Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Navimag Day 4: 51° 43' 60S

To no surprise I was up early and ready to go. A hard uninterrupted 10 hours of sleep will do that to a person. I showered, chugged a glorious instand coffee, gilled up my mug and watched the day start from where else, on the front deck of course.
I watched the wind kick the crap out of the channel waters creating funnel clouds that got surprisingly large. This was a pretty decent way to start my last day on the Evangalista.

Most people were now up and about so I moved into the bar. It was 9am and it was OPEN!!. Everyone was sitting around mellow, reserved and reflective, it happens. However because of the party I actually slept through like a big dork more than 1 person was a little green in the gills. This moment was being killed by the BackStreet Boys playing over the PA system and awful old videos from MTV Retro. I think the bar was open for a reason.

** Music Note. This was definately an 80s musical retro cruise. Now that being said everywhere you go in Latin America its either the Beatles, Bob Marley or anything from the 80s, and I mean anything. You could go U2 one moment and the Backstreeters the next.**

I can not give enough credit to the captain of this ship, he has some mad skills. I know GPS and all the modern technology is out there but sometimes you just have to have skill. That was no more evident as we passed through The Angostura Inglesa. A series of islands that are scattered within the channel. He had to manouver through these islands with some nevers of steel. I am pretty sure he did not pull out the JD, do a couple of shots and tell his crew, ok lets get er done!
We were all on deck when to our left the unmistakable splashes of dolphins appeared in the distance. They are attracted by the engines and like the previous day they were jumping in and around the front of the boat but they did not disappear right away. They swam with us for about 20 seconds just under the waterline. It was a beautiful sight. They as if on cue, they did a couple jumps, veered right and were off. I just love those experiences.
Well we are getting ready to pass through the tightest spot on the entire trip. The rock walls of two islands were 8 metres away on each side. No worries, no issues but you could feel a huge sense of "holy shit" when were continued on our way.

We had about 3 hours on the boat before we reached Puerto Natalies and the end of our journey. Our happy crew mingled on the deck, taking to many photos and just enjoying the ride. Many people were telling life and travel stories, the mainstay of the long distant travellers conversation. I love it because there are always nuggets of gold that are shared. Tips on places to go, places to avoid, Hostels, hidden gems, great food and so much you can not find in a Guide book. When your on the road the first thing you need to do is talk to People. Everyone has a story. On this trip I ment people from Poland, Slovakia, Australia, Canada, The US, England, Turkey, Germany, France, Switzerland and of course Chileanos. Well the skys were trying to clear and the clouds just added to the beauty that is Patagonia.

After one final turn around a small island, there it was Puerto Natalies sitting at 51° 43' 60S. I think by this time most people were ready. The trip was great and like all travellers we were ready to put this one in the books and getting ready for something new.
Most people were heading to Torres Del Paine National park in the morning to trek the infamous 5 day W trek. They needed to rent tents, sleeping bags and other gear, buy food etc. I just needed to find my hostel, put my bags away look for dinner. Torres will wait for another day.
One final awe inspiring moment from the captain brought us into port. This was not a modern port with modern facilities. It was an old, very old port with one long dock that ran horizontal to the shore. With the help of 4 or 5 port boats and some very long rope we were moored in about 30 minutes.
There was cargo that had to be taken off first, then the various trucks and cars in the cargo bay so we had another 45 minutes to sit and watch everyone busy at work. Then we were given the all clear and off we went into the town.

This was a great 4 day journey through the fiords of Patagonia. There were whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds of every imaginable species, huge glacial fields, raging wind, high seas, water spouts, new friends, the odd beer and one very skilled captain.

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