To the Ends of the Earth

Trip Start Nov 07, 2008
Trip End Mar 03, 2009

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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Friday, January 9, 2009

  So I borded my bus in nearby Puerto Montt, having set myself up for my 30 hour beast of a bus by making enough ham and cheese sandwiches to last a week, and we set off. Unfortunately Chile peters out after a while into many fjords and bits of broken land further south so our route could not be as direct as it looks. We crossed straight over into Argentina and went right to the other side of the continent to the Pan-America highway which runs down the Atlantic coast. Having gone past Rio Gallegos in the south we crossed back into Chile (passport stamps galore on this ride) and reached Punta Arenas. Apart from Ushuaia in Argentina, it is the next furthest south town of any size in the world and some voyages to Antartica start from here. It is a port town which borders on the Magellan Straits, the principal shipping route between the Atlantic and the Pacific for the south (previously for all crossings until the Panama canal was constructed). 
   I didn't plan to stay long as my main object in Patagonia was to visit the famous Torres del Paine national park, supposedly one of the best parks in all of South America. But I had a day or two and, having rested for one of those, I took a boat down the Straits to visit Isla Magdalena where there is an enormous colony of 150,000 Magellan penguins. Really spectacular sight (and very loud too!) as I think this is there breeding season so there were lots of little pinguinos around. We wandered around the island on a marked out path so as not to disturb them too much, although plenty had the courage to wander in amongst all the tourists, and after about an hour got back on board.
   It was a nice little side trip to the main event which is taking place in a couple of days time.
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