Thursday the 10th of April 2003 – Day 50 until Monday the 14th of April 2003 – Day 55

Thursday the 10th of April 2003 – Day 50 until Monday the 14th of April 2003 – Day 55
As discussed in the earlier posting, Thursday was a waiting day for the NAVIMAG boat. While we could check in at 3.00pm, we all boarded together at 8.45pm. Tea and coffee were available at check in for free. Your bags were ferried to the boat and you were given your bunk number as well as food coupons. You get 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) per day. At 8.45pm, after a short talk, we were led to the boat. Room for 384, I reckoned they may have been a 120 passengers, the majority of them European tourists. Alot of truck driver stayed below decks.

For the next hour or two, people wandered around the boat, checking it out. Basically, most of the ship is given over to Cargo, because the the same route may take up to 40 hours by road. The ship had three levels. Accommodation, the cafferteria and upstairs the Pub. Most people went to bed early the first night, as no meals or entertainment were available. Because bunks were small but comfortable (blankets were free, sheets had to be hired) I moved to another bunk area with less people. Basically bunks came in 2 X 2.

On the Friday, people wanted to get up early to see the views. People who got up that bit earlier saw a magnificent sun rise (see below). It was pretty amazing to see this blood red sea and sky. Anyway breakfast is served between 8.00 and 9.00 (scrambled eggs, roll, a pear). It was sufficient. overall, the food was OK, beef, pasta, fish etc. It was passable, and there is no need to bring additional food or snacks on board. Most people bring on loads of drink though as it is expensive on board (900 Cp for a small can).

I will not go into each days activities as essentially it is what you want from it. If you want a booze cruise, they are people to help you. If you want to meet people, well, that’s easy on a small ship. If you want to see wildlife, well, we saw lots from Seals, Dolphins, Killer Whales and so on. you can stay out with your binoculars 24/7 if you want. If you want to relax, then you can read and rest all day long. The ship also put on numerous slide shows about Patagonia, the flora and fauna etc. Usually there were 3 to 4 of these per day. They also had a safety talk. Can not complain about the number of slide shows etc which were in both in English and Spanish.

The passage was very smooth. There were no stops or you can not get off. There is one open passage of water which lasts for 14 hours. You can really feel the waves, any if you are going to get sea sick, you will get sick here. It can get very rough but luckily it was not too bad for us.

They also put on a film each evening. Over the the few days, we watched the Matrix which is always excellent , Big Blue which is always crap in my opinion, Casablanca which is an excellent film, Training Day which was very enjoyable fun and Revelations (what lies beneath) which was very bad. What has Harrison Ford done These showed at 10.00pm each night.

On the last night they also hold a bingo competition. For 500 CP you get the board while they call out the numbers. We had 4 games of Bingo, where completed board winners got hats, fleeces etc. Most of the truck drivers (who never usually came up), all came up for a the Bingo and whose members won twice.

One thing bout the livestock was the noise. You could hear the cattle most night and the city folk on board were outraged at the poor animals conditions on board, as they were exposed to the elements and had no room to lay down.

Anyway I will flesh out the journey later in more detail. One f the advantages of the blog is that I can go back to this post in a dew weeks or months tie,a nd make changes, add more detail so as to flesh things out. This is one of those times.











Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

The boat is essentially a cargo boat. The majority of the ship space is devoted to Cargo including livestock. Most of the time, the boat smelled like a mart. A lot of people were worried bout the cattle as they were cramped although the were fed and watered.

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Sunrise shot from the boat on the Friday morning. Pretty Amazing shot of the red sky and sea.

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Sunrise shot from the boat on the Friday morning. Just to show you, yes, it was for real

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Shot of the “GROUNDED SHIP” Reminds me of the Father Ted episode when Ted, Dougal and Jack go on an all-expenses-spared holiday to Kilkelly Caravan Park. Entertainment comes in the shape of St Kevin’s Stump and the Magic Road. Every night they could wake so up with the loud speaker system with announcements like the Grounded Ship is approaching on your port side, or the cliffts of whatever are approaching. Madness. We had to get up at 7.00am to see the GROUNDED SHIP.

