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Published: November 16th 2015
The 28 or so hours traveling here has proven to be more than worth it!
While the flight from Houston to Santiago was overnight and in the dark, the three hours from Santiago to Punta Arenas were spent winging over the Andes. Amazing is a word overused in America, but if you see these mountains from the air, well, this is what amazing means. First we saw snow covered mountains as soon as taking off, then glaciers, then extinct volcanoes, and then, an active volcano. Yep, complete with smoke coming out of a snow covered peak.
We landed in Punta Arenas in very typical Patagonian weather, 10 degrees C. and a fine mist. But the hostel was warm and toasty and we then took to the streets to wander. By dinner time the rain had stopped and the sun broke through as we enjoyed our first meal of sea food. It is king crab season here and we may it at every meal. Oh, and I struggled throught the wine list looking for a bottle of Chilean wine with prices ranging from $5 to $12.
Today we jumped on a boat and head to Isla Magellan to visit
with the Magellan Penguins. Now we had hoped we might catch a glimpse of them from afar. Surprise, we were within 3 feet of them and literally surrounded by the colony. The island is covered with burrows, where they put their eggs. And the little buggers just stood around preening themselves, gathering bedding for their nests, squawking, waddling, and doing penguin type stuff.....they were so cute. Which is probably why, before we disembarked, that we were told 'please, please, please do not pick up the penguins." Marcia wanted to bring one back for kindergarten, but we restrained her.
Once back in town we caught a "collectivo", a cab that will pick up as many folks as it can and everyone rides a somewhat set route for the same price. We went to see reproductions of one of Magellan's ships, the Beagle (which Fitzroy captained with Charles Darwin aboard), and a the James Cairin, the lifeboat Shakleton used to get help for his stranded crew. When you stood on and beside these vessels you had to be struck by the courage (or sheer insanity) that propelled these explores across the seas.
Tomorrow off to Puerto Natales!
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