I love taking pictures of birds. It’s not easy—one needs to be at the right time, right place, right lighting. Sometimes it’s frustrating, like trying to take a picture of this flock of Chilean Flamingos. They must party very late last night and just kept on sleeping. I waited over half an hour. Only one of them moved briefly, not long enough for me to take a good shot.
It’s fun, though, especially when I get lucky and capture something unexpected. One nice picture can keep me beaming for hours.
Recommended by the host of my hostel, I booked a cruise to see glaciers. The tour isn’t cheap, about $150. Most likely I’ll never come back here, so I booked it.
It was as lovely as the lady suggested. A boat took us through the Fjord of Ultima Esperanza. We saw a cormorant colony, a sea-lion colony, many waterfalls, and the majestic Monte Balmaceda Glacier (the mountain is 2035 meter high, and there are only a few cases of its ascent).
After 3.5 hours of sailing, we stopped at Puerto Toro and walked a short distance to the base of the Serrano Glacier. Both Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers are in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park.
On our way back, we cocked at a ranch and had lunch there. The food was delicious. This boat trip reminded me of a similar cruise I took in Alaska.
Formerly a fishing port, Puerto Natales is a city in Chile’s southern Patagonia. It’s the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park and the Patagonian fjords.
There are a lot of birds along the shoreline. I spent more than half a day taking pictures there.
It rained/drizzled almost the whole day. Even through the mist, we caught a glimpse of the beautiful mountains, lakes, and glaciers. We also saw lots of wildlife—guanaco, fox, ostrich, pink flamingo, and other birds. Guanaco is a camelid native to South America. They are very cute.
I prefer to travel by bus to flight. In this way, I could see a lot along the way.
It’s about 390 miles from Ushuaia, Argentina to Punta Arenas, Chile. According to the website, the drive takes 11 hours. I thought they over-estimated the time. How long would 400 miles take? Thirteen and a half hours, actually.
The immigration took over 2 hours. Lunch for another half an hour. Ferry for about an hour (A fox showed up near the ferry terminal, which made the time flew by.)
Twenty minutes after we got on the bus again in Chile, an Argentinian tour guide for a large group talked to the bus driver, stopped the bus, flagged down a car, and went back with the car. I was sitting in the first row and saw the whole thing. But I had no idea what happened. Did he leave someone behind?
No, he left his teacup behind! It is a special cup for Mate tea. But this is public transportation, not even a tour bus. And no one explained to us what happened while we waited for him for more than half an hour. The bus driver doesn’t speak a word in English. Later I learned the truth from a couple from England who can speak some Spanish. I was quite amazed. I was in South America, not in the US anymore. 🙂
Before the trip, I printed out the maps from all the bus stations to the hotels/hostels. Some of the distances are so short that I decided to walk. Well, if they stopped at the right bus station!
We finally arrived in Punta Arenas around 9:30pm. I took out the map and checked the street signs. I couldn’t find anything familiar. So I went into a little room with a small counter and pointed to the place I needed to go to. The man was really nice. He tried to explain to me, but I didn’t understand a word he said. He took my cell phone and signed in to wifi. The magic of Google map took me to the hostel. It’s about 15min walk. The night was still young and bright enough. Thank God!
(Southern Crested Caracara)
(Southern Giant Petrel)
I must be “cursed” by Mt Humphrey, the highest peak in AZ. Last time I was sick with high altitude (12,633 ft) and “sleepwalked” up the mountain (Post #212). This time was even worse.
I had a stomach ache the day before and still felt my stomach churning in the morning. Since both Libby and Phil were going, I didn’t want to change our plan because of me. As soon as we started hiking, I knew something was wrong. I had low energy. Libby wasn’t in any better shape. With her Vertigo (due to a head injury when she was on duty), she felt dizzy all along the way. Still, neither of us said a word to turn back. We kept going, slowly.
It was very slow. It took us 6 hours to hike 5 miles with 3400ft elevation gain.
I thought coming down would be faster. Well, by then I had no energy left. My whole body ached, and I was chilled. Clearly I had a fever. All I wanted to do was to lie down and fall asleep. Libby wasn’t doing any better. She slipped and fell half a dozen times, fracturing her tailbone.
It took us another 5 hours to hike back. I fell asleep as soon as I was in the car.
The only funny part was, even both Libby and I were in terrible shapes, we perked up whenever we saw mushrooms. We picked 12 pounds, and poor Phil had to carry them.
The next day I had a fever up to 101.7F, and even after four days’ rest, I still had a fever that comes and goes.