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Another shot of the GROUNDED SHIP

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Another shot of the sea, but what can you expect. I was on a boat for Gods Sake

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Nice sky shot

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Shot of the town of Puerto Montt.

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Chile – the Navimag Journey

Taken between the 10th and 14th of April 2003

Shot of the town of Puerto Montt. Not a pretty town. It is functional port own with 100,000 people but not pretty. The ain tourist attration is the Island off here and the NAVIMAG boat.

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I had thought I was going to say in the Pucon area for two days for rafting and climbing the volcano, but the weather here is miserable. Rain, and cold. As I was going for the outdoor activities, I decided to get a bus to bariloche. All the morning buses had sold out, so I bought a ticket for the 14.00 bus. It arrived at 21.00 hours (or 22.00 local time). The price was 8,000 CP. I got a taxi as soon a I arrived and booked into the La Bolsa del Deporte hostel. It is 13P a night. Well, back in Argentina. No hassles at the border.

Arrived at night, but saw beautiful shimmering lakes on the way. I will not stay here long as I am trying to get to Salta for Holy Week.

Thursday the 10th of April 2003 – Day 50

Thursday the 10th of April 2003 – Day 50

Good nights sleep. Got up at 9.30amand had breakfast. Paid 16,000 (21 EURO) for my four days which was great value for a private room with heat and free breakfast. The landlady was really nice but spoke no English. Ah well, improved my English somewhat. Went to the NAVIMAG office down at the waterfront. The normal price is 250 US for the cheapest tricket. 22 bed cabin. Off season started April 1st, so price was 230 US. Produced my fake Bangkok produced Strudent ID card,a nd received a 10% discount. Final price was 207 US which 4 nights accommodation and 3 meals per day.











Navimag Boat coming into Puerto Natales

Taken on the 10th of April 2003

I never thought I would be taking a trip on a cruise ship. Still, it aint exactly the same. The cattle were loaded first.

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Navimag Boat coming into Puerto Natales

Taken on the 10th of April 2003

Patagonia – Puerto Natales – Waiting for the Navimag Ship

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You can check in and board from 3.00pm.- The boat does not leave until 9.0pm and will arrive in Punta Montt on Sunday night. Because it arrives late, you can stay onboard until Monday Morning. Therefore no more postings on this site until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest.

April 8th 2003 (Day 49) to Wednesday the 9th of April 2003 – Day 49

Tuesdy the 8th of April 2003 – Day 49

Got up at 9.00 and had breakfast. Hired a bike for 1,000 CP for every hour which was quite reasonable. I hired the bike from Patagonia Adventure Bikes (Thimas Rogers 179) or email padventure@hotmail.com. I cycled out to Puerto BORIES. This large industrial complex was founded in 1913 by the Sociedad Explotadora Tierra del Fuego (Society for Exploiting Tierra del Fuego) in order to process sheep products from three large ranches in the area. Today, it functions as a meat processing plant and a slaughterhouse. As you can imagine, not great viewing. Lorries were coming in and out. They are transported away via the sea.

Next I went to the airport. As you can see below, very little happening.

I then went to the Milodon Cave. Entrance was 3,000 CP. Located 24 Km north of Puerto Natales, this natural monument is composed of three caves and a rock formation known as the Silla del Diablo (Devil’s Seat). The main cave is 150 meters above sea level, and it measures 30 meters high, 80 meters long and 200 meters deep.

In 1896 the scientific world was fascinated by the discovery in this cave of the skin, bones and other parts of an extinct animal, the milodon (Mylodon Darwini). Scientists originally believed the remains to be fresh, indicating that the animal still existed. But later test proved that the remains were thousands of years old. The milodon, a very large herbivore, is believed to have died out at the end of the Pleistocene era.

Just before the access road reaches the cave, it passes the Silla del Diablo. This huge rock formation looks like an enormous chair. When the milodon remains were discovered in this area, a folk tale was born that this was the milodon’s seat. Over time, the devil took the place of the milodon in the rock formation’s name.

I cycled back towards town but took a side road to Mirador Dorotea hill. I didn’t climb it as was getting dark, but it is supposed to be great views of the straits. I saw the following religious site there.

