Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.

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Update on Perito Moreno Glacier

In my last post I wrote about the visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier near el Calafaté.  Today Jane Rosevelt sent me an article she saw in the Oregonian from Portland, OR.  If you remember I wished that we had been there to see a giant calving of the glacier.  Here is the news from today.  It happened yesterday, 3/

Tourists in southern Argentina had the opportunity to witness a breathtaking natural phenomenon when huge chunks of the Perito Moreno Glacier broke off in front of them.

The pieces of ice crashed into Lake Argentina on Thursday, prompting cheers from onlookers at Los Glaciares National Park.

The massive natural monument in the province of Santa Cruz is approximately 97 square miles (250 kilometers), and its walls tower about 70 meters (yards) over water level.

Periodically the glacier advances over the lake and then breaks off.

The leading edge of the Perito Moreno glacier collapse, sending several tons of ice crashing down into the sea in Argentina

The glacier had  last ruptured in March 2012.

Here is the photo from the Oregonian.

This is Perito Moreno Glacier calving.

Photo taken from the Oregonian. This photo is copyrighted by the Associated Press.

And I found a video online this morning.

We were standing near that spot on January 31, 2016.


El Calafaté to Torres del Paine and Home

This is the last post from my absolutely astounding trip. The last 5 days are included in this one post so I hope I remembered most of it. I also added information and many, many photos (taken by me, the professional photographer on the ship, and my friends) to the previous posts.. For those of you who have been receiving my posts when I was on the trip, you can now go beck to the beginning and see it all.  You will have to scroll down to January 13th to see everything and (until I figure out how to fix it) will have to see it in reverse chronological order.  I even added a few videos so it will be best to view with good wifi.  Feel free to just look at photos and videos.  This blog contains a lot explanations of where we went and what we saw.

February 1st:

We were picked up from our hotel in El Calafaté at about 8:00.   Our driver through the Argentina portion of our trip treated double lines as a suggestion. Jean and I were in the front seats and held our breath as we crossed the double line very close to other vehicles. In addition, some of the roads were … well just look at this very short clip to view the roads.

When we reached the border crossing between Argentina and Chile we had to wait in line. We had to stand in line for over 90 before we got our passports stamped to leave the country.

There was a long line.

Photo taken by Joni Cady.

We were very glad to not be in the line of people trying to enter Argentina that day.

This is the line of people at the Chilean border.

This sign was posted that was in Spanish and English.  It said, “We have no water and cleaning services so no bathrooms. Sorry for the inconvenience.”  But they did sell cigarettes.

Entering Chile was much so much more efficient. It was hard to believe. After getting our passports stamped we were transferred to another driver in a much more comfortable van who drove us the rest of the way.

As we arrived at Hotel las Torres Patagonia, we were greeted by a group of habaneros waving flags and riding around our van. What a treat.

The habaneros greeted us.

This is one of the habaneros.

After checking into our rooms, we had lunch and went to a meeting about the possible adventures to take for the next two days. Then Pat and I took a walk around the grounds. We saw a fox walking behind the trees. Later, at dinner, we saw the fox again. This time Aldo, our waiter, took a couple of us outside to get a closer view. He called the fox to him and that was when we realized that he was actually giving the fox treats – not a good idea for the fox who has to spend the winter here without the treats.


Aldo asked if anybody was celebrating a birthday. We told him that it had been Joni’s so he took a napkin and made her a flower. Aldo was so delightful and the dinner was delicious. I don’t usually take photos of food, but the presentation was worth the photos.

This is my fish dinner.

February 2nd.

While we were eating breakfast we saw the hotel horses going across the field. This photo only shows some of them.

The horses rode across the field.

Some of our group did ½ day trips today. John, Andy, Joni, Pat, Valerie, Sylvia and Rita decided to take the “Full Paine” Adventure.


My friends did a different hike.

Photo provided by Andy Golay.

They are near Grey Glacier

Photo provided by Andy Golay

Jane and I decided to do the 18 km hike (Las Torres Sendero del Ascencio. We wanted to walk instead of being in a van and then on a boat for 3 hours. We walked for a while and then crossed some bridges. They only allowed one person at a time on this one.

I am crossing the bridge.

There were only 5 of us in our group and we actually had 2 guides (Javier and Inger). We saw other groups with more than 10 people and one guide. The first part of the hike had undulating hills but was mostly up hill.

