Cruising Through The Chilean Fjords

Jun 2 2014

Antarctic Expedition 3

We weren’t expecting much from Chacabuco on account of the fact that it is a very small one industry town and also it was Sunday and everything was closed. We went ashore just to stretch our legs.
However, we got caught in the tide of a local bus driver who was enlisting passengers to go somewhere – only $2. Well we couldn’t refuse and once he had a full bus we set off. Nobody knew where we were going – perhaps up into the hills to be robbed, perhaps out into the country to be abandoned. We speculated but were not sure. Wiser tourists refused to board the bus and instead preferred to stay in the one horse town.
He dropped us in Aisen a town about twenty minutes away through spectacular country of mountains and lakes. When we got there everyone was at church (it is a very catholic country) but we walked the main street which was very long, all the shops securely locked up with security grills. Maybe the boys have a wild time on a Saturday night!
Then Mass came out as did the sun and the town filled up. All dressed in their Sunday best summer gear for it was 14oC and sunny. The mood was festive. We lapped it up and caught a bus back to Chacabuco. This time we paid the correct fare which was half the one we paid on the way in. Ate the always offered ham and cheese toasted sandwich which they love here. Their food is utilitarian, lots of meat in some kind of bun. We had an unexpectedly great day. You just don’t know.
Then we were out into the Pacific again so let the waves rock us to sleep and had a lazy morning before we reached a new lot of fjords to cruise through. Spectacular. We have found a great spot at the front of the ship where we can read lounge and listen to the commentary. Lazy days.
Up early this morning to see the Amalia Glacier. Spectacular! And the thing was that the ice changed to a brilliant blue as the sun came out. Cold and windy though! Apparently it has receded five miles since the 1940’s. Global warming or just the end of this ice age in this place? We were told if all the glaciers in the world melted then the water level would only rise by less than a foot. At one time Antarctica was green and productive. It differs from the north pole because it has land under it whereas the North Pole is just ice.
Tell James we haven’t seen any ants in Antarctica but we are still looking. Saw a few dolphins and the spray of a whale but very little else. Grae reckons they have eaten it all! We rarely see other shipping. It’s very remote and isolated.
We have been cruising all day through the fjords, watching a bit of the Aussie Open on the TV and reading. It is our anniversary today so we are going to one of the specialty restaurants for dinner. The food on board is good. We tend to sit by ourselves as we don’t really want to get too involved with other people who tend to talk endlessly about themselves. As if we can give a flying fart! We use Lib’s rule – three questions and if we don’t get one back we leave. We’re becoming intolerant in our old age.
Tomorrow we get off for the day at Punta Arenas in Chile, the last port of call in Chile. After that it is Argentina who, in the carve up seem to have got all the productive land while Chile got the mountains. But apparently it is very advantageous to be on the west coast and closer to America. Argentina is thinking of moving its capital westward.