I cycled back to town. Even though it was downhill, because of the very strong winds, I had to pedal. Very windy all the way back (11km), and was very tired when I delivered the bike back. I went to bed for 2 hours!. I got up and went to town to write up the blog.











Puerto Natales

Taken on the 8th of April 2003

Shot of the Virgin Mary overlooking the town.

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Puerto Natales

Taken on the 8th of April 2003

Shot of a religious site with 2 litre soft drink bottles.

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Wednesday the 9th of April 2003 – Day 49

The bus arrived at 7.30am to take us to the National Park. A Bristol couple from Bristol were also going. This national park is the major tourist attraction in the region. It covers 181,000 hectares on the Seno de Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Inlet). The park was created in 1959 and declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. The name “Paine” comes from a Tehuelche indian word meaning “blue”.

There are many hikings paths that cross widely differing types of terrain, such as pampas and thick Magellanic forests, and run along lakes with huge glaciers and icebergs.

The park is surrounded by huge, craggy mountains, including the famous “Cuernos del Paine” (Paine Horns). The park is located 150 kms. from Puerto Natales and 400 kms. from Punta Arenas.

At the entrance, informative park guards can help plan hikes using a detailed map of the park. The entrance fee to foreigners is 8,000 CP. More information on the park here .

Chilean Patagonia - Torres del Paine

Map of the area. Also shows the some of the sites I visited including (08-04-2003)

It was a long day, and only arrived back t 7.30pm in the evening. It was go, go, go as the pàrk is 180,000 hectares and we had a lot of ground to cover. We only had a 30 minute lunch break and about 30 minutwes at each major site, where we walked to.











Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The three Towers of Paine (Spanish: Torres del Paine) in southern Chile are gigantic granite monoliths shaped by the forces of glacial ice. They are located in Patagonia, 400 km (244 miles) north of Punta Arenas, and about 2,500 km south of the capital Santiago.

The Central Tower of Paine (about 3,400 m or 11,000 feet) is the highest of the three. It was first climbed in 1963 by Chris Bonington and Don Whillans.

The North Tower of Paine was first climbed by Guido Monzino and the South Tower of Paine by Armando Aste.

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Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The Torres del Paine National Park, declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1978, is located there. The national park is a popular hiking destination. There are clearly marked paths and many refugios which provide shelter and basic services. Views are breathtaking. Hikers can opt for a day trip to see the towers, walk the popular “W” route in about five days, or trek the full circle in 8-9 days. It is a national park and thus hikers are not allowed to stray from the paths. Camping is only allowed at specified campsites.

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Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The Torres del Paine National Park.

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Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The Torres del Paine National Park.

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Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The Torres del Paine National Park.

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Torres Del Paine Park

Taken on the 9th of April 2003

The Torres del Paine National Park.

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Friday the 4th of April 2003 – Day 45 to Monday the 7th of April 2003 – Day 48

Friday the 4th of April 2003 – Day 45

The bus journey was long. As I did not get much sleep that night, the 5.00am start was too early. The bus has to take a very round about route because of the geography of the area. It goes through the other big city in the province called Rio Grande. Nice town but sea and wind swept. We changed bus there to a more comfortable bus. We got served coffee and a crossisant on board. Same type of views with no trees, greenery, houses or traffic. We got to the border and passed through with no problems from the officials. We had to get a ferry from Porvenir to Punta Arenas which took 40 minutes. Most on board were truck drivers. The ferry was included in the price. BTW, the company was Tecni- Austral based in Roca 157 (Ushuaia). They have offices in Rio Grande, Rio Gallegos and Punta Arenas aswell. They go to Arenas 3 times a week. No private cars on board the boat. I met Alex and his girlfriend whom I had met on the plane to ushuaia.











Punta Arenas – Chile

Taken on the 4th of April 2003

Shot of the sea

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Punta Arenas – Chile

Taken on the 4th of April 2003

Shot of ferry boat that took us

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Chilean Patagonia - Punta Arenas

Map of the area. Also shows the historical fort of Fuerte Bulnes (04-04-2003)

Punta Arenas is the main city in the Strait of Magellan and the capital of the Región de Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena, Chile. It is often considered the southernmost city in the world, although there are towns further south on Tierra del Fuego as well as semi-permanent residents in Antarctica.

