My first impression of Puerto Montt, what a sh**hole. This is a typical Latin America port town. Dirty, dusty, edgy and more than one person begging in the scary way, not the homeless way. It does not take a great imagination to realize that its probably more then a little dangerous at night being infested by port drunks, sailors and hookers. There was a heavy morning fog that covered everything adding to the ugliness.
I found the ferry terminals easy enough and it was check in time, always an interesting adventure in human stupidity. After years of personal travel, 15 years of hardcore business travel and growing up in the tourist hell that is Niagara Falls I have learned to try my best to "never be that person" on the road. You know the one I mean. Glazed look, dazed and confused and prone to complete stupidity.
At any departe point or transit check in, airport, bus or train terminal, ferry port the very first thing I do is look for and read all the posted signs, inside and out of the terminal. They are there for a reason and more than have have arrows telling you which direction to go. Check in is here, baggage goes here, Bathrooms have universal icons, The big I for information. I then watch the flow of people if its busy. I know we all like to cut our own path but sometimes swimming upstream is not always the right direction. It makes it easy to know where a line starts and where the cue it so I can jump in and just wait patiently. There is no reason to panic. I have found my location, I am on time, I have my reservation and all my documents. There is no reason to start acting like a crazy stressed out person by asking other people in line questions like "is this the line up?", or my personal favourite is when people in line ask questions to nobody in particular but loud enough so everyone else can hear with the hope that someone, anyone will answer.
Happiness is watching a sea lion toss a fish and rip it apart while the seagulls and cormorants dive for scraps. This guy was going up and down the bay and having the time of his life just being a sea lion. Paradise.
Boarding the ship was and easy process and when we left I was impressed. This ship could turn on a dime. The captain fired off the horn as ships do, letting the town know they were leaving and scaring the shit out of me. There were a few other ships docked and they blew thier horns just for fun and we blew our horn and back and forth it went. Of course everyone was waving to each other. I still dont get the I am on a boat I need to wave to everyone thing but I did it and it was fun. The departure was smooth, the views amazing and the water crystal blue.
After an hour on board we all met for a security briefing and as on an plane everyone was just zoned out, until they said lifeboats which seemed to shake eveyone out of thier slumber.
Dinner was at 7:30 and you just went into the dinning room and sat down. This gives a person a great chance to start to mingle and talk the standard ice breaking talk. Where are you from, where are you going, where have you been? My first box of wine found itself being opened to compliment the salmon dinner. After dinner most of the cool kids just moved naturally to the bar, drank the expensive ship beer or brought thier own booze. I wanted to be one of the cool kids so I just followed along like a good lemming.