Day 20 Welcome to Edén
Welcome to Edén in Kaweshkar, Spanish and English
From Caleta Grau it was as short journey to Puerto Edén, though there was no room for complacency with rocks like this mid-channel.
Thirty minutes ahead of arrival, we radioed the Navy and asked them for instructions. “Please call at the Harbour Master’s office which is in front of grrggrrtgrrrg.” “I think I got that, Franco, it must be in front of the new pier.” I said confidently.
Caramor duly anchored, we presented ourselves at the building which we thought housed the Harbour Master’s office. A friendly policeman told us that we needed the building in front of the village, the one with the blue roof. “Ah” we answered, “you mean the one on the other side of the bay?” “Yes, yes, that one.”
We paddled over in Ding and were met on the jetty by a dashing young sailor who helped us tie up. A true gentleman, he offered me his hand to step ashore and then returned to assist the old captain. Chilean men are, without exception, chivalrous, it isn’t patronising, just polite. Franco, used to seeing me working on a heaving spray covered foredeck in a Force 8, hadn’t bothered to assist me and he wondered what Chilean men make of Europeans’ wanting gallantry.
The formalities over, he offered Ding a lift back across the bay and we got to go too. There is something to be said for outboard engines.
Our friendly sailor and Franco and Ding
The next agenda item was to sort out Franco’s tooth. It started hurting (badly) a couple of days ago and we were becoming concerned. Puerto Edén has a state of the art primary healthcare centre, unfortunately no dentist (one calls once a month). His tooth was examined and a small black spot found but nothing could be done here. After consulting a dentist by phone, they gave him painkillers and an antibiotic to stop the infection as treatment would be delayed. The recommendation was to visit a dentist as soon as possible. A ferry would be leaving for Puerto Natales on Sunday.
We wandered along the boardwalk. There are no roads nor cars in this village. In places the ground is steep, everywhere it is covered with the thick spongy moss, lichen, trees, dead wood, more moss and lichen, tree ferns, common to this area so it was expedient to build boardwalks rather than tarmac paths. The walkways join up all the houses. Some of the planks are new, others are so rotten that you wonder whether you might take a dive into the undergrowth.
Our next stop was at the ‘ticket office’, someone’s house with the ferry prices pinned up outside. “Please come in, would you like some coffee?” Coffee came with buns and honey. The three little girls looked on timidly, suddenly Rosita, the youngest, dashed over to Franco and hugged him, much to his surprise. We had been accepted and all three did the rounds with hugs and kisses. We stayed some more and I got to taste their ’cebiche’ made with raw conger eel, lemon juice, red onion, tomato and Chilote garlic (a sweet pungent giant variety). As our hosts and I tucked into this delicious dish, Franco looked on drooling, the tomatoes (he is allergic) would have made him ill. A return ticket to Puerto Natales was purchased, and Franco will depart Sunday, returning next Friday morning.
Edén is not a nautical version of ‘Paradise’, the word is from the Kaweshkar language