Valdivia, Chile, day 800
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Biking total: 138 days, 6167 km, 29’750 altimeters.
Climbing total: 262 days, 3411 km, 128’847 altimeters.
Sailing total: 400 days, 13’669 nm, 26 altimeters (Panama Channel)
by Jane Le Lec (TOPtoTOP member from NZ)
Niebla, at the mouth of the Rio Valdivia was a place of strategic importance since the arrival of the Spanish Armada in the Seventeenth Century. After founding the port of Valdivia the Spanish built castles and fortifications in the area to protect themselves from attacks by foreign ships and also from the indigenous people. The castle walls and cannons still remain at Niebla.
On a summers day Niebla is very popular outing for Valdivian people because of the sandy beaches there. Families go to enjoy a beach barbeque (asado) or picnic, to relax in the sun and to cool off in the sea ( a chilly 11 degrees C because of the Humboldt Current). The strong currents and the mixing of riverwater and seawater makes it a good place for birds; including pelicans, cormorants, vultures, hawks and different types of gulls. Sealions also live in this area, attracted by the plentiful fish.
One afternoon ToptoTop joined by the Le Lec family did a clean up around the rocky coastline and picked up 5 sackfuls of rubbish. Plastic bottles,plastic bags and bits of fishing net were caught in the rocks around the high tide mark. Also some plasic rubbish was floating in the water.
Local people were collecting seaweed to sell to a pharmaceutical company. Later in the afternoon the local fishermen sailed back in their small boats. It was a nice sight to see working boats under sail.
Puyehue National Park
Our young NZ-member Marissa just came back from a trekking in Puyehue National Park. Here her report:
Mum, Dad and I trekked in the Puyehue National Park for 5 days. When we got out of the bus we were instantly surrounded by huge horse flies that buzzed around us and bit through our clothes. We escaped them once we reached the forests of fuchsia and beech trees. The next day we climbed volcano Puyehue to the crater that was filled with snow. The walk across a pumice desert to Los Banos (Hot Pools) was like walking on the moon. At Los Geisires we peered into the sulphurous fumes trying to see the geysers. I liked the brightly coloured rocks around the fumaroles and the bubbling mudpots.
Ramon a Suisse from St. Gallen, who lives in Valdivia invited us to the Oncol Park not far away from Pachamama.
Our walk in Parque Oncol, a private conservation park close to Valdivia, was a rewarding experience. The native forest was alive with birdsong and we saw a beautiful hummingbird and a noisy Chucao. The