Oops, the weather just changed...
With unusual weather from the north, still no wind, but the clouds clamped down to valley level and light rain, we cancelled our walk along the first section of the ‘W’ and headed for the information centre instead. What wimps! But none of us really had any appetite for walking in the grey, damp gloom. We watched a British made film on local pumas before heading south out of the park towards Puerto Natales, a small Pacific fishing port originally used for wool exports to the UK, and now the southern entry point to the Torres del Paine national park, albeit mainly on gravel roads, and as an embarkation point for ferries and cruise ships travelling into the fjordlands to the north.
Near the town we stopped at a museum and huge cave where the remains of a giant sloth, the milodon (thought to have become extinct 10,000 years ago), was discovered by the explorer Hermann Eberhard in the 1890s. This, apparently, was the motivating factor behind Bruce Chatwin’s ‘In Patagonia’.
Then into town, passing one of the many fjords in this part of the world, the Chilean region of Ultima Esperanza, a name which translates to ