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Isla Robinson Crusoe Trip Journal

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February 6, Isla Robinson Crusoe

Locator Map!


Hooray! Released from being confined to our cabin this morning. The nurse told me that over the next several days, it is imperative I closely watch my diet. Not a problem. I don’t want to be sick again. The “disease control” cleaning crew came again and thoroughly sanitized the cabin. They will do so again tomorrow. Once again, we give the Prinsendam Captain and crew very high marks for the way they are handling the ongoing battle against the “bug”.

Isla Robinson Crusoe was an interesting stop. When we arrived with nearly 800 passengers, we more than doubled the entire island’s population of between 500 and 600, depending on the season.

There are few cars on the island – they’re not needed, since there really isn’t anywhere to go. Houses are small. Other than the occasional cruise ship filled with tourists, there are only a couple hundred visitors per year and they come primarily to scuba dive. One of the diving highlights includes the wreck of the German light cruiser SMS Dresden, which was scuttled in Cumberland Bay during the Battle of Más a Tierra during the First World War.

There aren’t many places to shop – there’s a market the size of a walk-in pantry, a dive shop, a souvenir shop with postcards, etc., that will allow one person at a time and a restaurant (closed for the day) that could possibly seat four at a time! Supplies come in by plane from Santiago ( about three hours away)to the small airstrip.

John was talking with a young man he ran into in the dive shop. John asked him where he was from and the young man said “South Carolina”. He and a friend have been here for three months – will be here for one more. They are missionaries from the Mormon Church, on an assignment to convert. John asked him how business was and the answer – “very slow, but the diving is great”.

Isla Robinson’s Crusoe’s claim to fame is the classic novel Robinson Crusoe written by Daniel Defoe. Defoe was inspired to write the book based on the experience of Alexander Selkirk, who, in 1704 chose to live in here solitude for four years. The Chilean government named the island Isla Robinson Crusoe in 1966.

Along a hill just above the center part of the village, are big holes. They are caves. In the 1800’s, the Spanish would exile people here – they would bring them to the island and just drop them off. The caves are quite snug, so although they didn’t offer the comforts of home, they did give shelter.

One thing about the island that is not lacking is internet service and television. Just from the ship, we counted seven satellite dishes.

Isla Robinson Crusoe, formerly known as Más a Tierra (closer to land) is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is made up of three islands, Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and the small Santa Clara. The primary industry is the spiny lobster trade.

We have visited many places in the world where we’ve said, “oh, this would be such a fabulous place to live”. Although Isla Robinson Crusoe is beautiful, it’s not one of those places. For us, it’s too remote, too quiet. However, for anyone wanting solitude, scenery, hiking – it’s idyllic.

Tonight at dinner, there were four of us. Patsy and Ed were back. Hopefully, everyone will return tomorrow or at least in the next day or so. The bug has been pretty nasty, but thankfully, it appears the ship is winning the battle.

Tomorrow, a restful day at sea as we travel to Puerto Montt, Chile.

Big plans for Super Bowl watching tomorrow night. There will be a big screen TV in the main showroom, along with snacks for everyone. Then, in the coffee bar, which also serves as a sports bar, will be another snacks buffet.

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About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 12, 2016.