Punta Arenas is located at 53° 10′ S 70° 56′ W, in the Brunswick Peninsula.

The Punta Arenas was considered one of the most important Chilean harbours before the construction of the Panama Canal, because it was used by ships to prepare for the difficult passage around Cape Horn. Today it is mostly used by tourism cruises and scientific expeditions. The city is often a jumping-off point for Antarctic expenditions.

Punta Arenas is the biggest city in the Chilean Patagonian Region. In 2000, it had a population of 120,000.

Getting off the bus, we were met by hostel pimps. I ignored them and started walking down the street. Basically, I liked the look of a hostel I passed on the street called and went in. They had private rooms for 8,000 CP (10 EURO) including cable TV and breakfast. It was quiet and decided to take it as I was knackered from the bus. Still trying to get to terms with the currency. I walked town to the tourist office in the main square, got some information, and went to the one ATM that accepted VISA. Got the Chilean Peso with no problems. Went to a supermarket and then to a restaurant called El Mercado (mejicana 617) recommended by Lonely Planet. Very nice eel soup (with tons of eel) and lomo solo with chips. Included beer, it came to 8,000 CP (10 EURO) which was very reasonable. Watched the The Perfect Storm on TV. Very appropriate as there is a massive fishing industry in this region. The boats are everywhere. The town is also a big army and navy centre. Army cadets and naval officers are all over the place. There are a few academies here. Seems, the bases were set up to guarantee Chilean control of the area (France and Argentina were eyeing the place up)

Saturday the 5th of April 2003 – Day 46

A pretty good nights sleep. Breakfast is served between 7.00am and 10.00am. Only about half a dozen people in the hostel. Good up at 8.15am and had breakfast (coffee, bread, eggs), and decided to find a tour I could jump on. Many of the travel agencies were closed, but found Tourismo Pali Aike to be open. They had a tour to Fuerte Bulnes.











Punta Arenas – Fuerte Bulnes

Taken on the 4th of April 2003

The Fort Bulnes is located 66 kilometers south from Punta Arenas. In 1843, Captain Juan Williams, the naturalist Bernardo Philippi, 16 sailors and soldiers, and two women set sail from Ancud in Chiloé to the Strait of Magellan to plant the Chilean flag in this region before European colonists could beat them to it. They chose a rocky promontory that dominated the strait and named it Fuerte Bulnes. Although this promontory was strategically appropriate for monitoring seafaring traffic, the location proved undesirable, and they pulled up stakes and moved 15 1/2 miles (25km) north, founding what is today Punta Arenas. In recognition of the historical value of Fuerte Bulnes, the Chilean government reconstructed the site in 1943, its centenary anniversary, and made it a national monument. Here you’ll find reproductions of the log cabins that housed the settlers, a chapel, and several cannons. There are no set hours, and admission is free.

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Punta Arenas

Taken on the 5th of April 2003

Shot of some fishing boats.

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Punta Arenas

Taken on the 5th of April 2003

Shot of some fishing boats.

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We also visited P. Hambre which is just before Fuerte Bulnes. The site was founded as Rey Felipe by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1584, and settled by 103 colonists who were tragically stranded after tremendous storms prevented their ships from returning to shore. The name Puerto Hambre (Port Hunger) was given by the British captain Thomas Cavendish who found only one survivor when he docked here in 1587 (the rest had died of starvation and exposure). In 1993, the Chilean ambassador José Miguel Barros found the plan for Rey Felipe in the library of the Institute of France in Paris, and it is the oldest known document of urban history in Chile. The only thing you’ll find here is a plaque and the remains of a chapel.

There were only four people on the tour. A Chilean couple who have lived in the USA for the past 30 years (and who make miniature western stage coaches) and a Chilean history nut. Arrived back at 1.15. Didn’t do much for the rest of the day. Checked the net (about 700 Cp an hour). Best place is Calafate on Magannes beside the navimag office. Went to the bank and walked around. Booked a bus ticket for tomorrow Sunday to Punta Natales for 2,500 CP (3 EURO). Leaves at 18.30 and should take 3 hours. Had a meal of lomo sandwich and chips. Including two pints (draught), the bill came to 4,2000 CP (5.20 EURO). Early enough night. Watched The Straight Story on TV.

