Chile 2003: Puerto Montt to Chacabuco
Laguna San Raphael
Feb. 22 / Feb. 25, 2003

Michael J. Ferguson
Montréal

Les Publications INRS-Télécommunications, Montréal

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Next Section: Chacabuco to El ChaltÚn

After finding a new kickstand, and replenishing my wine supply, I boarded the Evangalista for the three night, and two day trip to Laguna San Raphael and Chacabuco. From 9:00am to noon, we had to assemble at the dock for check-in where we were assigned our seats. I was told, erroneously, that I had to be there at 4:00pm with my bicycle. In reality, everyone, including myself and my bicycle boarded at 6:00pm - 6:30pm really. At 8:00pm we actually left.

It was a beautiful night with both the tip of Volcan Orsono and the top of Volcan Calbuco seeing us off.

The clear bright sun of the evening was replaced by overcast drizzle the following morning.

One of the most endearing passengers on board was the ship's dog. He charmed everyone.

There was some clearing in the afternoon, but the clouds did not really give way.

Lonely Planet suggests that these fiords compare to Norway's and New Zealand's Milford Sound. Except for the occasional mountain, they reminded more of New Zealand's Marlborough Sounds than New Zealand's South Island fiords.

We arrived in Chacabuco at a about 8:00pm and left for Laguna San Raphael at about 10:00pm.

Monday was a day of rain, where we all tried, quite unsuccessfully, to keep our stuff dry. Our first view of some icebergs were when we entered the laguna.

As we got further into the Laguna, they multiplied,

until they became a floating mass of ice shards in front of the glacier.

The highlight of the trip was the ride in a small boat to the foot of the glacier.

Then we were treated with close-ups of the mother and her children.

The range of colours, from white to deep icy blue was quite amazing. The glacier, which was visible, to greater and lesser degrees, treated us to a few births. I would have really liked to see the birth of the huge child resting at the south side.

To ward off the cold, we were treated to some Ballentine's Whiskey while we stopped to hear and see the births. There was plenty of ice around for our drinks.

We left late afternoon, still in the rain, and arrived in Chacabuco at 6:00am on Tuesday. This was a wonderful time to arrive. I did not have to hassle finding a place to stay in Chacabuco. The really wonderful thing about it was that the rain of yesterday, had been replaced by clear, beautiful, sunshine.

In contrast to the trip from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, where most of the passengers are foreign tourists, almost everyone here was Chilean. The foreigners included a four Swedes, a Portuguese who had just finished his doctorate at UCSB, and his French girlfriend, a Hungarian couple, now living in Australia, a young German couple from just outside of Stuttgart, a Slovenian/Canadian from Toronto, and .... There were also a few Chileans who had returned, or were visiting, from their bases abroad. I had only one personal (business) card when I got off.

Next Section: Chacabuco to El ChaltÚn




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On 12 Nov 2008, 11:57.