Trip Start Jan 20, 2012
Trip End Feb 26, 2012

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Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, January 30, 2012

The trip from Puerto Montt to Puerto Chacabuco was stunning.  We're now into Chilean Patagonia and have travelled from Puerto Montt through an inside passage through fjords whose mountains have dozens of long narrow waterfalls.  Puerto Chacabuco is a very small industrial port (salmons fishing is big industry here) but strategic for tourists as its the gateway to Patagonia and the jumping off point for Laguna San Rafael which we are touring tomorrow.  The harbour is ringed with snow capped mountains, really beautiful.  We saw a giant Condor flying lazily high above the town.  Their wingspans are over 9 feet long, truly incredible.  The weather (still equivalent to Seatle) is getting colder and continues to be cloudy with occasional rain squalls.  Hard to get good pictures!

We took a great hiking trip into Patagonia.  Fabulous but not at all what we were expecting. I had imagined barren rocky terrain but there is lots of rain here (over 300 days per year) so the vegetation is jungle-like.  (Jurassic Park came to mind....) It's a protected area with a very helpful information centre who gave a great overview and provided us with rain ponchos - good thing as throughout the 3hr hike, it must have rained about 5 times.  We ended up at a beautiful 72 foot waterfall.

We had a Patagonian bbq for dinner in the small town.  Lamb is typical here, they are quite small and are cooked over an open fire by stretching the animal out over a pair of crossed sticks.  They eat the whole animal - Tom L would fit right in :)  The lamp was really good and was accompanied with generous amounts of Chilean wine.  There was also a small show of local chilean singers and dancers.  Great day.
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