Sunday the 6th of April 2003 – Day 47

Very little to do today as my bus was leaving at 18.30. The town was deserted, so stayed in the hostel until noon. Went to a Pub to watch the Formula ! race which was quite good and have some lunch. Spend some time on the net and went to the Parcho Bus office. Price was 2,500 for a single ticket. The journey was 3.5 hours, and arrived around 9.40pm. Nothing to see on the road. The town was very quiet when I arrived. It was cold and starting to rain. Nicos on Rameriz 669 is recommended in Lonely Planet. Walking there in the dark (very few street lights) in about 10 minutes. It was a Bed and Breakfast (or a Hostelriesas they are called here) rather than a hostel. I was showed the private room, costing 4,000 and took it. The landlady showed me round. As it was getting late, I went to bed. Didn’t seem to any other person staying here.

Chilean Patagonia - Puerto Natales

Map of the area. (06-04-2003)

Monday the 7th of April 2003 – Day 48

Got up at 8.30am, and had free breakfast at the B&B. Just the usual rolls, black coffee. Puero Natales has a population of 16,000, is a delightful tourist town on the shores of a sound (Seno Ultima Esperanza) that winds into the mountains. It is the southern terminus for the huge Navimag car ferry that comes from Puerto Montt. Very quiet around town. People usually stay for 2 or 3 days and head to the park for camping and trekking.

The summer season is December to February when temperatures are a pleasant 15° to 20°C, but the mountains have extremely variable weather often with high winds. They have a website here .

Map of the town. Also shows historical museum location (07-04-2003)

I went to the historical town museum in the town for 500 CP. Not much to see. Focus on the town history, early settlers, meat processing and such. Nice history of the native people who were here before the Europeans.

I went to the NAVIMAG office to book my boat ticket to Puerto Montt. From Puerto Natales in southern Chile there are no roads northward, unless you care to detour via Argentina, so you travel by ferry to Puerto Montt. You can see the route I am going to make below.


You can check out there website here or check out this VERY funny travelogue about the trip here . Check it out.

Have decided not to to do the “W” or the circuit of the park. This would involve between 3-5 days trekking and staying in a tent. For one I do not have the following equipment.

Waterproof Jacket and pants (gore-tex), Theral, synthetic, undershirts, Fleece Jacket, Wind Stopper Gear, Hat with ear cover

Thermal Gloves and socks, Fleece scarf, Sleeping Bag -10 oc, compression stuff bag 90 litres, Dayback, flashlight, roll mat, tent and stove. I would have to hire them all in town. The weather is simply too unpredictable as well……Finally, you aso have to carry your normal everyday holiday packpack.











Puerto Natales – Chile

Taken on the 7th of April 2003

Shot of the harbour

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Puerto Natales – Chile

Taken on the 7th of April 2003

Shot of the harbour. P. Natales is in the XII Region of Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena is the southernmost, largest and least populated part of Chilean territory. This region has many globally known places and geographical accidents like Torres del Paine, Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego island, and the Strait of Magellan. Also it includes the Antarctic territory claimed by Chile.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

March 31st 2003 (Day 41) to April 3rd 2003 (Day 44)

Wednesday the 2nd of April 2003 – Day 43

Got up at 8.30am and made breakfast at the hostel. Awaited the arrival of the tour bus. It arrived on time at 9.30am. Bernado from Paris was already in the bus with 3 guides. He had paid a Buenos Aires travel agent 120 US (348p) againt my 120P. He was pissed. We stopped for two girls from Buenos Aires. I had met them in El Calafate a few days earlier so that was fine. We were also driving a Swiss girls called Natalie to her self catering house. I had met her in Punta Madryn. She was going to live on her own in the mountains for 5 days to relax, as she had been travelling for 5 months. All the way up in the mountains on her own .. good idea.. only cost her 200 P. Anyway the four tourists and the 3 guides headed off in the mini van to … the van was pulling 4 canoes and 7 Mountains bikes.

