Chile 12

On Tuesday the 21st, it is time to pack our bags and leave Puerto Natales, Chile and head to Punta Arenas, about 150 miles to the southeast.

We had enclosed parking again, which has been very common on our trip.
The winds were about 60 mph, but it was directly on our tail for most of the day.

The trees clearly indicate the direction of the prevailing winds.

We occasionally saw "Rhea's", a large ostrich like bird.

The entire distance from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas is paved.
When we entered Chile, in the north, we ran across these....
Now, in our last few miles in Chile, we find these, out in the middle of nowhere.

Not sure why or what they are!

Typical Punta Arenas architecture.
In the town plaza was this statue.

The mermaid sure had nice hair!

Punta Arenas was a boom town, due to all the ships that came through the straights of Magellan.

Then the Panama Canal was completed in the mid 1910's, and the economy took a dive.

One of the mansions built during it's hay day.
Night shot of the same mansion.
They did live the good life.

Or, at least a few of the wealthy lived the good life!

On Wednesday, the 22nd of March, 2006 we head out to Island Magdalena, where 200,000 penguins live.  The males show up and dig their burrows.  The females then swim from 1,500 miles away and show up on one day, looking for their life long spouse, which they recognize by their mating calls.

The island was about 24 miles out.

This inflatable took us out to a larger inflatable.

The Penguin Island.
Sandy and the larger inflatable.
We missed the peak season by a few weeks, but there were still plenty of penguins.
The island sits in the middle of the Straights of Magellan, so it is equipped with a light house.
Sandy, walking among the penguins.

They barely noticed us.

You almost want to take one home......

Do they taste like chicken?

Cute couple.....

Getting ready to head to another island.  Another nice day!

The skipper of the inflatable knows how to dress for the weather.
On the 2nd island we visited, we saw many colonies of sea lions.

It was easy to identify the huge males.

After 12,000 + miles Sandy is still smiling!
Wish I had the long lenses.....
Every so often the large males would chase 50 to 100 sea lions about 200 feet, then stop and rest.
Now back to the mainland.......
One of the "Older" tour boats......

On Thursday the 23rd, we leave Puerto Arenas and cross the Straight of Magellan, to the town of  to Ushuaia. 

The day involved a 24 mile ferry ride across the Straight of Magellan to the town of Porvenir, Chile.  Then 100+ miles of dirt road to the east coast of Tierra del Fuego, and enter Argentina.  Then about 150 miles of asphalt to the town of Ushuaia, Argentina.  The end of the line!


The ferry which crosses to Porvenir, Chile.
The crossing took 2 1/2 hours.

After crossing the Straight, we follow the coast line for many miles.

As we look out over the Straights of Magellan, it finally hits us on how far we have traveled.

More pink Flamingos.....
The winds are soooo brutal, that it dwarfs the trees.
Sandy had the camera and time on her hands....

So, that is it up to Friday the 23rd.  And it also brings an end to our travels in Chile

(although we will have to cross a small corner of Chile to get back to the Argentine mainland).

Chile will always have a warm spot in our hearts.  We will return........

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