We woke early and visited the bathroom before the queue. We talked to Gustavo and Perla, showing them photos of home, and they suggested some alternatives for cycling when the knee had recovered, Christine having lost confidence in her ability to handle the ripio. I went off in search of a cabaña for the next couple of nights, striking lucky with the first one I tried. They were still cleaning it after people had left after breakfast but let us leave our bikes and bags while we found a café for lunch of pizza and ice cream.
A few months back, I’d come across a photo feature on las Capillas de Marmol (marble caves) and was delighted to discover we’d pass right by them. There were plenty of competing operators, we chose the one that left earliest, at 14:30 as the weather was set to deteriorate. A very fast boat trip ensued, with intermittent rain. The caves are supposed to be at their best in calm sunny conditions, reflecting on Lago General Carrera but today the water was choppy and only weak filtered sunshine was on offer so no reflections but the caves were spectacular all the same. Our small boat was able to enter the larger caverns, some people were in kayaks, affording exploration of the smaller spaces. The lake is Chile’s largest though almost half is in Argentina where it is known as Lago Buenos Aires.
The return was as bumpy as the carretera had been as we crashed over the increasingly heavy swell. We returned to the cabaña for a cup of tea then out again to shop. The few small shops were poorly stocked, this being a remote area despite its popularity with summer visitors, but we found sufficient for our needs. We then visited the panaderia for bread and cakes while Christine rested her knee.
The evening brought heavy showers. We were still pondering how to proceed from here, there are buses that can take bikes but as few of them start from here, they’re often full with backpackers travelling to or from Cochrane in the south.