I am walking up the path.

The views were beautiful.

This is a view when walking Torres del Ascencio.

This flower is called “Fire Bush” and is the flower of Patagonia.

This is the flower of Chile.

Hiking uphill got me very warm and I had so I had to take off my jacket and the bottom portion of my pants. There was not time to remove them so I rolled them into my socks.

My pants are rolled into my socks.

There were great views of the valleys.

This is a great view of the valley going to Torres del Paine.

They used horses to bring up the supplies to the Refugio, which was 5 km into the hike.

The horses are bringing supplies.

This is a wooden sign showing the trail. Notice the altitude at the end.

This is a wooden map of the trail.

When we arrived at the Refugio, there were many people around the area. They camp out here in tents. We took a short break, ate a snack and used the baños, which had a long waiting line to use and was not too clean. Jane noticed the sign that offered the horse rides. Andy and Rita will do this hike tomorrow but they will ride the horses for the first 5 km. They were not available for people today.

This is a sign about riding horses.

We then started through the lenga forest, which was undulating for a while. We were told that the water above the Refugio could be drunk right out of the stream so Jane and I both filled our water bottles. I can’t remember drinking straight out of a stream in the last 40 years.

Jane is filling her water bottle

I am filling my water bottle in the stream.

Some of the bridges had more spaces between the slats. We had to be careful on this one.

Bridge with open slats

We kept walking up, and up, and up.  Javier was pointing out the trail for us.Javier was pointing out the trail for us.

Eventually I reached the part of the hike that was really uphill. Younger people would stop and ask me how old I was and tell me that I was amazing. I met one man who was turning 70 and as determined as I was to get to the top. He said he had to make it this year. Javier would wait for me along the way and kept asking me if I was going to be okay. He was worried that I would get too tired and not be able to get back down. I knew that if I got to the top, going down would be much easier. I discovered that I could climb up the rocks with much less pressure on my lung capacity than when I walk uphill. It was almost all leg power and go very slowly.

Here are some photos of the rocky trail.

This is a rocky trail to the towers.


This is a rocky path to Torres del Paine.

This is a rocky path to Torres del Paine.


I was pretty tired, but I kept on going.

This is a rocky path to Torres del Paine.

When I reached the top, Jane was still there. Javier filled my water bottle with the glacier water from the pond. It was so delicious. Somebody came up to Jane and I and wanted to take our picture – must be the grey hair.

The rock face across from the pond looked like it was streaked with white lines. Then I discovered that all of the lines were actually lines of water running down the rocks.

I could see the water and towers an knew I was almost there.

It is actually water running down the rocks.

Then some people took photos of me with my camera.

I made it to the towers.

I loved being up there, looking at the towers and the green water.

I loved being at the towers.

I could have stayed up there for hours and hours and hours.  But Javier told me that I had to start back down so I would get back before dark.

Going down is much easier for me.  Some other people are just coming up.  Inger walked down the rocky parts with me.

Inger is going down the rocks with me.

I have passed most of the rocks and am on the trail again.

I have passed most of the rocks and am on the trail again.

I am walking down the path/

Inger and Javier were waiting for me when I got back to the Refugio. Javier bought me a coke and insisted that I sit down and eat some snacks. I sure wished that the horses were available to take me the last 5 km. That is not far to walk, but it was already late and I knew it would be up and almost the whole way. Inger stayed with me all the way back.

I loved the design of the rocks in the roots of the tree.

Somebody put rocks in the tree roots.

The streams look different on the way back.

This is a stream on the way back.

The pack horses passed us and I sure wish I had been able to ride on one.

The pack horses passed us.

It was uplifting to see the rainbow.  I still had a long way to go.

I liked seeing this rainbow.

The views of the water and hills were beautiful

There are small ponds on the way back from the Towers.

We were down to the mostly flat part. We could still see the rainbow and Inga kept encouraging me all the way, but we were not back yet.

Inga was encouraging me.

By the time I arrived back at our wonderful hotel at 8:45 pm I was really exhausted.  As I was getting ready to change my clothes so I could get to the dining room before diner ended, Ann came into the room and offered to go get me something for dinner.  She brought me a wonderful chicken salad. How wonderful to be saved by my traveling partner. While waiting for her I  washed my clothes and took a bath, I was almost too tired to eat so I just picked off the chicken from the delicious chicken salad and fell asleep. The round trip was only 18 km (about 11 miles) but it took me 11 hours all together.  What a day. I really loved it.