Took us 30 minutes to get to the first point of call. Mountain bikes were off loaded and brakes, wheels, air checked. This took about 20 minutes. We all set off down the mountain towards the lake called Lago Fagnano. Alot of it was downhill and was was on dirt road. It was fun while a bit scary. A few close calls, but made it. The two girls could hardly ride a bike, never mind mountain bike… so they arrived about 20 minutes after we the rest of the group. They decided to wait as we continued and circled around. The lake is 100 miles long and up to 10 miles long in places. When we got back we had a trek above the lakes and returned around 1.30pm for a BBQ, which was great. One of the guides had the fire going, wine ready. The meal was great.

We packed up, drove for 30 minutes to another lake called Lago Escondido. Unpacked 2 person canoes and set off. As both the French guy and I had kayaked before, we headed off. One guide went with each of the two girls (who hardly put paddle to water the whole time). We were on the water for about 2 hours over 10km. It was fun, but the canoe is harder to control than a kayak in turning, but we did a good job and was chance of overturning. The water was crystal clear, and yu could see 2 m down to the bottom, no problem. We finished at 6.00pm and went to have a pint.











Ushuaia Trek

Taken on the 2nd of April 2004

The guides having a break after the Picnic. Three guides are closest to the shot. You can see the Fench guys legs at the bottom of the picture!

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Ushuaia Trek

Taken on the 2nd of April 2004

Nice lake

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Ushuaia Trek

Taken on the 2nd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek – Lake shot from the roads above!

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Ushuaia Trek

Taken on the 2nd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek – Nice view of the lake with the mist!

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Ushuaia Trek

Taken on the 2nd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek – A lone fly fisherman

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As on the journey at the start to the lakes, we all shared matte. The girls had brought the flash, straw etc.

Yerba Matte (Yerba Mate) is consumed mainly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil. It is brewed from the dried leaves and stemlets of the perennial tree Ilex paraguarensis. A tea native to South America and has been used for centuries as a health tonic and beverage. Containing 196 active compounds, nutrients, and amino acids, Yerba matte is touted as the new healthy alternative to coffee. Additionally, it is believed to act on sensory organs to assist dieters in reducing food cravings.

The name “Mate” derives from the quichua word “mat?” that names the gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) that is traditionally used to drink the infusion. Quite often mate is bitter and sharp but this one is smooth and delicious. It contains twice as much caffeine as tea and is refreshing, invigorating, and rich in vitamin C.

Patagonia drink

Yerba Matte (31-03-2003) ‘ What I’m drinking these days´

Thursday the 3rd of April 2003 – Day 44

Got up at 9.30am. Had coffee (all coffee, tea, hot chocolate etc) is free at the hostel, and brought my dirty clothes to a laundry. Price was 12 P for a big bag. Went to Tolkar on Rocha Street to buy my ticket for Punto Arenas. The price was 75 P. Expensive, but the only other way is to get on a yacht to Punto Williams (price approx. 50-80 US) and then a scheduled ferry from there to P. Arenas for 120 US. Anyway the bus leaves at 6.00am tomorrow morning and arrives in P. Arenas at 5.00pm on Friday.

Make sure to visit the tourist office on St. Martin (674), as it has a world of information of getting to Ushuaia and away from it. It was has details on buses to the National Park, the lakes, the train station etc. Their email is muniush@speedy.com.ar and their web address is here. They also have information points at the airport and the docks. Anyway they pointed me to a company doing trips to the Martial Glacier. i went there, but they no longer do the trip. Two other people also wanted to go there. You can walk there (7km) but the three of us decided to get a taxi. The average price is between 5 and 6 P. We got there at 11.00am and paid 6 P. (only 2 p each). the tourist buses are usually between 4 and 8 single. Once there you can walk to the start point (30 minutes uphill) or get a ski chair lit. It costs 7P and takes 13 minutes. I took it to save my legs and got to the start point. There is a place to say up there for free if you bring a sleeping bag. Anyway you have two choices there. A trip to Black Mountain and/or the Martial Glacier. As you can see from the pictures, the glacier is nothing like the Moreno Glacier from previous posts. I walked the black Canon first. Two hours up, one hour down. Steep in places and ground is loose stone and gravel, so we careful in the last 300 yards. Time for hands and feet. Some nice views of the valley beyond the range. Harder coming down, but skirted over to the path for the Glacier. The glacier is located at a 1,000m. An easy 40 minutes up and 30 minutes down. Better ground here with footholds. Some great views of the town and Beagle Channel. The ski chair lift is free on the way down so why walk. Plenty of tourist buses waiting for independents. Cost was 3.50P back into town. Nice driver asking plenty of questions. Back into town for 4.00pm. Went to an Internet cafe on St. Martin. The only place in town where net access was 1.50 per hour. Most other places are between 2 and 3 P per hour for access.











