Thursday, February 9, 2017

Cruising down the Seno de Última Esperanza.

 
On the Seno de Última Esperanza heading back to Puerto Natales.

It took us about 4 hours to cruise up the Señoret Channel and the Seno de Última Esperanza to reach the point where we could begin our hike to the Serrano glacier. By the time we returned back to the boat, another hour had passed.


It was time to begin the journey back.  It was also lunch time so while we waited for all the passengers to board, Bro started putting our lunch together.  Yesterday, we had gone to Unimarc and had gotten some rotisserie chicken, avocado, and bread to make sandwiches.  In our snack bag today, there was a plain cheese sandwich so we put all the ingredients together to make a very simple but quite delicious (if I might say so myself) sandwich.



The skies had cleared up a bit on our return journey so I was able to hang out on the deck more and take in views of the landscape that I missed the first time around.  I definitely noticed more waterfalls.



Without the rain to blur my vision, I was able to appreciate the striations on the rock walls.  I presume these are the scars from when glaciers carved through the rock, ultimately creating the channel that we are cruising on.  It's hard to imagine that ice is actually tough enough to carve out rock!


On this trip, we were suppose to see cormorants and sea lions.  We saw neither.  I was on the lower deck, at the bow of the boat, when I  heard the loudspeaker come on.  Next thing I know, passengers were swarming towards me.  Apparently, a condor was soaring in the sky just near the shoreline.   Someone had to point it out to me.  The bird was so high up it was difficult to really make out....even through my zoom lens.



The condor was flying in a big circle but since no one could really get a close up view, everyone soon left me behind and I was back to being one of the few people on the front deck.  All the better for me to be able to take in the gorgeous scenery with peace and quiet.



I spotted the family of Black Neck swans (Cygnus melancoryphus) - two adults and two cygnets (i.e., young swans).  They are native to the waters in this part of the world.  The foursome was just bobbing around in the water very close to the boat.



It takes a lot less time to cruise downstream than upstream so it only took us 3 hours to arrive back in to town.  I thought we had taken off from Puerto Natales but in fact, the boat docked at Puerto Bories, a small company town that was built around  a sheep meat and wool processing plant belonging to the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego.  Puerto Bories is only located about 4 kilometers from  Puerto Natales so it's easy to the former is part of the latter.


When we got off the boat, there was tour bus parked in the lot.  A good number of our fellow passengers boarded that bus.  Then, the family of four that we had shared a ride with this morning got shuttled off to an awaiting van.  Before we knew it, Bro and I were the only two passengers left standing.  I was about to ask someone about our ride when a man approached us and told us to wait, out ride would be coming soon.  Okay.  We wait.  Enjoy the scenery.  It would be our last view. 


I kept my eyes out for any vehicles, looking like a tour vehicle of some sort,  pull into the dock area.  A few vehicles came but none looked like they were affiliated with a tour company.  Then a taxi pulled in and the man who told us to wait waved for us to approach in his direction.  This was our ride. He was a very friendly driver and deposited right outside The Shed. 


We ended our day with a quick walk back to our favorite supermarket in all of Patagonia and picked up some food for dinner.


The produce doesn't look nice here and it's expensive to boot. I didn't want to buy too much stuff as we leave Puerto Natales tomorrow for two nights in El Calafate,  Argentina before returning for one night in Puerto Natales and then one night in Punta Arenas.  We'll be staying in hotels for the next four nights so no need to cook our meals.



We took a slightly different route home, stopping into a small but by Puerto Natales standards, a much more upscale supermarket - selling local items as well as products imported from the US and Europe.

It was a simple dinner and time to do a bit of cleaning - I like to leave the kitchen and apartment in general, as clean as we received it.  It's hard to believe that in a few short days, our time in Chile will come to an end. I've had an absolutely wonderful time here - the scenery in Atacama and Patagonia has just been phenomenal.  But I don't want to think about leaving Chile.  We still have more of Patagonia to visit.  This time tomorrow, we'll be on the Argentinian side of Patagonia.

Goodnight from Puerto Natales!