8:30 left ship. But the big news The bag missing since we left Sydney was on the bus. Chris Martin was one happy man. Uneventful drive to Chile border apart from learning on our arrival that we now
had three extra bags on the bus. Apparently an Indian family saw us putting our bags out at the designated time and thought they should too, the crew efficiently loaded them all in the bus with ours. We have net result of bags at the moment of 3+ ( they were found by the driver and sent back on next but going to Porto Natales)
After 20 minutes in the gift shop we and quick passport check were set off in no man’s land for a few miles.
Neither in Chile or in Argentina we arrived at Argentinian border crossing at 10:30am.
Ivan our guide anticipated we would have to queue for two hours. At 2:45pm (4+hours) the last of our group were processed. It was a long wait standing in line in a shack in middle of nowhere with toilet facilities no water and no food. The haphazard queen was a mess until Jill Christine and few of the ladies got it sorted out.
Henry and Grant made sure there were no queue jumpers, Peter was pronounced Mr Organised for having the foresight to bring his book and the girls just had to cross their legs but the boys ventured out the back for relief but this required a degree of skill to avoid those who had been before them.
The rest of us shuffled forward a few steps at a time. Any wonder we could resist the urge to cheer after hearing that stamp bang down and leave the window (after a 30 second stay) Four hours to get to the window and processed within seconds and away. One guy processing Chile to Argentina and One guy (with hardly a person at the window) Argentina to Chile.
The first food place was some 1 hour 30 minutes down the road. The toilet facilities were worse than none at all but the sandwiches were okay although expensive. Back on the bus for the final 2 hour run into Calafate. Here for two nights.
After a very slick bag drop at Hotel Koi Aiken then it was off to the ice bar in El Calafate for most of the group. Another new experience for most luckily everyone was able to get some sleep on the bus after at roadhouse along the way (some highway robbery was evident during the purchase of a quick lunch)
Another late dinner of what turned out to be tasty chicken and very large potato wedges, true to form not a veggie in sight. Everyone turned in quickly after dinner as is becoming the new normal it was after 11pm. The bus pick up was 7.45am for our final visit to a glacier followed by visit and dinner on a Estancia (farm) tomorrow night
Each morning the dolphins escorted and played in the water at the bow of the boat.
During breakfast we arrived a the Montanas Fjord, from where the four glaciers can be viewed as they slide down the Sarmiento mountains to the sea.
At 9.30am everyone donned additional layers before braving very wet and icy conditions to visit the Alsina Glacier, excursion on boats to explore the small bay and its glacier, and the enormous mountains surrounding.
At 10.30am the braves souls returned to the Skorpios III to the boat wet and cold and were quickly wrapping their hands around something warm, coffee and hot chocolate proved popular. We continued sailing Montanas Fjord to Bernal Glacier
11.15am The numbers had dwindled considerable at next disembarkation point in the glacier and hike in small native forest.
After that, it was intended that walk across a small pathway (unfortunately due to the rain and warm weather of recent days the path was under water), so there was no was crossing to a small glacier hiking to the face of the glacier.
Here everyone could appreciate and feel the iceberg and admire the melting ice stage.
12.45am Returned to the ship which will be in the fresh-water supply phase getting from a natural cascade. This water is used for the services on board.
Lunch was welcome soup was first course and it the spot.
Most people rested up during the evening
The day concluded with the Captains dinner where our crew dance the night away and Henry and Christine taking the captain and his mother for a turn around the floor.
After and reasonably restful night for most and not so good for some we gathering in the dining room for breakfast.
It was adequate without being lavish and most people seemed to enjoy.
Not long after breakfast we arrived at the Amalia Glacier, with panoramic views from the ship.
Then with everyone all bundled up it was into the small boats for a short ride to a nearby beach, hiking through the beach to viewpoint at the Amalia Glacier face.
This was our first of many up close experiences with a glacier. it was amazing and we all felt so far from anywhere. Getting the group photos proved a little problematic but it was eventually taken with the beautiful Amalia Glacier as a backdrop.
We spent plenty of time just soaking in this amazing once in a lifetime experience watching the ice towers fall into the water. Well hearing then seeing the last of the ice disappearing below the surface with a splash, By time you hear the sound the ice has already fallen.
After lunch we arrived at the El Brujo Glacier and it back in the small boat to stand on nearby rock for closer view of the glacier.
Later in the day we arrived at the Calvo Fjord, for an excursion on the ‘ Capitan Constantino’ icebreaker appropriate to navigate between the ice. We visited the Fernando, Captain Constantino and Alipio glaciers, among others. During this cruise the crew prepared us all scotch on the rock using 3000 year old ice from glacier this sure warmed us up and the souvenir glass was a nice touch.
Back on board before sailing towards Montanas Fjord while we had pre dinner pisco sours and dinner.
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.
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.
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.