Martial Glacier

Taken on the 3rd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek to the Martial Glacier. Early morning shot

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Martial Glacier

Taken on the 3rd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek – This shot is of the town itself taken from the Glacier. You can see the beagle channel as well. Nice setting for a town, eh!Early morning shot. The Beagle Channel is a strait seperating islands of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, in extreme southern South America. It seperates Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego from several smaller islands to the south. Its eastern portion is part of the border between Chile and Argentina, but the western part is completely within Chile. Beagle Channel is about 150 miles long and is about three miles wide at its narrowest point. Although it is navigable by large ships, there are safer waters to the south (Drake Passage) and to the north (Strait of Magellan). Several small islands near the eastern end were the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Chile and Argentina; by the terms of a 1985 treaty they are now part of Chile.

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Martial Glacier

Taken on the 3rd of April 2004

Ushuaia Trek – Ushuaia Trek to the Black Mountain. I reached the top`with a little difficulty. The last 200 yards were hard beacuse of the uneven ground and the vertical climb. I was happy to reach the top though. Achievement!

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Martial Glacier and Black Mountain

Taken on the 3rd of April 2004

Night falling over the town.

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I met Justin – the Malaysian from El Chatlen. He had a fever, but he, myself and an American Jew, called Shane who has just arrived decided to get dinner. Went to a grill, where they provided us with much lamb, beef and sausage. Expensive at 27P each, but had a few beers with that. Headed back to the hostel to see the La Boca VS Coca Cola from Chile Liberador Cup Game. Ended with a 2-2 draw. Met 3 American hippies (the real thing) from Seattle and Nebraska who just wanted to know where in the place they could find some weed. Funny guys though.

I was warned about Justins snoring in Chatlen and how never to share a room with the guy. Sorry Justin.. but the stories are true. Decided to chance it. Bad mistake as he was incredibly loud. …the loudest snoring I had ever heard. None of the two Americans in the room could sleep. I got very little sleep and Justin was also talking in his sleep due to the fever. I got up at 4.45am and made some coffee. I went and got the bus to Punta Arenas in Chile at 5.30 am in the morning..very cold.. and off we went. Lovely 12 hour bus journey.











Tierra del Fuego

A true colour image of Tierra del Fuego captured sunbathing by NASA’s Terra satellite on March 28, 2003. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide.

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Monday the 31th of March 2003- Day 41- Contd. to Tuesday the 1st of April 2003 – Day 42

Monday the 31th of March 2003- Day 41- Contd.
As mentioned in the last post, my flight was at 9.10am. I got to the airport around 8.00am. First impressions’ normal sea port down but great mountain background. No fishing done here. Tourism is the key to the towns success’ the town at the end of the World. It is the start of Autumn here and the snow will stay here from May until September. They are then captives.

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego Province, Antarctica and South Atlantic islands in Argentina, it is located on shore of Beagle Channel and surrounded by Martial Mountain. City shows in its urban plan and in its architectural designs a strong connection with its past. The environs landscape is very attractive, where we can find sea, forests, glaciers and mountains; offering a singular landscape in Argentina. As it is the southern city in the world it has an average temperature during the year of 5,4C (41.7 F) which fluctuate from 29 C (84.2 F) maximum to -21C (-6 F) minimum. Lowest temperatures are registered by the end of July and beginning of August

The sky is great, crystal blue. I spent a few hours walking around, but is it easy as it is such a small town full of tourist orientated shops and restaurants. I spent the afternoon at the prison museum (built in 1902) … tourist rate is 13 P. You could easily spend 3 to 4 hours here. There are exhibitions on the Falklands (maldivas) War (because they are part of this region), Prison life, famous prisoners (some from Ireland) and the Antarctic. After the museum, I went to the supermarket and ate at the hostel. About a dozen of us in the hostel watched Moulin Rouge in English on the TV between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. Ok film. I have it on DVD from last year. I went to bed early. As it is low season, there are only 3 or 4 people in each of the 8 bedroom dorms. The email address for the hostel is xdelsur@yahoo.com and web is here.