February 3rd:

I was suppose to to do another hike today to Mirador Grey with Jane.  The trip involved taking a vehicle to a catamaran for a short 30 minute crossing of Pehoe Lake.   Then we would have walked the trailhead for the Grey Glacier View Point.  It would have been a 22 km (13.67miles).  I knew I could do 13.67 miles but I didn’t think I could do it in time to get back to the catamaran for the trip back.  So I changed my plans and went on a morning trip to Laguna Azul  (Blue Lake) with Ann, Joni  and a couple other people.  It actually involved driving in a jeep to see the sights.  I was sure that Jane was going to do the hike, but when I saw her at breakfast, she said she was also too tired to do 22 km.

The jeep stopped many times for us to take photos of wildlife and nature today.

First we saw a Black Crested Eagle

Version 2

The morning rainbow was beautiful.

Morning Rainbow

These are just like the Guanacos we saw near el Calafaté.


  • They are native to the arid, mountainous regions of South America.
  • Guanacos are related to camels, as are vicuña, llamas, and alpacas.
  • It has a  typical lifespan of 20 – 25 years
  • Estimates from 2011 place their numbers at 400,000 to 600,000 in South America.
  • They live in groups of up to ten females, their young, and a dominant male adult.
  • Unattached bachelor males form herds of their own—these can include as many as 50 or more animals.
  • When a female guanaco gives birth, her newborn, known as a chulengo, is able to walk immediately.
  • Chulengos can walk  immediately and keep up with the herd right away.
  • When they feel threatened, guanacos alert the herd to flee with a high-pitched, bleating call.
  • The male usually runs behind the herd to defend them.
  • They can run at 56 km (35 mi) per hour, often over steep and rocky terrain.
  • They are also excellent swimmers.
  • They are one of the largest wild mammal species found in South America.
  • Natural predators include cougars, jaguars, and foxes.
  • Chulengos can keep up with the herd right away.

There were Guanacos with young ones.

Guanco and young

Adult and youg Guanaco

We saw a flock of flamingos across a pond.


We got much closer to the Choique (Rhea) that we also saw near Calafaté.


  • They are the Patagonian symbol.
  • Source of inspiration for stories and legends, the rhea is so present in folklore as in all the paths in Patagonia.
  • It is a large , herbivorous, flightless bird.
  • They use their soft wings as stabilizers, and are fast runners.
  • It is one of the two “American ostriches”, but unlike its African relative has three toes instead of two.

We actually saw the Guanaco and a Choique together in the field.

Guanacp and Choique

We came across a pond filled with Geese.


This Upland Goose was walking around the field near the geese..


This Crested Caracara was hanging out around the gift shop.  I thought it was a hawk, but Susan helped me with a possible identification.


As we were driving, we saw red fox running the woods. I know it is hard to see.

Fox in woods

We arrived at Laguna Azul.  Joni and I had took photos of each other.

Nancy at Laguan Azul

Joni at Laguna Azul

I took a video of Laguna Azul.

After a wonderful lunch with Ann and Pat, I went on an afternoon hike to Bosque de Lenga (Lenga forest) with a couple from Brazil.  It was a long, dusty uphill walk.

Our guide pointed out a very spikey plant that was called a Mother-in-Law.

Mother in Law Bush

This is aa close-up of the spikes.

Close-up of Mother in Law Bush

There were many Lenga Trees.

Lenga Tree

On the way back we saw a large chicken called a Southern Caracara.

Southern Caracara Tonight they surprised us with a BBQ that was cooked just for our Portland group in our own private room.  A lamb was hung over the BBQ pit.

BBQ Lamb on Spit

This was the best tasting lamb I ever ate.

We had a worderful treat when Aldo, our waiter, sang for us.  Here is a shot clip of him singing.

February 4th and 5th.

We woke up at 6:00 and after breakfast we were driven back to El Calafaté today.  They didn’t take  much tome to stamp our passports as we left Chile.   But this time our wait at the border of Argentina took over 2 1/2 hours.  I really can’t understand why.

The entire trip  from waking up; driving from Torres del Paine to El Calafaté; flying to Buenos Aires; flying to Miami; flying to Los Angeles;…

Jean after planning  this incredible trip, navigating us through all of the traveling between places, she finally took a nap in the Miami Airport.

