Mar 6, 2008

Sailing Patagonia

Our 410 ft long vessel, the Navimag Evangelistas, is first and foremost a cargo ship. However, above its two floors of produce, vehicles, goods, and containers, are three levels of fairly comfortable guest accommodations. In this particle sailing, 180 passengers from all over the world have gathered to take part in what could be the most visually interesting boat ride on the planet from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales in Southern Patagonia. Please keep in mind, however, that I have not had the pleasure of partaking in many boat rides in my life. Nonetheless, the last four days have been a bit mystical, completely relaxing, and altogether amazing. We spent many hours standing on one of our three viewing decks as this fantastic scenery glided past us at the perfect speed; not so fast that you miss the details, not so slow that you’d rather watch Happy Feet in the cafeteria (it was an option!) The rugged terrain of Patagonia and the southern tip of the almighty Andes spill into the channels and fjords about 100 yards from either side of the boat as though they are wearing their best outfits and displays for this parade of giants.

We came prepared to spend our days writing or reading books, editing the thousands of photographs we have acquired in the last 70 days, sleeping, relaxing, studying Spanish. Yet, here we are on the last day of our voyage and mostly we’ve just stood in awe of the amazing scenery as it marches past our sturdy ship. When the scenery is not changing, the weather is. Yesterday, when we started to grow a bit bored we looked off the starboard side to see an old cargo shipped parked on a rock. It was an attempt at insurance fraud in 1963. However, once the investigation ensued on the Cotopaxi Vessel, it was discovered that the cargo was not lost in the wreckage; instead it was sold off in Uruguay the week prior. The captain spent some time in prison. Getting back to our sea story though, from the ship we have seen dolphins, whales, penguins, cormorants, sea lions, and a fat Chilean guy sing Italian love songs with his keyboard playing backup. Yes, this is the entertainment on a cargo ship.

We then set our course for Poi XI, the largest Glacier in South America. This 3 mile wide earthmover spills into the ocean like a massive lava flow. It averages 300 ft high and stretches for 10 miles through the Chilean southern ice flow that divides Chile and Argentina in the south. We were sad to hear that this behemoth, much like 80% of the world’s glaciers, began retreating a few years back, finally ending its many-decades long battle with global warming.

We are now on the final stretch of the voyage. We have passed the narrowest strait - just 260 ft wide. As I sit in the lounge and look right, all I see is clouds through the window. As I look left, ocean. It is very windy today and boat likes to lean. The next five days will be spent on the trails of Torres Del Paine; one of the most famous parks in South America. You’ll recognize the pictures when you see them on our blog next week. Until then – bon voyage.


Anonymous said...

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Sam said...

Hey guys,
It's Sam here from Ausralia, Puno and Lake Titicaca if you don't remember. Looks like your seeing some amazing things and haveing a great time. Sorry it's taken a while to make contact could add you as friend to myspace as i need your last name to be your friend hehe. well hope all is well it sure looks like it.

Anonymous said...

See Here