Tour Milodon Caves and Boarding Patagonia Cruise

Tour Milodon Caves

After our final breakfast at Hotel Rio Serrano in Torres del Paine before boarding the bus for the ride back to Puerto Natales via the Milodon caves.

The Natural Monument Milodon Cave is a natural monument formed by three caves in the southern zone of Chile , where they were found remains of milodones , mammalian herbivores large that became extinct, probably in the late Pleistocene .

The monument is located 24 kilometers north of Puerto Natales . Of the three caves, the largest and most important is located 150m and is 30 m high, 80 m wide and 200 m deep.

After a spot of souvenir shopping it was on the bus for the last 20 kms into Puerto Natales. 

Boarding Patagonia Cruise

We had a few hours to fill in before boarding the Skorpios III our home for the next three nights. Most people managed to find something for lunch and even achieved some shopping before the shops closed for siesta.  

Thank you Robbie Barrett
Around 2.30pm everyone had gathered in the main square to board bus before the very short trip to our ship. 
Our cabins
All aboard at 3pm with the allocation of cabins and quick safety briefing. We met in the bar and raised a glass for a safe cruise with the champagne that Robbie Barrett had organised for each cabin. This was a nice gesture and kicked off the cruise in fine style.
At 5pm it was time for tea, a good thing because dinner is served at 9pm every night.
Dinner was next on the agenda and proved popular with a starter of king crab, beef and mushroom sauce creme’ brûlée all washed down with a few very nice chilean wines. 

A few kicked on for awhile is the bar but most turned in early as the ship got underway. 

Sailing through Angostura Kirke, Morla, Vinuna, Unioun, Collingwood and Sarmiento channels.

MacWool Tour: Another day of walking in Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine Park

Up and at ’em very very slowly for another day in the national park. At 8:45 (departure 9 am) there were only 5 of the group ready to board. The rest of the group trickled out a within a few minutes either side of departure time. 

We were off … at the what seems like 20kms per hour. Patricio certainly was looking after the gear on the not so badly corrugated road. I guess given his investment in the coach it was definitely in best interest to do so. Jill Elder decided that she stay behind and sample some the resort services and be the single handed welcome home committee. 

So putting along at 20 and rarely touching the mind blowing speed of practically 30kms for and hour or so saw us in the east side of the park. We scrambled off and readied ourselves for today’s 1.5 hour walk to glacier viewing platform. 

A way we go cross the swing bridge 6 at a time. The wind with some help from the stirrers in group had the bridge really swinging at times. Luckily we had bundled Sharpy on with first group and he was halfway across before he realised what going on.  A little concerned if I could get him to make the return journey over the rushing water in windy conditions a couple hours later.

A brisk walk through forest before emerging onto the river bank of deep fine shifty pebbles for what seemed like never ending walk across the pebble bank in middle of the lake. This proved to be a very difficult waking surface.e. My first glimpse of an iceberg that had broken away from the glacier and was probably very very old.

On reaching the far side the group started up the other side to find the viewing platform. Three of us felt that we could see enough from here and decided starting back would help us to get back at same time as the leaders making the return journey.

Simon and Rosalie took the blue ribbon for first back but Kerrie Macdonald certainly earned a special mention for jogging back to be sure that she wasn’t last back today. It was a sight to behold of Kerrie running across the swing bridge with Frank and Henry jogging behind her – that certainly got it swinging and how they kept their feet under themselves I will never know.

Packed lunch boxes at the picnic tables were welcome before we made to long slow ride home. We were welcomed home by a very fresh and relaxed looking Jill. Another good day that ended with drink outside the bar looking at the mountains of course most conversation was around lambing percentages best times to shear how the wool market was this week etc.

You can take these folk away to a foreign land but their hearts are still well and truly at home. Tomorrow caves and boarding Skorpios lll for next 3 nights.

Now these are spurs

 We most likely be offline for the next four days while cruising the glaciers

MacWool Tour: Torres del Paine National Park

During the trip various members of the party are going to contribute to this blog today’s post is with thanks to Christine White
Photos with thanks to Christine and Simon Hunt 

Torres del Paine Park

Whilst Ange and Sharpy were having some down time back at the Rio Serrano enjoying the comfy couches and panoramic views, the rest of the crew headed off to the Torres del Paine National Park to explore the magnificent peaks up closer.  

Little did we realise that at an average speed of 20km/hour, the half hour bus trip took an hour and a half with a few scenic lookout stops along the way.  Patricio loved being part of the MacWool Farmers Tour group sporting one of the MacWool caps, but it didn’t speed his driving up.  

Being the hottest day in 5 years, the air conditioning struggled to keep up, as we oohed and ahhed over the sights. In fact I’m sure it was the first time the air conditioning had ever been turned on to ‘cool’. 

Lunch was by a waterfall, with a few game enough to test their cold tolerance by plunging their hand into the ice cold glacial waters. 40 seconds was the record, but most lasted barely 10.

We even managed to squeeze in a viewing of some more sheep as there is an Estancia in the middle of the National Park that we drove through, although they were panting hard in the heat wave conditions of 25 degrees C.

The group finally had their chance to stride out on a hike past another waterfall, a scenic lake and a close up view of the rugged peaks of Torres del Paine.  We struck one of the clearest days of the year, so the views were spectacular.  A few even clambered up to the top of a small peak to yell out a cooeeeeee for all below.

Back on the bus for the looooong sloowww trip back to the Rio Serrano, we stopped by a cafe for a few roadies to cool down.  

Ange and Sharpy were there to greet us on our return, and the evening drinks turned into a fun night of eating and drinking Chilean beers and wines.  

Our guide Ivan
A little room party

Our wine loving host, Ivan, suggested to us that the Chilean way of palate cleansing after your meal was to down a glass of Fernet (pronounced with a rolled ‘r’ as Ferrrrrrrr-nay).  Well, 30 glasses were lined up at the bar courtesy of Chris Martin, and we were all expected to down the mysterious Chilean liqueur.  It tasted like cough syrup.  

A well rested Sharpy

Most couldn’t get to the bar fast enough to wash their mouths out with a cool refreshing Patagonian beer (the preferred Aussie palate cleanser).  The rest gagged.  Only Ivan gleefully downed glass after glass of the pungent brew, praising the wonders of Chilean wines and liqueurs.  

The one common effect was that all were going to be very slow the next morning.

More photos will be added here after we leave cruise.