A Travellerspoint blog

Day 20 & 21 - Final day at sea and transferring to Santiago

or what happens when someone has pinched your parking spot!

sunny 16 °C

The weather is slowly improving the further north we sail.

We sat on deck reading for a few hours - if you can get out of the wind it's very warm and a few hardy souls braved the swimming pool.

During the evening, the Captain announced that a cargo ship was occupying our berth and we would have to disembark by tender (we found out later in the evening that this is something that they have never done before!).
A little later they also informed us there was a dock strike and that might delay us further.

As our transfer to Santiago was booked for 8:30am we got up early and managed to get on a tender shortly after 8. When we got to the terminal building our suitcases hadn't arrived. Sadly we ended up waiting about 5 hours for everyone on our transfer to get their suitcase. It's a beautiful sunny day but we are stuck waiting for the poor guys who have to unload all the suitcases manually. Usually they use a fork-lift truck and lift them out on pallets from the dockside. Today, they have to be loaded into tug boats and shipped ashore. Those cruisers with early flights had to head for the airport without their luggage which was sent later.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Santiago but the guide pointed out a few historic buildings on the way out of town and told us about the area and the grapes/wine production of the area, so the time passed quite quickly. We stopped half-way at a little cafe for cake and ice-creams. The cafe had a little orange tree grove behind it and a llama pen to the side.

Santiago is in a bowl, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes mountains. Founded in 1541 it is the capital city of Chile and one of the ten largest cities in the Americas (along with Buenos Aires)

Our hotel is in the more modern part of town in the Providencia district which is about 4.5km from the downtown historic area. We had a quick look around the area before dinner. The area is very nice and I spotted some pomegranate trees on the side of the road.
Rob decided to sample the local beer with dinner.

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Posted by JenBuckley 14:33 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 19 - Puerto Montt

semi-overcast 18 °C

Puerto Montt is known as the gateway to the Andes mountains and the Patagonian fjords.

We walked along the seafront towards the central square and picked up a map from the tourist information centre. As usual the main square has a Cathedral (built from redwood in 1856 - but nowhere near as showy inside as the other ports we've visited). Near the square was a statue to welcome the first German settlers.

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We continued along the seafront, enjoying the views and wildlife. As we moved away from the town, the houses were a bit more colourful.

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After a while we turned back and walked up to the viewpoint.

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On the way back down, we passed a large supermarket (Jumbo) and stopped for empanadas (Merken Carne and Pollo Pino) - we knew meat and chicken but had to take a risk with the other two words as we thought pino meant pine tree and that didn't make much sense. It turned out that merken is a smoked chili pepper (so fine for Rob) and pino translates to pine (or spruce) as we'd thought but that refers to the empanada filling (a mix of onions, raisins, black olives and a hard-boiled egg). It sounds quite an odd mix but they were very tasty.

We walked back past where the boat was docked to visit the Angelmo bay and the handicraft market. The stalls were full of knitted products claiming to be llama wool and the usual tourist souvenirs. As we walked along the seafront, I just happened to look over the railings and see 3 sea-lions playing in the shallow water.

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As the last tender was 4:30, we had to get back to the ship.
Rob decided to join the circuits class on the boat, but after 25,000 steps walking around the town I decided to put my feet up.

Posted by JenBuckley 14:29 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 18 - Puerto Chacabuco

Aysen Fjords

sunny 17 °C

The ship stopped today for a morning in Puerto Chacabuco. This area looks very much like the Lake district - we walked alongside a lake for about 5kms, enjoying the slightly warmer weather and looking at the snow-capped mountains.

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I found a patch of crocosmia growing like weeds

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This afternoon we spent a few hours on deck enjoying the scenery.

Posted by JenBuckley 12:26 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 16 & 17 - Strait of Magellan and the Chilean Fjords

rain 8 °C

We spent the next 2 days cruising.

On the first day we sailed from the Strait of Magellan into the open sea (Pacific Ocean) for about 5 hours and then into Strait Nelson the start of the fjords.
The camera doesn't pick up the views very well, but it's a combination of the fjords and the Lake District.

In the early hours of the second day the ship sailed back in the open sea for another 5 hours and then entered the Ladrillero Channel. At midday, the ship sailed back into open sea for an hour and then into the Darwin channel.

The points where the channels and open sea meet seem to be the best points to view whales and we saw some more water spouts from whales.

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We joined in the late afternoon circuits class on both days, although it can be a little unsettling to see the ship moving as you exercise.

Posted by JenBuckley 12:26 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

Day 15 - Punta Arenas

sunny 12 °C

Last night we met Steve and Kumiko and they offered to share their hire car with us. Steve also volunteered to queue up and get tender tickets for us all.

Punta Arenas is the southernmost city in Chile and the largest city south of 46 parallel south. It's located on the strait of Magellan, the main shipping route for commercial vessels traveling between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The main square (Plaza de Armas Benjamin Munoz Gamero) is surrounded by the Cathedral and houses owned by the pioneers who made their fortune with sheep and cattle.
One of those is Sara Braun - her house is now a hotel.

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From the main square, we walked up the the viewpoint

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and then along to Cemeterio Municipal Sara Braun.
There is much more space here than the cemetery in Buenos Aires.

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Next, we picked up the hire car and drove to Fort Bulnes. Some of the trails were closed due to recent sightings of a Puma.

Fort Bulnes was founded in 1843 as part of President Manuel Bulnes Prieto's colonization policy in Southern Chile in an attempt to claim and protect the Strait of Magellan. The area was very harsh and the inhabitants eventually moved the 62kms to Punta Arenas.

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From here we drove to the National Magellanes reserve but the extensive roadworks delayed us and we arrived just as they were closing. These tress covered in moss were just by the entrance.

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On the way back to the ship we saw lots of cormorants.

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As we set sail this evening, we were lucky enough to see the water spouts of two whales.

Posted by JenBuckley 12:23 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

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