Published: April 3rd 2009April 3rd 2009
Don't think we'll ever catch up on this but.....
After Torres Del Paine we spent a couple of nights back in Puerto Natales relaxing and eating the flesh of many animals. The house we were staying in was our favourite of the whole trip and the owners were really friendly. On the Saturday we got up early and took the bus back over into Argentina and a few hours north to El Calafate.
El Calafate was a shock to our wallets. Our room wasn't too expensive but everything else was. This didn't worry us too much as we planned to move on quickly to go up to El Chalten for some more trekking. We had come to El Calafate for one reason, the same reason most people go there; to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. We got the bus there and spent the whole day wandering round the viewing platforms. We'd seen some amazing sights so far on the trip but this was the best yet and the photos don't do any justice to the size of the thing. There's a boat which takes you up close to the face and tells you loads of info about the glacier
and its dimensions etc. so we went on that for an hour. We can't remember all the details so this is copied from Wikipedia:
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that are not retreating. The terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide, with an average height of 60 m (200 ft) above the surface of the water, with a total ice depth of 170 metres (558 ft). It advances at a speed of up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) per day (around 700 metres (2,300 ft) per year), although it loses mass at approximately the same rate, meaning that aside from small variations, its terminus has not advanced or receded in the past 90 years. At its deepest part, the glacier has a depth of approximately 700 metres (2,300 ft).
Every so often, a huge piece of the face would break off and crash into the water to the cheers of everyone watching. One of the best things is that you can actually hear the glacier moving. About every 5-10 minutes you can hear a huge crack that sounds like a gunshot as the ice scrapes
along the valley floor.
The following day we had planned to get a bus 3 hours north to El Chalten for some more trekking before returning to fly to Buenos Aires a few days later. We had got used to changing our plans due to freak weather and angry volcanoes but then, for some reason, we decided to change the plan just because we fancied it. We had heard that El Chalten was similar to Torres Del Paine and was spectacular scenery but after a few amazing weeks in Patagonia we were ready for a bit of a change and after a very brief chat, the plan had changed as drastically as the weather in Torres Del Paine.
So, at half 3 on Sunday afternoon, we got the bus back to El Calafate where we went to the offices of Aerolineas Argentinas to buy a flight to Buenos Aires. It was closed, so we rang the airport to ask if we could buy tickets at the airport. We could but had to pay cash. So we whipped through El Calafate, dragged the daily limit of about 70 quid from the cash machine, changed the few Chilean Pesos that
we still had, jumped in a taxi to the airport, got on a plane at half 9, landed at Buenos Aires and got a taxi from the airport to the main bus station at midnight. After a quick scan of possible destinations we chose a bus to Rosario (Argentina's 3rd city) at half midnight. We arrived at 5am, Monday morning in Rosario, bought a paper and saw the weather forecast for that day: 36C. No glaciers up here then.
There are more photos below