Monday, 24 March 2008

Buenos Aires

After an exciting flight in which the pilot aborted the landing just before the wheels touched down due to strong winds and flew to another airport just a a major storm was starting we arrived in BA.

We started our tour at the Rose Palace where Evita gave her famous speeches to her people and then went to her museum where we learned more about her life.

We visited the Government buildings but being Easter weekend it was shut.

We had lunch in the crowded Le Boca district

Went to a Tango Show

And ... watched the 24th March demonstration of support for the 30000 people who disappeared during the 1970/80s military government and who are not forgotten.

Tomorrow (25th March) our great adventure ends and we fly back to Manchester.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

We start our journey Northwards

We left Puerto Williams and also Chile today, our southern most point in our journey. Getting to this amazing place had been straight forward but political problems between Chile and Argentina mean that getting across the Beagle Channel and into Argentina were more problematic. Ushuaia is the southern most city in Argentina not 60km away from Puerto Williams and 30 mins across the sea but Chilean boats are not allowed into the port. Argentinian boats are, however, allowed into Chile's port at Puerto Navarino on Isla Navarino where PW is. You have to catch an Argentinian Zodiac boat (at great expense) that comes across every day .

We were taken by minibus the 60km to Puerto Navarino along a dirt road. The nearer we got the windier it became. The 'port' was a single Navy building in the middle of nowhere on the opposite side of the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia, where we went through the customs procedure.

Puerto Navarino where the dirt road ends, the port of embarkation from Chile!

The Zodiac arrived but the passengers looked a little 'shaken'. The wind in the channel had got up to dangerous speeds. The Zodiac would not go back in the wind. We waited for an hour and a half, then suddenly 'vamos' we go. We were rushed into the boat and set off across the rather 'bouncy' channel.

The Zodiac arriving from Ushuaia.

The Zodiac battling through the swell

See a video of the Zodiac crossing

We arrived rather exhilarated in Ushuaia to be met by the immigration process and a new country. We then embarked into a new country and a city with lots of modern cars, tarmaced roads, shops and restaurants, not to mention boats with names like Antarctica 3 and Antarctic Explorer (Ushuaia is a major port for Antarctic exploration). What a difference to the Fin Del Mundo in PW!

Sharon arrives in Argentina.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Ferry to the end of the Earth

Punta Arenas to Peurto Williams a distance by sea of 303 nautical miles by ferry passing through island passages and on two occasions crossing openings to the Southern Ocean.

We saw loads of wildlife - dolphions and seals surfing in the ship's wake, albatrosses, skuas and penguins. Beautiful sunrise and stormy seas. We are now in Puerto Williams, the most southerly town in the world about 100km from Cape Horn. Opposite us from our hostel in Puerto Williams we have a view of the Beagle Channel and Argentina.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Los Pinguinos

We went to see a Magellan penguin colony near Punta Arenas. At the height of the season there are 10000 penguins there but a lot have left for warmer climates as the end of the summer approaches. It is mid September equivalent here!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Deeper South

Sharon outside our hostal in Puerto Natales

We are in Punta Arenas after having travelled by bus down from Puerto Natales. While there we walked up a mountain called Dorotea
The view over Puerto Natales from Dorotea
We went on a boat trip to see two huge glaciers called Serrano and Balmeceda.

Serrano Glacier

Balmaceda Glacier

Now we are in Punta Arenas we are going to see a penguin colony, then we are off for three days on a ferry to Puerto Williams, we can't go much further south before Cape Horn!

Friday, 7 March 2008

The W trail around Paine National Park

We have just returned from a 6 day trek around the Torres Del Paine where we saw one amazing view after another starting with the Towers of Paine.

The W trail

Us at the start of the W trail. Torres Del Paine in the background.

The infamous spires first climbed by Bonnington, Brown and Willans in the 1960s.

The French Valley
The last two days saw us walking to the edge of the South Patagonian icecap at the Grey Glacier where the temperature was definitely cooler as the wind blew down off the ice.

We camped at various campsites, which were mainly in the woods but the downside was the mozzies that swarmed everywhere, giving you nasty red itchy lumps where they bit you. Our last camp was beside Lago Grey with beautiful views but also exposed to the wind that started during the night heralding the end of the sunny weather we had enjoyed to date.

Our campsite at Lago Grey

Finishing at Lake Pehoe where we caught a ferry back to the bus, which took us to Puerto Natales, where we are staying in a lovely hotel called Indigo Patagonia.