Another Day, Another Glacier...

Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
Trip End Apr 01, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Santa Cruz Province,
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

...or that's how it felt as I boarded the early morning bus from El Calafate to visit Glaciar Perito Moreno. And what a mistake it proved to be arrogant and nonchalant about visiting one of Patagonia's premier tourist attractions!!

Sitting within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, the 5 km long and - at points - 60m high face of the glacier is one of the few in the world which is still moving and advancing. This growth is offset by the fact that large chunks of ice regularly fall off and float away as icebergs into Lago Argentino, one of the main aspects which people visiting the glacier hope to witness!!

A set of linked walkways allow you various vantage points along the length of the glacier face. I was lucky enough to be there reasonably early as I had left at 8am on the first public bus (no guide, but I wasn't really bothered about that) so the further away balconies overlooking Lago Argentino were practically deserted, and coupled with the only appearance of the sun of the day made for the most enjoyable viewing (and, of course, photographing!!). The contrast between the glacier and its setting is spectacular. Large craggy areas of blue-white hued ice sits between the green vegetation of the surrounding mountains and the turquoise water of the lake. Broken ice and icebergs float around the water and form the most beautiful lunar landscape of icy blue tones - they look like giant jewels of some sort in a huge array of weird and wonderful shapes. Completely different to any setting I saw in Antarctica, and something which definitely pushed this away from being 'just another glacier' as I'd been thinking before I went...

Although this was the location of the most stunning views, it wasn't until I moved to the lower circuit and the more central balcony areas that I saw the most spectacular ice breaks. I - like most others - was keen to see atleast one large chunk fall off and crash into the water. The glacier creaks and groans the whole time, with the resulting echoes through the crevices and ravines within the ice making you believe you are about to see something of huge proportions fall off. In the early morning, I saw a number of small-medium ice breaks. I missed a much bigger one as had just set off along a walkway when I heard a roar and turned to see the end of the fall, but missed the main part of it. However, just before I left to head back to the visitor centre, I saw an almost full height piece of the face of the glacier fall and crash into the water below. It was amazing!! As was the noise as the ice fell, torpedoed back up to the surface of the water and sent waves through the adjacent water making all of the other smaller pieces of ice crash together. Well worth the wait!!

Still, the wind was blowing a gale and there were just too many people - especially those who like to jostle to take multiple photos and don't hesitate to barge you out the way!! The cafe and small gift shop were also packed out, and it was all I could do to get a coffee - which the wind promptly blew over, ending up as a nice brown stain all down one thigh of my newly washed jeans - and wait for the return transfer to El Calafate...

Luckily for me, this arrived as promised and I was dropped back at the bus station with only 5 mins to spare before my next bus. The start of a 27 hour journey north to San Carlos de Bariloche in the Argentinian Lake District...
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Pigwig on

Oh gosh Fooft, not another bus journey - have you added up the hours you've spent on buses yet?!
Ice-bergs look spectacular xx

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