Paso del indio
A mountain of bliss has descended upon us. Puerto Eden must be the friendliest place on earth.
A few days ago we were all set to arrive in Eden in the late afternoon but about fifteen miles short the engine cooling water pump that we have been worrying about finally bit the dust. We killed the engine before it over heated leaving Mags on deck sailing in a dying breeze and myself below trying to fit the spare pump. We or rather i had more trouble than expected and then the breeze died altogether leaving Zephyrus happily drifting along on the current. The only way to get any where was to launch our row boat and tow the mighty Zephyrus by oar power to an anchorage about a mile away and against the current.
Our arms are still feeling it but we both feel that we have passed our Scouts rowing badge. Anyway we made the anchorage and fixed on a new (ish) pump by using part of the bread board to make a new bracket, and the whole thing held together with egg cartons and sticky back plastic!
Too late to get to Eden by this time so we hunkered down to watch a movie and wait for the morning. Just as we were going to bed we spotted a light in the bay and saw another yacht had become entangled in our mooring lines. “Marie Beaumont”, sailed by Scully an Irish man from Sligo, the first yacht we had seen for a couple of weeks had also lost their engine and also rowed into the same bay! The chances must be a million to one!
The following morning we motored to Eden and dropped the anchor in the middle of a delightful bay. As we siestad on deck, in came the Navimag ferry with our friend Tom on board, 24 hours early. Chile is wonderful for that. Tom was very relieved to see us as we were not due here till tomorrow. He is a lovely guy and has fitted right in.
Puerto Eden is a tiny community of roughly one hundred people, and the last stronghold of the Kaweshka people, the local tribe historically. The people are sponsored by the government to stay here and according to who you speak to there are between 3 and 50 Kaweshka people left in the world.
The rest are Chilean fishermen and their families.
The first evening Mags and i went ashore to see about the pump issue and to try for a shower somewhere. There are no roads here and certainly no vehicles, just a wooden boardwalk around the bay. The first guy we met wanted to stop and talk so we did and then he said he wanted walk with us and said he would be back in fifteen minutes (don’t know why, they”re just like that here) but we left to get on with our stuff.
So we were looking for a guy called Pedro who we thought might be able to help us and calling at the wrong house were invited in to chat with the residents, an old woman and her daughter and a very friendly cat who made a nest on my lap and then stayed there even when I stood up!
They were delightful and offered to sell us bowls made of woven reeds, lovely really and as we had no cash with us we promised to return another day. Calling at another house , still hot on the trail of the illusive Pedro we were accosted by a whole tribe of kittens and as we left met an old lady who asked if we wanted to buy any bread and if so how many kilos.
Following the very fat and jolly Maria as she waddled back to her place we thought we would shortly be in possession of some bread. Maria had other ideas however and sat us down at her kitchen table (for a minute I thought she was going to make the bread as we waited) and came in with a huge kettle and a bowl of tea bags from Middlesex in England. Next came horrible looking white slabs on a plate. Something of a local thing, this is boiled dough and much to my delight. Mag’s received twice as much as me. You eat this gooey watery mixture with sugar on top . We were both gagging on this feast yet managing to make the Mmmmm delightful yummy noises. Much to Maria’s approval.
There is a “hostel” here so we called in to see if showers were available but the owner “Rosa” mistook us for potential guests and said they were shut. On explaining we only wanted showers she welcomed us in and turned the gas on to heat some water and lacking a light bulb I had my first real shower for five weeks in the dark. Bliss. We offered to pay her for our ablutions but she refused our cash and said we were welcome to comeback any time we wanted.
The rest of the evening was taken up on board with boiled eggs toast and marmite with glasses of pisco sour a brew of the local spirit with lemon juice and sugar and egg white. Better than it sounds.
The following morning a long boat pulled up alongside Zephyrus and the owner Raul motioned for me to join him..haaa i thought a man who knows about water pumps, Raul and I then chugged out of the bay and away from Eden , Curious I thought but by now had realised Eden was a bit like this, and went along with it. It turns out Raul had just dropped by to collect me for breakfast, a while later he hauled up a bag from the bay, and began shucking giant mussels called cholgas! And some scallops…..He then produced some lemon juice and we sat there munching rather he sat there munching whilst I rolled large mouthfuls of shellfish about ..I really really wish I could say that I liked raw shelfish; mussles and scallops but im not great with them even at the best of times, and especially first thing in the morning, and without even having had a cup of tea . I was a bit of a mess on return and needed a lie down .
Since this time we have met many more great folk and have been taken in by the locals with wonderful adandon.
My favourite thing to do ever! is chopping logs!….Everybody here uses wood for fuel, So I am forever stopping and hefting axes, then thanking the owner profusely much to the ammusment and mutterings of loco gringo!
We have also met a lovely guy, Don Miguel Concha, who has been tireless with his offerings of help in our search for the elusive water pump it has now been found hiding on a dusty shelf in Santiago and will be on its way south this Monday. Don Concha has paid roughly four hundred pounds sterling from his own account for us, so as to speed things up. Trusting we will return the money once we get to an area that it is possible to do so.
So we are held up for a week more or less and it would be easy to look at that way… held up…But its really not what this journey is or should be about ; not the mode of travel; which we love, not even the land though it is stunning in the extreme, but the people, and the spending of time amongst them, the humility of folk who, with nothing to give, gift us everything.
Eden is a colourful place the houses are painted the same as the fishing boats that tug on ropes at the end of every garden. The colours of each change depending on what paint is available, this year is yellow.
The sun is shining and we rest among the Kaweshka