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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: -51.7325, -72.5051
Our overnight ride, lying back on beds downstairs was comfortable enough, but waking up to rain was depressing. Fortunately this cleared well before we arrived at Porte Monte where we deposited bags at the ferry terminal and wandered the ramshackled town for a morning, picking up a few bottles of wine and fruit for the boat. We surveyed other passengers as we waited to board, about half Spanish and English speaking with a French group too, a mixture of back packers and others, mostly travelling South for the National Parks.
The ferry was quite basic, with three quite ordinary meals a day and a tiny cabin, but superior to dormintory accomodation in corridors and sharing with strangers. We chatted to various English speaking passengers, young and old, about their travels, and travelling ambitions. There were also some lectures and films to better inform us on the journey through the channels and fijords. The first two days were wondefully sunny, so the 200 ( approx) passemgers spread out aound the decks, but sadly the third day we woke to rain, so everyone was squeezed into the bar area. The scenery was stunning. It was possible to imagine sailors intimidated by massive
cliffs as they came through the Magellan straights or rounded the horn. There wasn't a settlement in sight, only a few cargo or fishing boats passing. Otherwise we were alone with the elements, fortunately relatively smooth and kind to us, even when the ferry went out to sea.
We travelled right up close to a wonderfuly blue glacier on the third morning. Some of the crew went up close and brought a huge chunk of ice back which slowly melted on the bar, just to add to the glacier's melt From the boat we saw seals and minky whales and birds skimming the smooth sea's surface, providing reflections of themselves as the ran on the water to gain flight or dived to hunt.
On arrival in Pueryo Natales we transferred to our B&B and ate out at a fantastic restaurant called Afrigonia - an African chef married to a Patagonian lady producing a kind of African/Chilean fusion food that was simply splendid. It would rate as a very good restaurant even in London, but so would the prices!
Then our day trip to the Tores del Paine National Park for more stunning scenery. See the pics, which don't do it justice!
Tomorrow we take
a bus to Punta Arenas then a series of flights the 4,000km to Arica in the far north of Chile in readiness for the next stage of our trip to Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. We move on fairly swiftly through the next few weeks!
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