Without a car at our disposal, We took a 24 hour ferry from Coyhaique to Puerto Montt. It was a derelict operation. Formerly a popular booze cruise, alcohol was no longer served thanks to a series of unfortunate events. A trip had been halted by a beer can carelessly thrown into the engine room. A cabin had been destroyed when someone passed out after lighting a camping stove in their room to cook a midnight meal. So, we did what any gentlemen like ourselves would do without alcohol at their disposal. We played chess.
Even though we passed through the best landscapes overnight, the voyage was beautiful, and it gave me a thirst to return to Patagonia to properly explore the relatively untouched mountains along the carretera austral.
We disembarked in Puerto Montt, a city that even the locals dislike. Prostitutes. Stray dogs. Casinos. The stench of canneries. It made Coyhaique look downright charming. It was possibly the ugliest place I’ve ever been, and the gray weather wasn’t doing it any favors. The guide book says that the best thing about Puerto Montt is the variety of ways to leave.
It was a shame that Clay’s last hours were spent there, although we made the best of it. I really enjoyed the two and a half weeks since Clay had arrived. I was excited to get out of the wind and cold, and to get back to the rhythm of travelling solo, but I was sad to see him go.