This morning I woke up very early, because I had a trip booked with the boat to go to the Grey Glacier on Lago Grey.
The weather was not great but near the glacier it cleared up quite a bit, so that there were patches of blue sky.
The Glacier is in the south end of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. The surface of the lake can be seen when following the big circuit of Paine Mountain Range at John Garner Pass. There is another view of the glacier from the south shore of the lake where the glacier can be seen in the background, with fragments of ice floating close to the shore. It is located to the west side of the Torres del Paine National Park.
I saw the three or four day trek path and the view you get from the shore… With the cold and the hard wind, I’m glad that I don’t even attempted that because the view from the boat was just outstanding… real close and we visited all three ice glaciers – divided by two Islands before covered entirely by the one big glacier.
At the last glacier we were given a Pisco Sour with glacier ice… supposedly with million year old ice from the glacier… Departing the boat we saw a very big condor not to far away on the rock wall. The photo doesn’t do it justice at all. My camera can’t zoom in enough.
Afterwards I had a pretty uneventful drive back to Pto.Natales. Brought my washing to the laundry and took it easy…
This morning I drove from Puerto Natales to Torres del Paine national park. The short route turned out to be a very long trip because near the end the road was closed and I had to drive a long way around a lake to connect to the other main road… But it was all worth it.
Beautiful sunny day with great vistas on the mountain ranges, although one view of the Cerro del Paine’s was obstructed by clouds. I saw abundant wildlife, a small fox, many of the local lama species; Gaunaco’s, and very close up a couple of condors where soaring very low.
The park is very expensive and the wind is extremely hard, besides I am in no shape to do multiple day trekking so I stick to day hikes. Besides with my car I get to such exquisite places and photo views so I don’t need to stay out and camp in my tent. Maybe further up north in Argentina.
Tomorrow I have booked a boat trip to the glacier. Outrageous expensive, but I’ve been told it is worth it, so I better take the chance now the weather is still good. Tonight I sleep at the parking lot of a very expensive hotel/lodge where I can use the free WiFi…
Today I arrived at Puerto Natales after an excellent and mind blowing trip through the wild nature and islands of Patagonia.
Most photos of this trip can be viewed at my Google+ albums.
Back in Puerto Month, waiting for the ferry on Friday, when I sail to Puerto Natale’s, with my car. A little expensive but the trip is unique through the Chilean South with fjords and islands. Besides you can’t drive there all the way without crossing over to Argentina and I don’t want to do that yet.
Here in Pto. Month, I do some last necessary shopping and getting everything in order for Patagonia, but the cold here is already very bad. And these people don’t have central heating in their houses or just a small gas heater. I am wearing four layers of clothes to stay warm but I hate it. At least it is sunny now and supposedly it is going to stay that way for a while. I hope on my trip down south too…. In the south it is even colder but here it is already 2°C at night and no more the 7° or 10° at daytime…
I am not staying in the same hostel as the one before, when I was in Pto.Montt. this one has nicer rooms, has a secure carpark and is cheaper too.
Next morning was one ugly rainy and windy day, so without any further ado, I packed my stuff and drove further south to Quellon. There was the supposedly beginning – or end of the Pan American highway… Well whatever… Still no fun day so back to my lovely spot in Ancud. Where the weather wasn’t great either but at least I knew the spot was good to sleep.
No penguins to be seen, but a real beachcomber in his beach hut…
Nice rural country side drive. Then south to. A little fishing village, but weather started to deteriorate and it wasn’t really special. So on wards toward Castro.
Looking for a spot to sleep at Queilen, another small fishing harbor, but couldn’t find a nice and quiet spot so I drove on to Cucao where I found a small camping. There the rain really started to pour.
And in the middle of no-where a “Tante Emma Laden” …
Yesterday, I left a cold Pto. Montt and took the ferry to Chiloe. In Puerto Montt I quickly bought a new warm cover for in my bed, because the sleeping bag that I am using is not always sufficient. I also bought to long johns [long underpants] because it is not going to be much warmer.
In Chiloe I drove through a beautiful rural countryside to Ancud and found a great look-out point high above a beach and decided to come back there after some sight seeing in town. And spoilt myself on some crab legs…
After a short drive from Valdivia, I arrived quite early in the afternoon in Puerto Montt.
After checking into a hostel not far from the ferry harbor, I went to check on availability to have my car shipped from Pto. Montt to Puerto Nathale. This is a three night sailing and will save me a lot of petrol and wear and tear of the car and tires and will bring me right to Torres Del Paine and the road to Ushuaia. The next shipping date is Friday one week on, so I will go tomorrow to Chiloe and bare the cold weather. More layers of clothes are needed.
A couple of days in town to do my washing and a hot shower. See some history, etc.
Walked today around and met some dangerously close, foul smelling lazy bums. Feasting on the fish carcasses at the seafood and vegetable market…
Text and photos following (more photos in my Google+ albums – see menu)
Text and photos following (more photos in my Google+ albums – see menu)
New tires, and not a bit early either… see the big chunk out of my front-left tire… that was San Jose del Maipo street where I tried to climb the hill with these tires. Not suited for gravel roads.
Eddie (Eduardo) one of the IYH (youth hostel) front desk guys, knew a great place to get tires not far from his home. And a great service and deal I got for four new Radial tires a little bit larger (higher from the ground).
Afterwards Eddy and I went to his house for a lunch. Thanks Eddy, it was great to meet your family.
Driving is a new experience now… Not in a bit unsmooth at all but well balanced. My old tires were Rain/highway tires but were getting a bit out of balance. So I hope I am well set for Patagonia and gravel roads.
I drove today from Santiago to San Antonio.
Had a great cheap meal at Isla Negra.
Then up along the coast to El Quisco and Algorobo with in between the beautiful beach of El Canelo…
Still very cold, though some die-hards were swimming, believe it or not.
Then at night back to the hostel in Santiago were I slept in the camper in the courtyard – no snoring dorm co-inhabitants. And last week I had some really smelly Germans in the room who didn’t understand the use of deodorant… Umpff… And the car is still very comfortable although cold, but not in my bed…
The Chilean and Bolivian kitchen girls in the hostel are going Loco with this song, turning the sound up high volume and singing along…
And hearing the language everyday, I start to pick up parts of it… give me a year and I can speak like these guys and the millions other Spanish speaking people on this huge continent… I hope
I finally made an appointment at one of the Ford Garages here in Santiago.
At the site of Ford Chile they mention that they even have parts from Europe… We’ll see, and otherwise I get the Clutch Slave Cylinder send from Holland. I hope that I can have my spare keys programmed as well.
update: 5th November
Just got back from the Garage and there was no leakage… The mechanic, an old hand with Ford cars recognized the engine as similar of that of the older Ford Focus and checked everything in detail and concluded that since Bonaire, the hot weather but also the heavy use in the mountains in Colombia must have used some brake fluid and air must have entered the system. I never checked properly, to be honest. So after I started to fill the brake fluid pod, the air must have slowly exited the system and since my last heavy use of the gear and clutch in the mountains last weekend, the mechanic had to have only very little brake fluid to fill. I didn’t have any problems returning from the Garage in the city traffic, so everything must have been okay. The clutch pedal cylinder was in stock but not the slave cylinder but after all it was not necessary.
I had everything else checked and the steering fluid could have some filling but oil and everything else was OK. I had the air filter replaced, though I had a new one placed in Bonaire but the dust in the Ecuador, Peru and North Chile desert was tough.
Final costs: $ 15.00 so that was a financial break too…
The programming of the spare keys will take some more time because they have to check the European system with the VIN number, but the chef will email back to have that done if possible.