Jean after planning  this incredible trip, navigating us through all of the traveling between places, she finally took a nap in the Miami Airport.

…flying to Portland; and the drive to my house was 43 hours. Yikes.

This was an ultra extraordinary trip.  I hope you enjoyed reading my blog.


Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier

We were picked up this morning at 8:00. Our guide, Daniella, was one of the best guides I have had on a trip. She knew plants, birds, geology, history, and spoke perfect English. She showed us photos of the animals we might see; gave us history lessons;

The town of el Calafaté has grown from a our 5000 people to 25,000 because of the tourism that has developed here. It is in the province of Santa Cruz. The province used to raise mostly sheep until the price of wool declined. Now they raise cows.

The Native people (Tuhuelche – also known as the Aoniken – from Argentina and the Machupes from Chile) were, like most native peoples, mostly wiped out. The Occidental people took over the land and are called Estancia (the ones who stay and own the land).

Among the many, many birds in the area are Flamingo, Black Headed Swans, Red Headed Woodpeckers, Condors, Black Chested Eagles, Ibes and many more.

In 1937 Los Glaciares National Park was established. Lake Argentino is the largest (100 km by 40 km with channels that reach out like an octopus) fresh water lake in Argentina. .  We stopped along the way for photos.

This is a view of Perito Moreno Glacier from our car.


Rita, Pat, Andy, Nancy - Perito Moreno Glacier

This is a group photo at Perito Moreno Glacier.

We took a Catamaran up the Brazo Arizona (one of the channels of Lake Argentino) right up close to the south part of Perito Moreno Glacier. Danielle said that the wall of the glacier that we could see is 5 km wide and about 40 to 70 meters high from the water level. We spend a long time photographing and watching small calving which we could hear but were difficult to photograph.

This is a panorama of the south side of Perito Moreno Glacier

This is a close up of the south side of Perito Moreno Glacier.

This is a view Perito Moreno and me from the catamaran.

This is a view Perito Moreno and Pat from the catamaran.

I took this photo off of the web because it shows the splashing from the calving.


I wondered if the cave like opening in the glacier was caused by calving.

There is a hole in the bottom of the glacier.

Here is a close-up of the hole.

Close-up of hole

Ann and I are on the catamaran.

The glacier is near the land.

After the catamaran ride we went into the part of the National Park where we could see the north end of the glacier. Danielle said this wall was 30 km long but we were only seeing about 14 km of it.  This view is from above,


This is the north end of Perito Moreno Glacier

This is the north end of Perito Moreno with plants in the front.

We had a group photo taken of the wonderful people that were on this portion of the trip, but we are missing John and Jerry.  I wish they had been in this spot with us.

This is a group photo of us at Perito Moreno.

Andy found John.

John is in front of Perito Moreno Glacier.

Photo taken by Andy Golay

What totally boggled my mind was when Daniella said that the total mass of the glacier is bigger than the city of Buenos Aires.  So I did some research.

  • The 250 km squared (97 sq mile) ice formation, and 30 km (19 mi) in length, is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile.
  • I read that it is known as the 8th wonder of the world.
  • This ice field is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water.
  • It was named after the explorer Francisco Moreno, a pioneer who studied the region in the 19th century and played a major role in defending the territory of Argentina in the conflict surrounding the international border dispute with Chile.
  • Pressures from the weight of the ice slowly pushes the glacier over the southern arm (“Brazo Rico”) of Lake Argentino, damming the section and separating it from the rest of the lake.
    • With no outlet, the water level on the “Brazo Rico” side of the lake can rise by as much as 30 meters above the level of the main body of Lake Argentino.
    • Intermittently, the pressure produced by the height of the dammed water breaks through the ice barrier causing a spectacular rupture, sending a massive outpouring of water from the Brazo Rico section to the main body of Lake Argentina.
    • As the water exits Brazo Rico, the scored shoreline is exposed, showing evidence of the height of the water build-up.
    • This dam–ice-bridge–rupture cycle recurs naturally between once a year to less than once a decade.

I wish I could wrap my mind around how all of this happens.  I just know that I could see the blockage and how the levels of the water were different.

The levels of the water are different with the blockage in the middle.

I took this video to show the small waterfall where the glacier is melting.  Perhaps this will cause a calving.

