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Archive for September 23, 2011

Glacier National Park, Argentina

Glacier National Park near El Calafate, Perito Moreno glacier. We were far inland. I don’t know why I expected glaciers to be near the coastline. Lago Argentino is large enough to be an ocean if you see it from the ground. The conditions that support glaciers are perfect in this inland area of southern Argentina. We were there two days. A boat cruise took us to see one view of the glaciers. We upgraded without spending too much and sat at the front of the boat with a glass enclosed panoramic view. It was the best first class upgrade we ever made. The second day began with  a road trip and short ferry ride to see the glaciers and to climb upon them. This panoramic was stitched together in photoshop. A single frame cannot catch the span and grandeur of the glacier. It makes you feel so small compared to some of nature’s wonders. From this park, one can see the edge of the glacier. Occasionally a large piece will break off and crash to the water breaking the silence. In the background snow falls in the mountains about 300 days per year. The snow pack compresses and eventually makes its journey to the edge. The process is slow – as in glacial. The crevasses that develop make it treacherous to climb among the ice.

Glacier Climbing

We were fortunate to sign up for a glacier trek. In the previous photo you can see the grandeur. Here you are reminded of the size and scale of the glacier. The little dots are groups of tourists at different points among the cravasses. We wore ice crampons to get around and were escorted by several guides who took care to be sure that no one fell into a crevasse. At the end we were served glacier water and typical traditional dulce de leche cookies. Click on the photo to see the people.

Glacier Trapped Boulder

On the boat cruise, we passed close to many glaciers that had calved. From afar you don’t realize the scale of the floating pieces. Here you see a boulder trapped in the ice. It probably weighs hundreds of pounds and is just suspended in the ice. This whole piece of ice floating was many times larger than our cruise ship.

Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego

We were delayed in arriving in Tierra del Fuego. As a result we made up for a missed cruise by booking a private boat to take us to the Beagle Channel. You only go ‘round once, eh? When you think of it, it’s also because it’s at the end of the earth and you won’t be coming this way soon again. I’m glad we went. The crew was very solicitous and they let David and Lisa drive the boat. They put David in a pirate wig and sunglasses. He loved it. David also sat at the front and let the cold salt spray cover him. Kids! The hot chocolate was very welcome. Many islands in the channel were homes to birds and seals. These are imperial cormorants. Beagle Channel was named after the ship HMS Beagle, which had Charles Darwin among its passengers. It is one of three waterways between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the southern hemisphere. I very much like the male and female seals posing as king and queen over their domain.