Patagonia

Ushuaia (31-03-2003) ‘ Ushuaia Map´











Ushuaia Jail – Ushuaia – Argentina

Taken on the 31st of March 2003

A 16 year old jail bird who killed 8 small kids (18 months to 2 years) in the early 20 century. They thought his big ears were to blame so they cut them off. Reportly, they grew back.

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Ushuaia Jail – Ushuaia – Argentina

Taken on the 31st of March 2003

Ushuaia Jail interior. There are five of these corridors. The jail could hold up to 300, but more than 600 were imprisoned there at times.The idea was to colonise the area with convicts, as when they were released the convicts were meant to spend an equal amount of time in the town They also build the town, the roads, bridges and created the electrical, phone, fire stations etc.

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Ushuaia Jail – Ushuaia – Argentina

Taken on the 31st of March 2003

The city was originally named by early British colonists after the name that the native Yamana people had for the area. For most of the first half of the 20th century the city was centered around a prison for serious criminals. The Argentinean government set up this prison following the example of the British in Australia: being an island, escape from a prison on Tierra del Fuego would have been impossible. The prisoners thus became forced colonists and spent much of their time cutting wood in the lands around the prison and building the town.

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Tuesday the 1st of April 2003 – Day 42

Got up at 9.30am. It was cold. Had already decided to do nothing today. Spent an hour watching BBC World News. Spent 2 hours on the web downloading photo’s etc and spent the walking around. I actually visited a video arcade and became a member. They give you a credit card that you can charge up and play pool, bowling games etc. The average price for the games was .32P. Went to Rumbo Sur (san Martin 342) to book a tour. Booked a multi activity walking, mountain biking and canoeing tour. Expensive at 120P. (36 EURO) but as time is constraining, would take me three days to cover similar ground.











Ushuaia – Argentina

Taken on the 1st of April 2003

Ushuaia Political Office. Bought and read the Buenos Aires Herald which had alot of information of the presential elections on April 27th, where Menem is a front runner. Former President Menem was released from house arrest last year after the Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that he and his former brother-in-law were involved in a conspiracy to smuggle arms to Croatia and Ecuador between 1991 and 1995. See the following article on Menem. The picture is a political office for his campaign in Ushuaia….

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Tierra del Fuego (Spanish: land of fire) is an archipelago at the southernmost tip of South America. In 1881 it was divided between Argentina and Chile. The archipelago consists of a main island (Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, often called Tierra del Fuego as well), and a group of smaller islands. It is separated from the continent by the Strait of Magellan. The southern point of the archipelago, in Chile, forms Cape Horn.

The main industries are oil, natural gas, sheep farming and ecotourism. The largest island is Tierra del Fuego, or Isla Grande, with an area of 48,100 km². Half of this island, and the islands west and south of it, are part of the Magallanes Region of Chile, the capital and chief town of which is Punta Arenas, situated on the mainland across the strait. The biggest Chilean towns are Porvenir, on the main island, and Puerto Williams, on Navarino Island. Puerto Williams is the most southerly town on the planet, unless you count Antarctic stations.

The eastern part of the archipelago belongs to Argentina, forming the federal district of Tierra del Fuego; its capital, Ushuaia, is Argentina’s most southerly city, the other important town being Rio Grande, near the Atlantic coast.

Its name comes from the many fires (fuego in Spanish) of the Amerindians, which were visible from the sea. It was named by Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first European to pass it in 1520.

Four native Fuegians, including “Jemmy Button” (Orundellico), were brought from Tierra del Fuego by Robert Fitzroy on the first voyage of the Beagle in 1830. They were taken to meet the King and Queen in London and were to an extent celebrities. The surviving three returned to Tierra del Fuego with the Beagle with Charles Darwin, who made extensive notes about his visit to the islands.