Sunday, 17 September 2017

Marina Quinched

William and Valeska with their first grandchild
This marina hosted a huge National Day Celebration when we were here 10 years ago. Alas, the inspiration behind this marina – William Bannister – passed away several years ago. However, the greatness of his vision continues and his wife and sons are carrying on. He would be gratified at the size of the beautiful araucaria trees he planted as seedlings all those years ago, and also at how well his ‘Dream’ marina is being maintained. The moorings (which had been too light to restrain the heavy wooden boats tethered to them) have been reinforced and a diver was out checking them as we arrived. Boats stored here were
being aired in anticipation of the summer season.

Quehui Cathedral
Altar decorations - National Day
Unfortunately, there are no festivities here
this year, no guitarists and singers, so we’re moving on to Castro (the main town on Chiloe). We’ll be back here Wednesday night to enjoy this peaceful place and to use the laundry facilities. Of course, the old saying “you can never go back” holds true both for the loss of people and changes in places.

Surprisingly, we sometimes (and unexpectedly) have the reverse experience. Yesterday we re-encountered an old acquaintance.
Church guitarist practicing

Chiloe Island is known for its wooden churches which have been given Unesco World Heritage Site designation. We were able to visit many of these churches ten years ago, but on arriving at Isla Quehui we decided that one of the two churches in view had NOT been visited 10 years ago.
Christ's image

We launched the dinghy, motored to the beach, tied to a fence post and chatted with the owner - who then directed us to the ‘correct’ route to the church. As we approached the church, a well-dressed man in his late 30s ‘found’ us and took us across the rain-soaked lawn and inside. As we entered, he tried to stop us from proceeding into the church - I obeyed - but Larry went up to the front and asked the guitarist whether he could take pictures of her and of the church. It was acceptable (as it had been all those years ago).  We left a donation, and started back across the lawn whereupon Ignacio tried to insist that we go straight on with him – after our insistence that we needed to get to Chiloe, he resignedly pleaded that we take his photo and email him a copy. And THEN (almost simultaneously), as we realized it was not a real e-address, we both remembered that he was the same person who had manoeuvred us into an expensive meal 10 years ago. I had felt sorry for him and  subsequently sent him postcards from places we visited for over a year. And yet (with few visitors) he forgot us. With limited abilities, he does help his own economy and the village he lives in as a meeter-greeter. We had not only forgotten him, but also forgotten that particular church until we started photographing it.
Eliana - singer-guitarist 
Hearing the guitarist practicing for the upcoming Mass reminded me of our most recent guitarist friend – Eliana – met in Valdivia and instrumental in getting us some copies of Violeta Parras songs of the 80s. She and her style are great – and reminders of Joan Baez’s protest songs of that era. Ellie came over a few times to play and sing with the piano, and she secured a print copy of V.P.s most famous songs, so we’ll be trying to learn them during our trip south…it’s a great way to learn the language.
As the time approached to leave Ellie and the other friends we’d made, I felt my usual mixed feelings and regrets. However, Nature helped me in two ways.
Firstly – Chile apparently has a limitless supply of wood and it’s the cheapest heating choice. Only now are people able to concern themselves with the health implications of this smoke. Along with myself, many Valdivians suffer from smoke allergies. Throughout the winter, we experienced connsistent wood smoke except when the rain kept down the wood fumes. Fortunately (?) it rained a lot of the time in the last 3 months we were in Valdivia. However, two nights before we left, I awoke from a nightmare. I was still back teaching in Ontario and desperately looking for the emergency Epi-pen (for one of the kids) in my desk at school.  I couldn’t breathe.
Secondly - the arrival of Spring with it’s pollen-producers had decorated our boat with yellow pollen.
Gradually as we motored past Valdivia and the last garden of yellow shore-dwelling bushes
I started to be able to fill my lungs. Now we are going to have to trail south either ahead of Spring or out of reach of pollinating trees.

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