Stella Australis -Day 1
Jan 20, 2013
|Sunday, January 20, 2013
Our first full day on &off board ---
After breakfast, we boarded our zodiacs for a brief navigation in Ainsworth Bay, to our walk in a part of the Alberto de Agostini National Park , home of the Marinelli Glacier. the area we walked in is mostly kept in it's natural state, except for a few walkways for us. After disembarking on shore, we were able to get rid of our hot life jackets! Our guide "Patricio" would be our English-speaking guide for the next several days. He is a lot of fun. After telling us a story about the introduction of beavers to the area many years ago, for the raising of pelts, and then the subsequent destruction by them, Patricio told us our group would be called the "Damned Beavers" group!
Our walk was lovely, VERY informative, and great fun. Their were about 14 in the group, so a perfect size. The main theme of the walk was nature, and how everything we would see there is a natural process of evolution. There is no soil there, mostly rocks left from the receding of the glaciers. However, over time, layers of lichens have grown and have formed a moss-like material. Also, trees eventually fall, rot and form a growth area for various plants. This is probably not totally correctly described here, but should give you a general idea of what we saw and learned. I will be posting pictures of some of the things we saw. Great morning!
I might add that the embarkation & disembarkation from the zodiacs were very easy. They had a portable ramp and the guides helped us in & out.
This afternoon -Penguins!
After our morning excursion and during lunch , our ship navigated to the Tucker's Islets. We again boarded our zodiac with Patricio for about a 60-minute circum-navigation of the main island in our boat. The islets have a very fragile Eco-system and so we did not land there. We saw Magellanic penguins, with much information from Patricio. Also saw many cormorants on the rocks. It was an interesting challenge to get decent photos from the zodiac which, even when stopped, was bouncing around! But I think I got a few decent ones. We got back on board, had a quick couple cervezas & pisco sours. Margarita was the only one of the four of us who wanted to go to visit the bridge at 6:30 with Patricio & "the Damned Beavers" group, so she hurried through a shower to get ready for a busy evening schedule.
Evening - Jan. 20
Margarita went to visit the bridge. I found it very interesting. Even with all the GPS advances & other technologies that are used, they still use the old navigation charts. Communications are via radio & telex - no email or internet service available here. About 8 of us were in the group.
After that, Margarita met Pancho in the Darwin Lounge for a presentation on Chile by Mauritio & another guide. The pair played off each other in Spanish & English, telling jokes along the way, during their story about the land of Chile. When it was time to speak of the wine territory, one of the servers, all decked out in guasso (Chilean cowboy) gear, served us all glass of Chilean vino tinto (red wine). After the presentation, we went to the dining room for another wonderful dinner. Miguel & Conejita met us there. Conejita got her requested Chardonnay (Sauvignon Blanc was being served, but she is VERY particular about her vino, and our waiter promised to bring her Chardonnay!)
After dinner, we again went up to the Darwin Lounge.
It was way past all of our usual bedtimes, but there was a film presentation tonight called "Patagonia, Eden at the end of the World". It is a National Geographic documentary film. It was very interesting & enjoyable, mostly about wildlife in Patagonia. A great reinforcement & commentary to what we did today. Finally to bed around 11:00
Tomorrow --- Pia Glacier and cruising in Glacier Alley