Calen

There is a magical house in a magical bay on a secret island that's lost
in the past. The beach, all shingle and larger stones, makes a stripe
along one side. It isn't the edge of the village, but rather a gateway
from it. Parallel to the shore, along the entire bay, float hundreds of
blue and white buoys marking the top of mussel farms. Slightly further
out, in a square on the surface of the water, orange buoys identify the
edge of a salmon farm. I wonder what this place must look like to a
seal: lines of mussels dangling on ropes, thousands of fish bubbling
within nets. Chemicals and food in the water (throughout the area) that
have been added to feed both. A three dimensional view of this bay would
surely be a lot less tranquil than mine.

The other access point to this village is by road. A dirt track runs
parallel to the sea, at some point dissolving in both directions into
beach. Small houses are scattered along the shore, along the road, and
in its most populated area, along a few roads. In the middle of this
cluster also sit a church, a couple of shops, and an old red fire engine
from the 1920s or 30s, still functioning, the pride of the village. A
bus visits twice a day, taking locals to and from work and school. The
Sunday afternoon bus is most crowded, taking passengers who stay away
for the week to their work and study places several hours away.

Chiloé is a special place. Before visiting I was told it remained 100
years in the past, and had the highest population of churches in the
world. Both may be true, and I don't get the feeling anyone wants it to
be any different. If anything, there are many projects trying to keep it
the same, but with the comforts of this century. I look up from my
keyboard to see a pig walking along the beach, past a small chilean flag
on a post. Out in the bay float two beautiful wooden boats built
entirely by hand by local craftsmen. I am surrounded by books recording
Chiloé folklore, artwork, music, and faces. One of them tells of the
vibrant indigenous communities still living on the nearby islands.
Others are full of photos of boats, the building of boats, the stories
and uses of boats, the history of these boats. The next village along
from here, San Juan, is a boat-building hub. All wood, mostly
traditional 'lanches' with a wide bellies and shallow draft so they can
easily beach at low tide. I guess if we intend to explore the world by
boat, I'll be seeing more of this industry.

Zephyrus is moored in front of this house. It's our third visit here,
and this time we are proud to have arrived by sea. We are having a few
quiet days here, making things good, cleaning, sorting, preparing, and
enjoying. We expect some friends to arrive to celebrate New Years eve
and after that we'll head onwards again, or maybe around. Maybe even
around the island for a taste of the real Pacific on the other side.

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