Cancelled tours and perky penguins

Trip Start Dec 07, 2007
Trip End Dec 25, 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We're back on schedule and making all our connections.  The captain seems to be pleased. 
Last night we traveled through the section known as the international glaciers.  Here, over half a dozen glaciers reach down to the channel and are named for various countries.  Some are in Argentina, some in Chile and some straddle both countries.  Even though the sky was overcast and it was past 10 pm, there was still plenty of light coming through to see the majesty of the glaciers that push their way down to the sea.

The weather today isn't  that great.  There's a fair wind and rain is gently falling.  We arrived at the lounge for an 8:15 am departure for our excursion.  With the cancellation of the Antarctica Landing (logistical problems), we rebooked an excursion to Torres del Paine National Park.  This included a flight from Punta Arenas to Pueto Natales, then a two-hour coach ride into the park. 

As we boarded the coach to head to the airport, the guide, still talking into her radio, informs us that the airport has been closed and won't reopen until 8:00 pm.  She then gives us an option to do one of the other tours.  We would stay in our group and keep our bus, but as the first group out, we would be ahead of any of the other tours.  Most of us opted to do the penguin tour to Otway reserve.  A couple tour members decided they didn't want to participate and departed the bus.

The rain continued to drizzle all the way out to the reserve, but lightened a bit as we got to the site.  We followed the boardwalk out to the beach blind, observing some penguins and other bird life along the way.  By the time we got to the third watch tower the rain began to pour.  We also realized that we had about 5 minutes to make the ten minute walk back to the bus.  By the time we got there, everyone else was on the bus and ready to go, so off through the rain, along rutted dirt roads back to the paved highway and the city.  By the time we reached the boat and security, the rain was like a tropical downpour.  Everything was getting soaked.  Onto the boat, a change of clothes and a bite to eat.

At the appointed hour, we sailed away from port, heading for the Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan. Tomorrow we work our way through the fjords and up to Amalia Glacier.
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