Archive for the ‘Chile’ Category

North of Chile

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Chile

Once I passed the border line-up and got my papers in order I was ready to take upon the desert. First town was San Pedro de Atacama which sounded familiar but it seemed packed with tourists from all around so I didn’t stay. Prices were also pretty high up, especially compared to every other place I have been to, but I was going to have to get used to Chile’s high $$. Turns out that San Pedro de Atacama is supposed to be the site where they filmed the moon landing, but I still think that it was done in a studio and not under the stars. Either way, the moon like desert seemed to be attracting lots of people. I just wanted to get to the ocean as fast as possible since I hadn’t seen it in about 2-3 months.

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I started riding, and riding and riding some more. There was no vegetation, only desert, copper mines and mining trucks everywhere.

Mining train

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Finally as the night was falling I made it to a costal town with tons of tourists. I asked around if there was camping but couldn’t get any positive results. A few km down the road from the town, I found a HUGE lot, right by the sea with noone around… perfect spot!

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The next day, I started riding along the coast. Just a few km down the road there was this “natural monument” as they call it here.

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And then the dirt roads started. I had to go a few 100km on these as the northern part of the Chilean coast is not that developed. Looks like mining companies have a monopoly over the land.

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After riding most of the day, I stopped for a few seconds to admire the scenery. A few meters down, there were temporary fisherman houses and one fisherman invited me from afar to go eat something. I was really hungry so I couldn’t refuse.

Seafood and potatoes, fried fish…. ahhh soo good and soo fresh!

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The next day they took me out fishing.

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This plastic yellow hose is used for diving. It just plugs into a home made compressor and into the regulator. Then they use rubber around the joints to keep it tight and the air from escaping. The better fishing is around 20m deep so they dive with this system to around that depth. There is no emergency bottle or any real emergency system at all.

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The compressor system. A small motor is hooked up to a compressor and then to a big air container and then to the yellow hose from above.

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First catch of the day. Not a bad day! Gotta go down a couple more times though.

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A bit tired, but gotta go back in! Many fisherman do this as their job a few months a year. They come to this region where they build a temporary house on the beach on GVT land, fish for a few months then go home with the $$ for a few months. Then come back and do it all over again. BTW, did you notice the thick wet suit? The waters are freezing up here.

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2nd catch of the day. The captain is happy, it’s been a great day and an incredible experience for me. Thanks again for the hospitality guys!

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