Head Above the Water (South Chile, Chiloé Island, Yaldad. 8 December 2021)
At Yaldad bay we searched for Chilean Dolphins. Already in the morning, Rob found some swimming in the calm water. It was nice sunny weather with a little breeze. We stayed on the beach to search for more dolphins and hoped to see them again. In the afternoon Rob even took a swim in the freezing water, but no more dolphins. We decided to stay the night. We looked up the tide schedule to see if we had to move our car, because the water from the sea was coming closer. But at high tide the car was still far enough from the water. No problem for the next high tide. There were some other cars at the beach with some shady people. So Rob came up with an emergency escape plan. Just to be sure. In our car we have to slide the chairs all the way to the front to make the bed behind it 2.10 meter. I was wondering if I could fit behind the wheel with the bed out, just in case we had to drive away in the middle of the night in case of trouble. Rob thought it wouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for the compliment my dear 😊. At 5.00 in the morning, Rob woke up from knocking sounds on the car. First, he thought there was somebody knocking on the door. Then he thought: hmm it’s too regular. Why would somebody keep knocking, especially in that constant rhythm? Oh nooo!! The water!! He looked out of the window and saw that the water from the sea was almost above our tire. Time for our escape plan. I got behind the wheel and it fit. So I drove us to higher grounds to keep our head and bed above the water. Good night!
Knock Knock Knocking on Penguins Door (South Argentina, Cabo Virgenes. 5 January 2022)
At Cabo Virgenes there’s a huge penguin colony. And when we say huge: it’s HUGE! At that place there are about 300.000 penguins. You can walk a trail between their nest sites, which are nothing more than a hole in the ground under a little bush. When we visited, there were many fluffy youngsters at the nests. Really cool to see! We decided to stay for the night at the entrance of the reserve. We weren’t sure if it was allowed, but since there was nobody around, we thought it would be fine for one night. At 4:30 in the morning, Rob woke up from some knocking sounds. He looked through the window to see who knocked. Nobody there! Again the knocking. Loud, even sounding angry. Were we not allowed to sleep here? Rob opened the door and a few penguins were walking around the car. Then he looked underneath the car and 10 more penguins were gathered together, all picking at the car :D Knock knock, who’s there?
Mothing Else Matters (Northeast Argentina, Urugua-í Park. 10 March 2022)
Torrential rains came down from the sky as we camped in the rainforest. We decided to watch a movie in the roof top tent and go to bed early. Only after the movie we noticed we had company. Many moths had come into our tent, even though all the mesh windows were closed! We caught them one by one and threw them outside. When we thought we had them all, we saw that there were 100’s (maybe even more than a 1000) moths outside, sheltering underneath our rain cover. When we woke up in the morning there were even more moths inside again! It turned out that there were still holes in the tent where the hinches are. And even though these are covered by loose flaps, the moths still came in. In case you’re curious: we counted them while escorting them outside… we had 72 moths inside our tent!
The 3000 Mosquitoeers (South Brazil, Volta Velha Reserve. 24 March 2022)
In the month March, exactly when we visited, mosquitos come alive en mass in Volta Velha. Going outside our car into the forest we were quickly surrounded with 100’s of mosquitos, despite the usage of heavy insect repellent. Heavy rains made us wait inside the reception building, which had so many holes that we could have just as well sat outside. Happily we decided to go into our roof top tent, quickly throwing all the things in there without letting too many mosquitos in. We fell asleep with the sound of 1000’s buzzers outside our mesh windows. Our alarm was at 06.00. But we have to be honest; we were actually scared of getting outside by the sight of our windows…
Boa Viagem (South Brazil, Curitiba. 28 March 2022)
As we were ‘in between places’ and it was getting late, we decided to spend the night at a gas station. We ate something and sat in the front of our car to watch series. Our car ‘Forrest’ gets quite some attention, as they don’t have Toyota 4Runners in Brazil. Especially none with a Chilean license plate. It also attracts the attention of the more shady guys hanging around these gas stations. So, just to be sure, windows not totally open and a safety knife next to me. Then again a shady guy walks up to our car, looks at us and says: Boa Viagem! (Good trip!). Don’t judge a book by its cover, right? Then he walks around the car, leans against the back door and starts peeing… I guess the cover of this book was right after all.
Do you have rooms for the whole night? (Brazil, São Paulo, 25 April 2022)
In cities we sometimes choose a hotel instead of sleeping in our car. The most important criterion is a secure private parking spot for Forrest. Furthermore, a nice breakfast and a good price, and we are sold. The hotel we booked in São Paulo via Booking.com met all these requirements. When we arrived there wasn’t a normal reception. With our car we had to pass a gate to enter the hotel. At the gate there was a shaded window. They could see us, but we couldn’t see them.. On the price list next to the gate weren’t prices for the whole night, but for 1, 2 or 4 hours. When we got our room key, the parking spot for Forrest was right under our room. Breakfast was served through a sliding door in the wall, and except for a lot of mirrors there was only a small window. Really private indeed! Whoops! Other people like our requirements too, but in a different way.
Who let the dogs out? (Central Brazil, Alto Paraíso de Goiás, 30 May 2022)
Finding a quiet spot to sleep without being disturbed close to a city is always a bit more challenging. After driving many country side roads, we found a small road going into tall grassland. In it there was an open space with some building materials for a house, but nothing and no one around: a perfect place for us! After it got dark we were sitting in our car when we suddenly heard dampened, but clear regular knocking on our car. “What was that?!” It almost sounded like a dog was wagging his tail against our car, but we’re in the middle of nowhere… We opened the window, had a good look around with the flashlights and saw nothing. 15 minutes later we hear a loud “OPPA!”, a Brazilian way of saying hello. Standing there was the owner of the property, with next to him his dog. We’re still not sure why he was even out all the way here, randomly checking the place out, but clearly the dog had noticed some weird people around. Luckily he found it rather humorous and we were allowed to spend the night there in the middle of (almost) nowhere.