The Whimbrel on Cucao Beach

• Cucao, Chile • Visited April 2016 • I spotted a lone whimbrel poking about at the surf on Cucao beach and was struck by its long curved beak and its head which was striped like a humbug sweet. It was engaged in a very purposeful to-ing and fro-ing along the beach, jabbing its beak into the sand.…

You don’t look like you are from around here…

    • Cucao, Chile • Visited April 2016 • Cows. A deserted beach. Sunbathing. The Pacific Ocean. Seaweed clumps. Driftwood. Chiloé island. There was just something about this unexpected mix I saw on Cucao beach. I was thinking to myself, ‘These cows look like they are in the wrong place.’ Their squinty stares told me that…

Cucao Beach

• Cucao, Chile • Visited April 2016 • The beach of my youth was along a man-made coastline on the southeastern part of Singapore. We simply referred to it as “East Coast” and it was a narrow beach, even when the tide went out. On most days, I would see ships on the horizon. Cucao…

Darth Maul of Dalcahue

• Dalcahue, Chile • Visited April 2016• I saw a turkey vulture for the first time in Dalcahue and its plasticky red face and dead-eye stare instantly brought one thing to mind. Darth Maul. From the little lookout tower above the artisanal market at Dalcahue’s town square, I had spotted a committee of five vultures perched on top of…

Chiloé Chow: Ceviche, Chupe, Curanto

• Castro, Chile • Visited April 2016 • I was really craving for some seafood by the time I arrived on Chiloé island in mid-April. For five weeks, wandering through the small towns of the Carretera Austral of Chile in the off-season, it had been slim pickings for food. The few restaurants that were open only…

Castro Colours

• Castro, Chile • Visited April 2016 • When Charles Darwin arrived in Castro in 1834, he knew it as the abandoned ancient capital city of Chiloé and described it as “most forlorn” in The Voyage of the Beagle. And it poured. When I got to Castro more than 180 years later in 2016, Castro…

The Other South American Penguin

While the Magellanic Penguin is absolutely adorable, I have encountered one other type of South American penguin that is absolutely useful. I have only spotted this species in Argentina.   In some Argentinian restaurants, but never the chichi ones, you can order a pingüino of house wine. Or a medio pingüino (half a pingüino) if you aren’t…