To save a bit on driving time and gas consumption and to take advantage of a unique opportunity to check out the beauty of the Chilean fjords, we decided to take the Navimag Ferry from Puerto Natales more than 2,000 kilometers north to the town of Puerto Montt. The ferry is basically a commercial operation transporting commercial goods such as produce and livestock from the isolated southern coast of Chile to Puerto Montt, where the main highway begins and runs all the way north to Santiago and beyond. In recent years, the Navimag company has begun taking passengers on the ferry and during the peak tourist season, the ferry makes scheduled stops along the way including many of the glaciers.
Unfortunately, it was not the peak season for us and since it was still considered winter, we were on the abbreviated trip to Puerto Montt. The ferry was still quite interesting and the sights were amazing. We met a lot of great people and Laura turned 25 somewhere in the middle of the southern fjords of Chile. Unbeknown to the passengers onboard the Navimag, we were actually making really good time and when we arrived in Puerto Montt a day early, there was a near mutiny onboard. A crisis was averted but not before many heated discussions in the dinning room. Eventually, Navimag agreed to put us all up in the Holiday Inn for the night, but that would have to wait until we completed the disembarkation process. Since the ferry sped ahead, we arrived in port at night and during low tide. The tide was low enough that it forced us all to have to clamber down the side of the ship to small harbor boats waiting to whisk us ashore. Because the tide was too low to approach the dock, Steve and I had to return at 2 in the morning when the tide was high enough for the vessel to unload to fetch the Toyotas. It turned out to be quite the experience.