Wednesday, January 4, 2012

El Calafate

Call it post Antarctica letdown or just being a lazy ass but I have been a lump for the last few days. However I have also stopped drinking Pepsi and other sodas for the New Year and what has happened. My body has said "oh yeah tough guy" and has started to fight back. First with a screaming detox headache for the first three days and now a chest cold that has me sleepy all the time. So when sleepy, sleep! And I have been.

I took a flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate on the 2nd. I was not in the mood for 2 border crossings and 14 hours in a bus. I wanted to move along, so here I sit.
El Calafate is famous for one major thing and that is the Perito Moreno Glacier. After Antarctica I was not really prepared by a mid mountain range glacier but I gave it a shot. Boy I am glad I did. What a sight. This bad boy is 30 km long coming down the mid andes randge and believe it or not it is 240 feet high. That is over a 20 story building. It was massive. I think the fact it stood alone and not surrounded by icebergs and other glaciers gave it a different feel

First up was the 90 minute bus ride to Glacier National park. It was one of the nicer bus rides I have had scenery wise. Chile was great but there is something special about the Argentine Patagonia that has a different feel to it. Cant explain it and am not going to try. However the experience at the bus terminal had alot to be desired. A bit more on that later.

We stopped at a Catamaran launch and off I went. I wanted to see this bad boy from the water, a la the Maid of the Mist. Holy crap it was massive.. This glacier is in contant change and with that comes high peaks ice blue ice as mentioned over 250 feet high, almost 90 metres.

Next came the walking tour. The Governemnt created what can only be described as a well thought out system of trails from which to view the glacier from all angles and sides. I stared at this baby for 4 hours moving along, stopping for while then moving some more, well me and about 1000 other people. However there are so many trails it was never crowded.

Now the thing this iceberg is famous for is Ice Calving. I knew what it was but never new the term. This glacier was constantly cracking, smashing and banging then it would happen. Large chunks of ice would fall off the glacier into the sea. I was never quick enough with my camera but it was a sight to behold. It happend no less than 30 times while I was there. Some pieces were as large as buildings other the size of cars. Even when a piece the size of a basketball fell the noise was awe inspiring. As I said before, we humans are so small!

This pictures gives you an idea of the size of this glacier. Have a look at the humanoids on the footpath out front. We all stood around listening to the cracks and bangs with great anticipation of the next large calfing moment.
When you stopped doing that and just stood back and looked up the glacier you then noticed how beautiful it really was.

Glaciers have now moved into my top 5 favourite things. 1. Skittles 2. Volcanoes 3. Glaciers 4. Penguins 5. Non distructive Ocean Surges.

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