Wednesday 7th November. After a week in Ecuador and nearly two weeks in Chile we finally have a WiFi connection – it’s a miracle! Before I tell you what’s been happening, a big thank you for those of you who have obviously been regularly visiting the blog, despite the lack of postings.
Our week in Equador, at the Bellavista Rain Forest Lodge was fabulous. If you look at their website you get a sense of the special nature of the place – not just the bird life, which was extraordinarily good, but the scenery, climate and people too. Our guide, Andrea, was first rate – very enthusiastic and competent, and between us we managed to gross about two hundred species. We spent a night in a rather quaint hotel in Quito, before departing for Santiago and Chile, our last South American country of the trip.
We were met by Joe and Gabriella, the soon to be newly-weds, at the airport, and after a wash and brush-up at their apartment in Santiago, we headed for Quintero, the coast and three nights at the Pirates Cape cabanas. A bit of local birding on Saturday – mostly revisiting favourite old haunts like Penguin Island and the Sulphuric Acid plant!, got us pumped up for Sundays pelagic. The five of us (Joe came too) and Franco our guide, on a local converted fishing boat, alone somewhere in the pacific, watching thousands of sea birds including four species of albatross! A fantastic seven hour sea bird fest. Monday was spent sight seeing in Valparaiso – the artists quarter was particularly quirky, and birding at the delightful El Peral reserve – which provided us with our first Chilean ‘tick’ of the trip, a pair of Black headed Duck. The following day we made our way to the airport, via Estra Lampa, for our lunchtime departure to Puerto Mont and four days on the rain drenched Chiloe Island. In the event we had more sun than rain and thoroughly enjoyed some much anticipated chilling time, in front of the log fire, at Caulin Lodge cabanas. From there we drove north to Pucon in the Chilean Lake district, to meet up with Joe again and two of his brothers, Matt & Josh – over for the wedding with Luke, a friend of Josh’s. We had four lovely days together, in the shadow of the awesome VolcanoVillarica – though we ‘oldies’ declined to participate in most of the extended stag ( re-named Yak) do, including Volcano climbing, white-water canoeing, drinking games and gambling till four in the morning at the casino!
We’re now on our way back to Santiago and the wedding – which starts at 7.00 pm on Friday night and goes on till Saturday breakfast!
Will post some pictures of the last few weeks, and the wedding of course, as soon as the power of the internet permits. Bye for now…