The churches are designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Also, Castro is known for it “Palafitos”, which are houses built on stilts. The tides are more extreme on the bay waters because of the smaller volume of liquid. The water levels can vary by 21 feet in a day. These brightly painted houses were becoming run down, but their popularity has increased lately and people from the larger cities in Chile have purchased and refurbished these homes. They are now rather expensive to buy.

The National Park of Chiloe is a preserve of indigenous species. We saw mostly trees and flowers, a few birds and some really big flies. There are nice pathways built throughout the park. Sometimes the pathways looked like the entrance to a secret garden… very cool. The main indigenous tree, the Tepu tree, is known for its very hard wood. It is not usually large enough pieces to make furniture or for building, but a limb will make an excellent handle for a strong ax as long as the wood is cut and worked before it dries completely. The wood is also an excellent source of firewood. The flowers were also blooming and very pretty.