Friday, December 21, 2007

The end of the earth

I am currently in an internet cafe in Puerto Natales. We took a bus here this morning from Punta Arenas, a city of 125,000 at the far Southern end of Chile. It´s at around 51 degrees south latitude. Yesterday we took a ferry to an island in the Strait of Magellean that has something like 100,000 penguins nesting on it. It was very, very cool. The penguins are quite tame, so we could get pretty close to them. And they´re very, very cute. We saw some Chliean Skuas and some other very cool birds. We got some good pictures, but there´s no easy way to post them right now.

Tomorrow we will head off to Torres del Paine national park for six days and five nights of trekking. It should be great. From all that we´ve read and seen and heard it seems amazingly beautiful. I think we have all the gear we need and since we can leave some stuff at the hostel we´re staying at our packs will be heavy, but hopefully not unbearable.

On the bus ride this morning I saw some rheas and some flamingos. Both are very weird looking. The flamingos, when in good light, almost glow. And Rheas are just odd. I don´t understand how such a large, flightless bird can survive the winter here.

Speaking of winter, it´s the first day of summer here, but it´s remarkably chilly and windy. The weather is actually pretty nice, but if this is summer weather, winters must be really tough. I don´t think it snows much down at sea level, but the darkness and the wind must be difficult. Both Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales are nice but quite weather-beaten. Lots of faded paint and trees bent by the wind.

It´s a little after 9pm and it´s still very light outside. The sun sets around 10 and it doesn´t get fully dark until 11pm. Nevertheless, it´s time for us to head back to our hostel, do some final packing, and try and get to bed early. Our bus to the park leaves at 7:15am.

1 comment:

Andrew Campbell said...

Dave + Doreen:

Wow! Meg and I would love to see that part of the world ourselves... don't know what the boys would make of rheas though!

Have fun, and happy holidays.

Andrew, Meg + Their Majesties