March 10: Castro, Isla Chiloé

Today is the day of exploration. The Island of Chiloé is unique to Chile. The people who have inhabited this island have protected its traditions and culture since the early 1500s. They can still be seen plowing their fields by hand or fishing the shoreline with nets as their grandparents did before them. Time has stood still. The Chilotes' are a blend of the Mapuche Indian and the Spaniards.

The day is spent first at the local farmer's and fisherman's market to pick up supplies for a picnic in the Chiloé National Park, then on to the bay to see the "stilt homes" and the low tide. After an hours drive through the back countryside, a picnic lunch in the park seems like the perfect thing to do. One can get a real appetite from just sitting in a bus and watching the farmers work!!

A lunch of fresh produce from the market including fresh squeezed apple juice. cheese, avocado, tomato, bread, apples, bananas, grapes, and cake. Betsy's birthday is today, so we had to have dessert!

The exercise of the day is a hike through the park which seems so much like walking through Middle Earth from "Lord of the Rings". The trees of this area are Tepuel -- the hardest wood on earth. It is said that one small log of tepuel will burn at temperatures that can break a traditional Scandinavian furnace. The National Park was created in order to protect this tree from extinction. Originally the Chilean government when under dictatorial rule wanted to sell the wood to Japan. However, the people of Chiloé protested to such a degree that the federal government rethought the decision. Fortunately for the country and the tree, the land now is a national park. Also the land is the sole supply of materials for the Chilote for their needs. While exposed to the Spanish missionaries, they are still to this day more devoted to their medicine man and the traditions of the culture.

View From Hotel Window

Algae Farmers In The Early Morning

Potato Man

Madam Clam

Bread Senora

Chilean Carrots

Chilote Farmer

Peas and Garlic


Sea Algae

Happy Fisherman

His Fish!

Fresh From the Sea Oysters!

Congrio = Eel!!

A Long Day At the Market!!

Marlene: "Is He Really Going to Smoke the Fish Here In The Middle of All This?" YES!!

Maggie: "Just Let Me Smell It -- I Think I Recognize This!"

Mary: "Betsy, It Is Your Birthday, You Pick!"

One Clam a Second -- Master Schucker!!!

How Do You Want Your Fish Filleted?

Another Farmer

And Another With His Tea

Happy People!

Lunch In The Making!

Betsy's Birthday Flowers


Stilt City

Low Tide!

JoAnn and Jan Enjoying the Sights

Maggie and Mary

Marlene: "Did You Like My Pedicure?"

Lorraine, Betsy, Mary Heavy Into Discussion

Alex Busy At Work

Team Work

Team Supervision!

Marilyn: "Okay Crew, This Is What We Are Going To Do!!!"

Maggie: "Jackie, It is All In the Wrist!"

Carol: "See, Alex, I Know How To Do This!"

Jackie: "I Know I Can Get This -- Watch!"

Betsy: "Is That REALLY a Birthday Cake?"

Alex and Jackie: "You Bet!! Woman Tours Never Forgets A Birthday!!! Many Happy Returns of The Day!!"

Betsy: "This is the Best Birthday!"

Alex: "Follow Me!"

Maggie and Lorraine Leading The Group

Mary and Betsy

Indigenous Flower

Mary in MIddle Earth

Local Craftsman Hidden In The Countryside

Senor Craftsman = 88 Years Young!

The Group in Senor Craftsman's Yard

A Few Minutes of Joy With The Women!!

Above the Old Man's Home

A View of The Valley

The Sea

The Valley Again

Into the Mist

Up, Up and Away Onto The Dunes

Kathy, Jan, JoAnn

Chilote Dinner Hall

Our Lamb Smoking

The Wonderful Chilote Women


Dinner of Lamb and Fresh Veggies!!

Local Chilote Entertainment

And Our Own Marlene!