Navimag cruise to Puerto Montt

Chile's flag
South America » Chile » Magallanes » Puerto Natales
March 19th 2010
Published: April 13th 2010
Edit Blog Post

My journey starts at El Calafate, Ram, Marika and Byron left me there whilst they went onto El Chalten. I was going to do one day's visit to Perito Moreno along with a walk on the glacier, then one day out on a horse ride. I left the lazy ones in bed as my glacier visit started with an 8.30am bus pick up. Then we had a journey of an hour or so before we got to the national park entrance. We were dropped for an hour and a half, so that we could walk down the viewing walkway, take in a woodland walk and have our lunch. Later the bus picked us up and took us to our boat embarkation point, followed by a crossing in front of the Glacier to the refugio where we were to meet our guide for the galcier walk. Again I was in awe with this glacier, it was huge, and the variety of blues within it were endless, the continual groaning and creeking of it, with the occasional ice fall was facinating. To be in the boat up so close to the galcier made me feel very small. Our Guide walked us to the base of the glacier where we were all fitted with crampons, we were then taken on a walk, it was an incredible feeling, firstly walking with crampons was strange, but to be on the ice, it was like walking in frozen sand dunes or mountains, the ice seemed to roll, and curve endlessly upwards. The colours were breathtaking, the little pools of oh so blue, the small waterfalls within the glacier and just to be there on top of this ice mountain was just fabulous and not as cold as I had expected. After a good hour of this wonderful walk, we were walked down to a point near the bottom of the glacier and given Famous Grouse Whiskey with glacier ice, I am not a fan of whiskey, but to taste the ice was lovely. We then boarded the boat once more to return to our bus and the journey back to El Calafate.

The next morning I had another early pick-up to take me out to the mountains and my half day horse ride. We were met at the gates to the Estancia by a typical groucho with the big moustache and beard, he looked intimidating but in fact was a really nice guy. After a quick safety chat we were given our horses and taken off on the trail. It was fun, my horse was lovely, and it was good to see that the horses were so well looked after, but for me the ride was a bit tame, I would have liked to have the odd canter and I felt that my horse would have liked this too, but sadly not to be. The views in the mountains were again spectacular, and I really enjoyed seeing so many hares running about. After the ride we were taken into the dining area and given a fabulous lunch, so long as you were not vegetarian, of pork, steak, chorizo, lamb, all sizzlingly hot on the grillstone. I managed to waddle out to our bus for the trip back to town, where I grabbed my rucksack and headed to the bus station to take the bus to El Chalten to meet the others.

I arrived at our hostel to a warm welcome and some familiar faces, as Philip, a German guy we met on the Torres Del Paine route and Hisako and her husband Joe another couple from the trek, it was lovely to be among friends again. Ram was missing from the group, as he had done a day's ice climbing, he arrived about an hour after me with a huge grin, he had had a fabulous time and met a really nice
French guy called Julien, and the other ice hiker was from Sweden, they had all been swapping photo's and Ram had met the Swedish guys daughter, Frida, whom he got on well with, this day for him was a real high as he mastered the ice climbing well, braved the tyrolean crossing (a zip line), it was good to see him buzzing.

The next day we had one of those idle days of discontent and not being able to make up our minds so achieved not a lot, however I think that maybe we just needed to have a rest. At the end of the day, Marika was a bit frustrated with the inaction and between us all we somehow decided that we would head back to Pte Natalis to take the Navimag ferry to Pte Montt, this was due to be boarded by 9pm the following evening. First off we had to find a bus to take us to El Calafate, the easy bit, then we had to find a bus from there to Pte Natalis by 9pm, not so easy, but we managed and the bus was due in at nine. We then had to see if there were any places left on the ferry as we had not booked, and to make sure it would be possible for us to board a little later than stated. Amazingly this all slotted into place and we found ourselves on the bus to Pte Natalis, but got held up at customs for over an hour due to someone travelling on the wrong passport......we were not sure if we would still be able to make the ferry. We raced off the bus and grabbed the first taxi to take us to the port and arrived in a puffing heap at the terminal, to find that there was no hurry and could we come back later after some supper when they would be ready for us, so we finally found ourselves climbing the metal stairs to the cabins at some time around midnight.

Our cabin for the four of us was small to say the least, but we had become good friends over the last couple of weeks and managed to accommodate each other without problem, Byron and Marika were very tolerant of Ram and his piles of bits and pieces everywhere. The trip was three days and four nights of journey, where we passed some more spectacular views and glaciers. We saw seals, birds, dolphins and whales, along with the Orca whale so really an action packed time. The food was plentyful, the staff friendly and helpful, and each day we had a small lecture on glaciers, wildlife and what to see and do from Pte Montt. We met and chatted with interesting people and were able to just relax on deck in the sun, a trip I thouroughly enjoyed. We docked in Pte Montt at around 7am, and after breakfast disembarked, I think Ram and I were the last off the ferry! We were not sure where we were staying so walked a little and were lucky enough to find a fabulous place to stay at Hostel Suizo, run by a fun Chilean lady called Rossy who is also an artist, I loved her place and her wonderful and varied artworks, more of which I am sure you will hear of in other blog entries.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 26


13th April 2010

was it cold out there? and how cold?
14th April 2010

Navimag response
Hi Mario, Thanks for your comment. We were really lucky with the weather whilst we were on the navimag trip and mostly had good weather, that said early morning it could be quite chilly and as the evening drew in it was also cold, but good hat, neck warmer, warm fleece and windproof was enough to keep warm.

Tot: 2.838s; Tpl: 0.062s; cc: 16; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0389s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 1.3mb