Published: April 15th 2010April 14th 2010
Perito Moreno Glacier…
So we took our very sore and tired bodies to a 7.30am bus from Puerto Natales back to El Calafate to try for the final time to see the amazing Perito Moreno Glacier. We checked into a hostel we found in our guidebook and it turned out to be an interesting experience. The hostel was basically this lovely old grandma’s house but it was in a state of total disrepair….the kitchen had cupboard doors falling off and 2 plates and only 1 knife. But the lady running it was so sweet and was very patient trying to communicate with us in Spanish….and while we got there in the end, we were doing a lot of smiling and nodding.
We had already tried to see the glacier twice our first time in El Calafate but because a certain someone was crook we didn’t make it. We were therefore completely paranoid about what we ate and drank the day before we planned to go and see it on our final opportunity…..we didn’t at any meat and drank only bottled water and feasted on a dinner of pasta and sauce we cooked in our very dodgy hostel. The water
for the pasta was boiled for a good 3 minutes!!
So the next morning we rose fit and 100% healthy and headed towards to bus station for our 1.5 hour journey out to the glacier. They have you over a barrel here - this bus cost more than the bus to Chile which was a 5.5 hour journey. We got our first sight of the glacier from the bus and were already in awe of this natural wonder. When the bus arrived we decided to do a little boat cruise that took you to within a couple of hundred of meters of the glacier. It is so big that it felt like we were only 50m away… The glacier is like nothing we have seen before; it reaches over 70m high in places and is a beautiful turquoise color.
As you will see from the photos the ferry boat we were in was miniscule compared to the glacier. We spent an hour on the boat and then set off walking along the boardwalks which run nearly the full length of the glacier.
While we were walking along the glacier was constantly shifting which caused really loud creaks
and big chunks (they looked like the size of cricket balls to us) to fall off into the water. It’s hard to tell how large the chunks were but judging from the noise we would guess about the size of a car. The top of the glacier is covered in mini mountains so as far as the eye can see you can see peaks and troughs (crevasses) in the ice.
All day Aaron had been wishing and talking about seeing one of the huge calvings of ice that we had heard about from other travelers, thankfully his wish was answered - in the afternoon as the sun started to warm the glacier up the noise became louder and we saw 2 huge pieces calve off (see video below - Aaron would like to apologise for his talking over the video but he'd been looking forward to this all day!!). The video we have is of the smaller one which was further away from us than the first, but it should give you an idea of what it was like. The impact of these calvings was impressive. The waves and icebergs created were enormous - let’s just say we were
glad we were not on the little boat right in front of the pieces falling off. This was an unbelievable sight.
After Aaron’s wish had been granted we treated ourselves to a cup of hot chocolate (for an astronomical tourist price) and sat in the sun for a while, then headed back to town on our comfy bus to get ready for our flight to Bariloche the next day.
Some fast facts about the glacier for those interested:
Covers a surface area of just over 250 sq km which is like 113 of Brisbane’s CBD or 86 of the city of London side by side
Total length is 30 km (19 mi)
It is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which is the world’s 3rd largest reserve of fresh water behind Antarctica and Greenland.
The glacier is one of the few in Patagonia that is considered ‘stable’. This means that it gains as much ice forward as it loses through melting and calving in a year.
The glacier has an average height above the water of 74 metres and a total ice depth of 170 metres - the
glacier is actually grounded on the bottom of the lake so it cannot go any deeper down, only up.
Anyway, hope everything is good for you all and we’ll update on Bariloche soon!!
Love Catherine & Aaron
p.s. Aaron's Geat Big Bushy Beeeeard is going strong as you will see on the pictures....i have a feeling this may last the whole 4 months!!
There are more photos below