This video shows the ripples of water that occurred right after a very small calving.  We heard but I didn’t get to start taking this video after the ice fell.

A few more facts:

  • The last rupture occurred on January 19, 2013 and previously on March 4, 2012,
  • Usually it ruptures, on average, about every four to five years.
  • Daniella told us that they were expecting another large calving of the glacier very soon.
  • As of February 2012, before the rupture on March 2nd, the glacier dammed the Brazo Rico.
    • The water level there had risen 5.6 meters.
  • The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing. The reason remains debated by glaciologists.
  • The terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide, with an average height of 74 m (240 ft) above the surface of the water of  LakeArgentino, in Argentina.
  • It has a total ice depth of 170 meters (558 ft).

The ice from the Perito Moreno glacier is so beautiful.

This ice from the Perito Moreno Glacier is so beautiful.

It would have be an incredibly overwhelming experience to be here when the rupture occurred.

The Upsula Glacier that Pat, Jane, Andy and I hiked to see yesterday actually flows into the Perito Moreno Glacier.

On the way back we stopped to so that we could put our feet into the water from the glacier.  It was did not feel as cole as the water in Antarctica where I did my polar plunge.

I put my feet into the water fed by Perito Moreno Glacier

I sat on the rock after putting my feet into the water.

I asked Daniella to suggest a restaurant for dinner. She suggested Isabel for authentic food. Ten of us took the shuttle to town and most of us ordered one of their most traditional dishes of Argentina.  It was called plough disk cooking.   The menu said they like to share part of their culinary traditions that had been kept secret for a long time among the gauchos homes and lifestyles. It was lamb, potatoes, & veggies cooked in a round cast iron pan and was absolutely delicious.  I didn’t get a photo of the food but here are a few of us at the table.

This is part of our dinner group at Isabel's

Daniella also told us about a plant called “el Calafaté” which has a red berry on it. The berries can be eaten and have many uses, One way is to make Calafaté ice cream. After dinner we went to Tito’s and had a 2 scoop cone with  Calafaté and chocolate ice cream What a wonderful treat to have on our last night in el Calafaté.  I sure wish I had remembered to photograph both the dinner and the ice cream.


Upsala Glacier

Another amazing day!  I walked across the street from Las Dunas Hotel in the morning to see this view across the lake.

This is the view from Las Dunas Hotel in el Calafate.

Pat, Jane, Andy, and I opted for a different tour from the rest of the group. We took a bus (and saw wonderful cloud formations)…

We saw these cloud formations from the bus.

…which took us to the Catamaran for a 2 1/2 to 3 hour boat ride on Lake Argentino. It is the largest lake in Argentina.

We were excited about this adventure.

Pat, Nancy, and Andy are on the Catamaran.

Although I was already missing Antarctica, the view here were wonderful.

This is a view of the hillside off Lake Antarctica.

This is aview of a mountain from Lake Antarctica.

There was a lot of floating ice in the lake and the blue color was vibrant.  You would think we had our fill of floating ice and icebergs, but I loved seeing every one of them.  They were mostly, of course, scaled-down versions compared to Antarctica.

This is a beautiful glacier in Lake Argentina.

Photo take by Pat Burnett

The ice is floating in Lake Argentina.

I actually got a photo of a Kelp Gull.

This Kelp Gull flew over Lake Argentina.

From the boat we saw where Upsala Glacier came down to the lake. We couldn’t actually go right up to the edge of it.

This is Upsala Glacier

When we got off the boat we were picked up in a  jeep. There were 11 of us in this jeep. Here are Jane, Andy, Pat, another couple, and I before we departed.

We are in front of the jeep that takes us to our hike.

Photo by Andy Golay

We had a 45 minute drive over rough road before we began our hike.

Andy is on the the trail going to Upsala.

The trail twisted and turned with spectacular views.

We were hiking to Upsala Glacier

At one point I stopped to change the battery in my camera and missed that the group had made a turn.  I saw them down below me and reversed my steps to get to them.

I found them below me on the path.

We paused by one of the upper lakes.

I am by one of the lakes.

We continued along the switchbacks and path by more lake views.

The path went along the lakes.

The views of the glaciers made this part of our hike well worthwhile.

Here is Andy at Upsala Glacier.

Pat is by the lake with a view of Upsala Glacier.

I am standing above the glacier.

