Punta Arenas

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January 28th 2017
Published: February 11th 2017
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After Isa´s departure, I went to Punta Arenas, on the Magellan Strait. I got to see some Magallanes penguins on Isla Magdalena reserve, it is the season when the babies come out and start taking their fur off. It was so cute to see them. They are the same size as the parents but furry! Penguins are so funny, they have become one of my favourite animals.
I took the time to also visit a museum containing 4 boats replicas:
- the first one was "Magellan´s" boat. He did not actually captain this one as their were 5 boats leaving from Spain that year but this is the boat that made it all around the Globe for the first time in History. Magellan died in Asia along the way so his boat did not make it all around. There were 260 men leaving from Spain, 18 made it all around. Some boats deserted after reaching the Strait, the rest of the men probabaly died. Incredible to hear of this story while staring at the MAgellan Strait. SUch calm waters, I understand why boats would prefer using this route rather than Cape Horn.
-the second boat was the HMS Beagle captained by Fitz Roy which also went aroudn the Globe but with a scientific purpose so brought young Charles Darwin along, it took 3 years and that´s when the evolution theory started in Darwin´s studies.
-the third boat was a chilean boat that was sent from valparaiso to the MAgellan Strait and claim the Strait as Chilean in 1823 (if I remember well)
-the fourth boat was the least impressive visually but the most impressive story wise. It was a lifeboat called James Cairn. I invite you to watch documentaries on youtube about Shackleton and the Endurance expedition if you have not heard of it. It fascinates me!! Shackleton was a british explorer who took 32 men on an expedition to Antartica in 1914, they wanted to be the first men to cross Antarctica by land. unfortunately things did not go as planned as his boat, Endurance, got stuck in the ice of the Weddell Sea. They had to live on the boat across the winter, then eventually the ice crushed the boat so they took the lifeboats down, set camp on ice for months. Eventually used the lifeboats to try and reach some land but the closest was Elephant island, it has no civilisation on it and a second winter was about to start so there was no chance of a boat finding them there. Shackleton and 4 of his men chose the James Cairn lifeboat and sailed across 800 miles of the most agitated ocean on the planet to find a tiny island that could easily be missed called South Georgia where there was a whaling station. It is an absolute miracle they made it on this tiny boat. After several failed attempts, he managed to save his men left on elephant island with the help of the Chilean government and they ALL came back alive after two years to Punta Arenas. Later came back to Europe in the middle of the first world war. Incredible men!

Here that was a bit of southern patagonia history....

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