Thursday, February 18, 2010

Punta Arenas Chile and the Penguins

I thought I was going to Otway Sound to see penguins and then to Fitz Roy Farm to watch sheepdogs working with the sheep and see some shearing .... but only half right. I did go to the Penguin rookery but was on the wrong tour to see the farm. It's all good. I walked probably a mile or more in the cold and rain to see the penguins through fields and on a partial boardwalk type of trail, and am shocked at myself that i could manage it with only a couple of two minute stops to sit. It's amazing how well i do with walking now, since the dining room is at one end of the ship and my cabin is at the other.

Seeing penguins is wonderful and they are the most comical of birds to be sure, but the real deal here for me is the never-ending scenery as we cruise the many channels. I sat on our verandah last night all bundled up and watched the changing light bathing the mountains and hills and glaciers in a soft pink. I took picture after picture all the while thinking that i could take a million pictures and would never be able to choose the most beautiful because they are all beautiful and every minute is the next vista and the next. I am so very glad I came here. Tourism is really just beginning down here and i believe that it will start to change the landscape at some point. It's so vast and empty now and for all the hours between Ushuia when we left around noon and when night fell around 10 pm, I hardly saw even a bird never mind people or boats or anything at all. I don't think this place can really be compared to any other place on earth. It's just entirely different. Some of the mountains are great white skyscrapers sitting behind smooth rounded hills with a bit of lichen on them. The light just bounces off the snow on the tops. Everything is rock with barely a scraping of topsoil so there's very little growing on them. The trees are short little Beech trees and because the wind is westerly and almost always very strong, they generally are "flag trees" and short and scruffy. They can't get a toehold everywhere but you do see them around the glaciers sometimes.

Today is really the first day of inclement weather we've had in any port (not counting those rolly polly sea days).

Tomorrow we should be in Puerto Montt where I have an excursion booked to shop and cook with a local chef. I hope it's a small group and am looking forward to it. Please don't let it be skinning a live octapus or something....

Stay well everyone. We're fine and Sally is almost over her cold and so far (touching wood), I haven't caught it.

love m

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