I took this panoramic view.

This is a panorama of the glaciers and lake.

One fascinating thing was that in 2010 so much of the glacier had broken off  so that the ice in the lake made getting to the hike we did today impossible.

Another unbelievable thing was to see photos of the size of the glacier in 1928. It is so amazing to see how much of it has disappeared .

This map shows how the glacier is disappearing.

The hike was definitely not easy. It was 3:30 before we stopped for lunch on the rocks.

Pat and Jane are having lunch with the group.

We didn’t take much time for lunch because the guide told us that we had only gone 3 1/2 km so far with at least 11 more to go.

We had to walk over down some loose rocky paths and and shale.

The group is hiking down from Upsala Glacier.

This is Andy at Upsala Glacier

There were fossils in the path.  These are Belemnite fossils. Belemnites were animals that lived in the sea. They are now extinct. A fossil Belemite is usually the guard, the back part of the shell and looks like a dart or bullet.

These are Belemnite Fossils.

These are Belemnite Fossils.

These are Ammonite fossils.  Ammonites are perhaps the most widely known fossil, possessing the typically ribbed spiral-form shell. These creatures lived in the seas between 240 -65 million years ago when they became extinct along with dinosaurs.

This is an Ammonite Fossil.

This is a Ammonite Fossil.

We also saw fools gold embedded into the rock.

This is fools gold.

I always like seeing birds and this hawk was no exception.  It landed right near us.

This hawk landed right near us.

The variety of landscapes walked through was very surprising. Sometimes it felt like we were in high desert.  The color of the rock formations was absolutely stunning.

The rocks were so beautiful.

Shale Hiking - Upsala.

I love the color of the rocks.

This  bolder that had broken off was so beautiful.

This beautiful bolder broke off.

I loved this cloud formation.

Cloud - Upsala

After we made it through the rocky paths, we walked though grassy fields.

e walked through grassy fields.

The guide told us that these steer were wild and to stay clear of them.

The guide told us these steer were wild.

We never took a break for the rest of the hike.  We finally arrived at this bridge where Andy was waiting for us. There was a water wheel at the end of the bridge.

Andy is waiting at the end of the bridge.

Andy took a photo of us.

We are walking across the bridge.

Photo taken by Andy Golay

We still had to walk for a while longer and we had to hurry because the catamaran was waiting for us. We didn’t get back to the Catamaran until about 5:30. Then we still had a 2 hour boat ride back to the bus. Most of the people slept on the way back.  The whole trip took 11 hours.

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On to el Calafate

We arrived in Ushuaia early this morning. I had my last breakfast with the Texas/Georgia group (Fred, Bill, Rich & Dawn). I sure had a fantastic time hanging out with them. Fred especially made me laugh; supported me when hiking uphill; helped me with my camera; and generally added joy to each day. But, alas, we had to say goodbye this morning.

You can see the size of the MS FRAM compared to the larger ships in port.

This is a photo of the MS FRAM next to a larger cruise ship.

We had 4 hours in Ushuaia this morning. The guide recommended a good coffee/tea shop with wi-fi. So most of us went to Ramos Generales.

This si the coffee shop in Ushuaia.

I got a good laugh when I saw the way they designated women’s and men’s bathroom.

Women's and Men's underwear designating women's and men's bathrooms.

I went to one of the museums in town which depicted the life of the indigenous people in this area from the late 1800s. I read:

  • How they made their huts and built their canoes (and built fires in the canoes to stay warm)
  • Shared what ever food they caught with anybody nearby
  • When they went out in the canoes, only the women knew how to swim.
  • The missionaries came to the area in the early 1900s.
  • Diseases and other factors really wiped out the indigenous people.

The Ushuaia airport had the longest lines through security that I have ever seen. We had to go up a narrow staircase and it seemed to take forever.  We arrived at our gate right in time to board.

I was surprised how much the landscape in el Calafate is like desert . Ann, Pat and I went out for a walk along part of Lake Argentino. All we had to do was walk across the road from Las Dunas Hotel where we are staying.

The water is a beautiful blue color. It must be a glacier fed lake.

This is me by Lake Argentino.

Ann, Pat, and I  had a great trout dinner with Carl, Rita, and John in the hotel restaurant. I am sure glad that we can share dinners.  It was easy on the ship to just take what I wanted. The restaurant meals are too big for one person.

