Thursday, March 15, 2012
Overlooking the Straits of Magellan, Punta Arenas is the most southern continental town in Chile and, in the world for that matter. It is a port city and or the last few years it has been a tax free zone and attracts people from both the mainland and Porvenir (on the island of Tierra del Fuego) to its mega duty free stores. We spent several days here mainly servicing the motorhome. During the final analysis of the tires we decided to purchase four new ones. Three of our original tires had been mutilated by the rough gravel roads and the fourth had a slight tear in the sidewall just enough to concern us, especially with the road conditions through Chile to Torres Del Paine and then up Highway 40 through Argentina. The mechanic also found a leak in our radiator and that was sent for repair. Fortunately, we were able to stay in the Ford dealership parking lot over night, which was not only secure but had internet. The other two nights we parked in a lot on the beach. When we woke up on the first morning, I got Winston together for his morning walk. As I stepped out of the motorhome I noticed a couple in their car watching the water. The lady got out and came up to me. “Look” she said in Spanish and pointed out over the water. At that moment several groups of dolphins arched through the waves, maybe a dozen or more total. As I allowed Winston off leach to race through the sand, I watched the dolphins cavort just offshore and couldn’t help but realize how fortunate I was to begin my day with such beauty. The beach promenade is only a couple of years old and it well maintained and clean. Whilst there, we explored the town and shopped at the local municipal market. There were lots of fishmongers selling salmon, merluza (hake), shellfish and a few different cerviches. It all looked so fresh and enticing especially coming from Argentina where it is all beef, beef and more beef! After browsing we purchased merluza, scallops and salmon cerviche. We will freeze the scallops but cook the merluza for dinner, irresistible. On Saturday, the weather changed and a storm blew in, bringing high winds and lots of rain. We had met and been invited to dinner by a firefighter from Punta Arenas and his wife but with the rain continuing to fall with no respite in sight, we decided instead to head for Puerto Natales. We called Alvaro on his cell and gave our apologies. The 240 km (150 mile) drive to Puerto Natales will be wet and slow but at least the road is paved.