investigating sightseeing tours from Santiago I discovered tours to Robinson Crusoe island.
a little over 400 miles from the coast of Chile, with 700 or so people
living on the island, it seemed a great adventure.
Alexander Selkirk made the island famous after he was left on the
island in 1704. For four years and four months he survived
alone until in 1709 another British privateer arrived at the island.
Selkirk's account of the ordeal sparked the imagination of Daniel Defoe, who
used it as the basis for his famous novel, Robinson Crusoe.
could I resist visiting such a remote island?
A small 8 seat plane flies there when
there are enough people or cargo to make the trip, depending on weather
I had expected an early departure to Robinson Crusoe
Island from Santiago on Lassa. However the flight was changed to
a 12.30pm departure. Arriving at the small airport I discovered
that the flight had been further delayed and wouldn't be leaving until
4.30pm. A few others, including a couple from San Diego, were also
We were taken to a restaurant to eat while we
waited for the flight. Eventually we were taken to the plane for
the 2 hour flight to the island.
Arriving at 6.30pm we unloaded
our luggage and made our way from the airstrip to the jetty to take the
open fishing boat to the village. The airstrip is located at the
opposite end of the island and the boat takes 1˝ hours to make the
journey from the airstrip to the village.
As the sun set it
became really cold as the wind clawed at my body. It seemed the
little boat was struggling through the waves as the the engine droned
and the darkening sky merged into the grey sea. After what seemed
like an age we saw the lights of the village and after landing we were
taken to our accommodation, the Refugio Nautico.
I was freezing,
and so attempted to take a hot shower before dinner. However the
water was reluctant to heat up and it took an age before I could coax
enough hot water from the system to be able to take a shower.
After some hot food I retired to bed.
The weather was cold
and windy the next morning, and I found that there was no hot water so
a shower was out of the question. At breakfast my spirits
were to take another knock as there were a group of birdwatchers
staying at the Refugio. Unfortunately I find birdwatchers to be
extremely boring and true to form these guys had only one topic of
conversation, the endemic Juan Fernández Firecrown hummingbird.
guide arrived and explained the program for the next couple of days.
We were supposed to have been taken on a tour of the village
yesterday, but as we had arrived so late that was obviously not
possible and the tour was changed to fit the shorter schedule.
the planned excursions were nothing like I had expected. The tour
quoted "Following a hearty breakfast, you'll visit the Guardia Rabanal:
Walking toward the southeast of the island to ascend the Centinella
Hill for a magnificent view. For photographers, this is the best place
to take panoramic pictures." but our guide said they no longer bothered
with that walk.
day was spent hiking through the varied trails on the island.
Unfortunately I felt cold and dispirited. After dinner
that evening the water was still cold and in desperation I called the
'management'. After half an hour of running the water they
decided that it was 'a problem of pressure' (I was on the top floor)
and there was nothing that could be done. Downstairs the
birdwatchers were playing hummingbird DVDs.
The next morning I
could feel I was getting sick so as a plane was returning to Santiago I
grabbed the chance to return to the mainland. I'm pleased I
visited Robinson Crusoe Island but the experience was not at all what I
A view of the island as the plane approaches
The sun sets as the fishing boat negotiates the rocky coastline
The rocky coastline of the island by day
A view of our accomodation, the Refugio Nautico, on the left
The fisherman stop to collect some lobsters
Another view of the island as the plane heads home