Saturday, March 17, 2012
Puerto Natales is situated on the Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) Gulf portion of the Magellan Straits and we are having a hard time shaking that “land at the end if the world” feeling which has followed us from Ushuaia. This is where the tip of South America has crumbled into a myriad of islands enclosed by fiords, glaciers, mountains and glacial lakes as the land, sea and ice intermingle. The feeling persists as you enter the town and are confronted by a huge statue of a bear-like animal, the Milodon. This is a prehistoric extinct mammal and not too far away is a huge cave where the remains of one were found a few years ago. There are numerous hostels in town and we had been told that one of them “Josmar” had room for motorhomes. True, however anyone with an RV bigger than ours would not get in the gates. It was a tight squeeze but we were able to get parked and run electricity. There is also internet. And the rain. It has continued to pour down since we left Punta Arenas and did not stop for two days. We were later told that Punta Arenas had so much rain that there was massive flooding and part of the road was closed. So luckily, the decision to leave when we did was well timed. We spent our time hunkered down at the hostel, catching up with family and friends via the internet and trying to stay dry. Most of the people who come to Puerto Natales are backpackers who are going or have been to Torres del Paine National Park. Whilst talking with one of them he happened to mention that he had ran into friends of ours. Huh! It seems that Kurt and Cindy, a Belgian couple we had first met in Puerto San Julian but missed in Ushuaia are in town. They have been to Torres Del Paine and are now headed to El Calafate. They stopped by and visited for a while and as we say goodbye, we know we may meet them again, along the way. The weather has remained steady now with sunshine early in the day, turning cloudy by late afternoon and then rain at night. This is as good a time as any to move on to Torres del Paine and try to visit a glacier and do some hiking.