Another brilliant day in the wild. Seeing wildlife in its natural setting is always something special, so even things like flamingos – surely a staple of every zoo in the world – become so much more interesting when seen in the wild.
Actually something I have noticed is the number of large birds there are here, a wide variety of hawks and eagles. Will have to do some research to put some names to any I eventually manage to photograph !
Anyway the glacier. Simply awesome and I don’t use that description lightly. 80 Km from El Calafate and accessed by bus along a purpose built road which gives ever more tantalising glimpses of the glacier and mountains as you approach. However nothing prepares you for the sight of the solid wall of ice when you get up close either from the optional boat excursion which we took across the face of the glacier or the well constructed boardwalk that runs next to it.
2 km wide front moving forward at 2 metres a day. Millions and millions of tons of deep blue ice creaking, groaning and sporadically launching, technically called calving, mini and some not so mini icebergs into Lake Argentino.
The photo of the falling ice I managed to catch is half a house sized and probably well over 10 tons. Later whilst idly watching a section the size of a street tumbled into the lake. Captured on video by Duncan – I will provide a link when he posts it. Stunning.
Also loved the Chilean fire bushes which are in flower everywhere with their bright red stringy flowers. Saw a gorgeous golden brown hawk which landed in a tree not 4 metres away from me ……10 seconds after I had packed the camera away. Ho hum.
Finished the day with an ad-hoc group dinner at a diner, great system meat (sausages, steaks i.e. half a cow, chicken on the grill) you order and pay at the till and then they call out your number when ready. Prime steak, ¼ chicken – although that would be a half at home, don’t know where they bred Argentinean chickens but they are big ! – chips, salad, beer and water for about £7 each.
Back to Hotel via supermarket for a nice bottle of Syrah-Malbec – we pushed the boat out and paid £3.50 for a good bottle – and spent a pleasant and increasingly raucous hour recounting the day with the rest of the group.
One story a couple of the guys did an ice trek, to end the guide said one last surprise turned a corner and they had set up a “bar” at the glacier where they got a tot of Jameson’s whiskey chilled with glacial ice. Nice one.
Think we will be spending a quieter day to day around El Calafate and the ecological reserve. Watching those flamingos is very calming when your head is slightly pounding.
More Glacier Pics Here
Steve Edwards 6th December 2012
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