So we will head back to Chile for a little while at least… I have so many travels that have not yet made it to the blog but will try and catch up in 2017…
I grew up in parts of Canada that feel a lot like Patagonia so I was ready 🙂 I also packed a lot of fleece with varying levels of warmth. As previously noted, I wore everything that I packed. I did end up tantalizingly close to Antarctica so the adverse weather shouldn’t have come as a big surprise.
One of the biggest surprises in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is that the weather is famously unstable and unpredictable. It did not disappoint 🙂
As you will have seen from the photos, the first day aboard the Australis ship was brilliant in every way. On day two, we still had the same impeccable service but the weather had turned against us. There was only one zodiac excursion, a soggy trek on the Pia Glacier that was still magnificent even in the drizzle even if the photos wouldn’t show it in its glory.
We didn’t get to witness a huge chunk of ice breaking away from the glacier and rushing into the sea but we did see remnants of recent activity and hear rumblings. The most fascinating part was how even the murky light played with the textures of ice on the glacier creating stunning kaleidoscopes of ice, shade and sunlight.
There was a second event that day but it didn’t require us leaving the ship. We entered the Beagle Channel (named for Charles Darwin’s ship The Beagle). This brought us into Glacier Alley. This is definitely something you would want to see under better weather conditions. I tried to take photos but it was a bit like my famous photo of the Matterhorn in the fog. I KNEW I HAD seen it but it was hard to convince anyone else 🙂
The glaciers are spectacular so they still look compelling in the rain under freezing temperatures but running outside to try and get a photo of them isn’t pleasant and feels a bit futile. Nevertheless, it was a fun experience. It’s all rather imperialist but each has a European identity – Spain, Romanche, Germany, Italy, Holland, France. Each is a bit different in character and the ship served cheesy stereotype food as we passed each one. The food may not have been creative but that doesn’t mean it was bad and it made the whole experience more entertaining – particularly since the weather was so terrible.
In the evening, they screened an interesting film about Shackleton. It resonated a lot more when you have spent the day in chilly waters full of glaciers.
The other interesting experience that day was that we actually saw another ship! The Beagle Channel is wider so conventional cruise ships can traverse it. It reminded me of how special our journey on the Australis was. We weren’t Darwin or Shackleton but I did feel very far from the populated world enroute to the farthest reaches of human civilization.