Right in the middle of dinner I went outside to take a photo of the sunset over Lake Argentina.

This was the sunset over Lake Argentino.

Ann, Pat, and I went back to our triple room. We could see what I was told is Solitaire Island with the mountain peaks in the background from our room.  We will be in a triple for the rest of the trip.This is Solitaire Island in Lake Argentina

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Back to Ushuaia

The Drake Passage was pretty smooth on the way back.  We spent our day mostly relaxing and going to lectures. We learned more about Sea Wanderers, Greenland, Politics in Argentina, and Winter at an Antarctica Station. The staff is so knowledgable.  Greenland is now on my list of possible places to visit.

The captain took our ship by Cape Horn this afternoon. There were Petrels flying around but it was very difficult getting photos of them.

We went around Cape Horn

Here I am on the deck as we passed it.

I am on the deck as we pass Cape Horn.

Andy, Jerry, and Joni were also out there.

My friends were on the deck as we passed Cape Horn.

Photo provided by Andy Golay.

The staff held an auction in the Observation Lounge and served each of us a cocktail. They auctioned off a flag and a map. The money (I think over $600) they collected is going to The Antarctica Heritage Trust.

Although we were assigned certain tables for tonight’s dinner,  Fred, Bill, Dawn, Rich, Ann & I managed to sit at the same table for our last dinner.

Morten took a photo of the staff waving “Good bye” to us all.

The staff of the MS FRAM are waving "Good Bye" to us.

Photographed by Morten Hilmer – Copyright © Morten Hilmer


On the Way Back to Ushuaia

Ann and I again loved the rocking of the ship during as we slept last night. Imagining that we are floating in a hammock was so peaceful.

On the way back to Ushuaia we did not have any landings. That could have made for a very long day so the crew provided information and entertainment for us.

Ann, Fred, Bill, Dawn, Rick, Jane, Joni, and I were in the 2nd group to do a bridge visit. The Captain showed us the instruments, maps, etc in the bridge and answered any questions we had.

This is from the Captains deck.

Photographed by Morten Hilmer – Copyright © Morten Hilmer


Nancy is on the bridge of the FRAM

Then we went to a talk about Penguins and humans. We learned :

  • 1497 was the first contact for occidental man with penguins.
  • Penguins were at first a food source up to about 1930.
  • In the 40s and 50s various countries began issuing Antarctica Penguin Stamps. The ones I used for my postcards were Great Britain ones. It became a political issue.
  • Beginning in the 30s, 40s, and 50s the commercialism of Penguin paraphernalia began. Manuel showed us many comics and a multitude of penguin items being sold. He said that penguins are the most frequent animal used in commercial projects.

I actually took an hour nap today. That was a first for this trip. By the way my patch worked well again.. Did you know that the Drake Passage is the largest current in the world. They said that it is 137 times more that all of the rivers in the world combined. The word they use to measure these currents is Sverdrup.

We also went to a talk about Cape Horn.

  • Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans collide.
  • For decades it was a major milestone on the clipper route , by which sailing ships carried trade around the world.
  • The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers made it notorious as a sailors’ graveyard.
  • The need for ships to round Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.
  • The cape lies within what are now Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse. 
  • A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor, José Balcells,  featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to “Round the Horn.”
This is the sculpture on the top of Cape Horn

Photo taken by Dorene Abrams


This is the monument at Cape Horn.

Photo from a webpage

Fred, Bill, Dawn, and Rick had a little party in the observation lounge today and invited me. I sure have enjoyed being with them on this voyage. In addition to being so supportive of me when hiking up the hills they have kept me laughing so much of the time.

After our party I went to a talk about points of interest:

  • Wing span of birds
  • What the staff members carry in their packs when they set up our landings
  • Some differences between Zodiac Boats and PolarCruise Boats (what we used on this ship).
    • The PolarCirkel boats have a rigid structure above the air-filled rubber tubing

Before dinner some of us went to a showing of  the old movie, “Evita.”

I forgot to write in previous posts (which may tickle the funny bone of people who have read about my past trips) that I ate ice cream for dessert at least once per day and mostly twice.

This voyage has been so far beyond any expectations I formed before we embarked. I already miss the penguins, whales, glaciers, icebergs, and seabirds. I will also really miss the new friends I met.

I think this would be a good place in my blog to share the video that Fred created about Penguins.  It brings back great memories.