I'm so excited! I just found a tour guide who will take me and my traveling companion to within 2 km of the lava dome of Chaiten Volcano! Nicolas La Penna, of Chaitur Excursiones, took this recent photo of the volcano, which I found on The Volcanism Blog.
I clicked on the photo credit, found Nicolas's tour company based in Chaiten, and sent him an email. I didn't know if he'd receive it or not, because according to my web research, the town of Chaiten had been evacuated.
Not entirely so, says Nicolas, who answered my email this morning. While the authorities are urging complete evacuation, there is still lodging in and around Chaiten, and four stores remain open. Not only did Nicolas send me the ferry schedule, he offered to meet me at the dock, arrange lodging in town, and drive me to the volcano.
What a great resource Nicolas is going to be - I feel so lucky to have found him! And what a wealth of book material this trip is going to generate. Maybe I'll end up writing TWO novels!