Into Argentina

Megatherium ground-sloth.

Megatherium ground-sloth.

From Puerto Ibañes in Chile we crossed the green water of Lago General Carrera to Chile Chico, then a short bus over to Los Antiguos on the Argentinean side. We had planned to catch the 18 hour bus south to El Calafate the same day, but it only ran every second day so we had to spend the night. Los Antiguos is quite flat and sprawling, and it took a bit of walking until we found a hostel. Climate is quite different on the Argentinean side, hotter and drier – strange to be back in T-shirt weather again. The most exciting event in Los Antiguos was Edel’s boots getting attacked during the night by the hostel owners dog. A fight to the death possibly – the boots had been left outdoors for a reason…

Blue ice of the Perito Moreno.

Blue ice of the Perito Moreno.

The bus south was long, across dry Patagonian steppe and landscapes reminding a little of Tibet with big skies. In El Calafate we met up with Anne – great to see another face from home. Anne’s joining us for a break from the Irish winter, and being too nice for her own good she didn’t protest when we plotted to use the month to drag her down to the southernmost bit of land outside Antarctica 😀 . Speaking of faces from home we also met up with Simona and Silvia who are also a few months into their round-the-world trip, for a nice evening sharing some wine and travel stories. In El Calafate we spent a day around town, checking out a museum which was quite modern and well laid out – with the full human history of Patagonia, including all the megafauna we made extinct as soon as we got here (it had a big skeleton of a Milodon ground-sloth), and photos from the days of sheep-farmers and missionaries helping the indigenous people become extinct. Afterwards we walked down to a small bird sanctuary by a lake just outside town, ducks, geese, flamingos, falcons, shore-birds, and two dogs on a killing spree trying to make all of them extinct.

Ice breaking off the Perito Moreno.

Ice breaking off the Perito Moreno.

 

Next day we went for the star attraction around El Calafate – the Perito Moreno glacier 80km west of town. It is the most impressive glacier we’ve seen anywhere – a bright blue 60 meter high wall of ice five kilometers wide, ending in the water of Lago Argentino with lots of icebergs floating around. We went out on the water first – a big hundred-passenger boat which was dwarfed next to the ice-wall. They can’t go to close though – this is one of the most active glaciers in the world and building-sized blocks are falling off all the time.

Next we explored the board-walks on the peninsula that just happens to be perfectly positioned opposite the front of the glacier wall. Every now and then we would hear a cannon-ball bang when another large block fell off into the water below – the glacier is moving two meters per day so has a lot of ice to shed. We were listening to the creaking sounds from the ice, trying to predict and aim the cameras where the next collapse would come.

The Perito Moreno glacier.

The Perito Moreno glacier.

One Response to “Into Argentina”

  1. Simona and Sylvia says:

    Looks familiar! Your pictures are amazing, keep it up! Ciao from sunny (fingers crossed) NZ 🙂

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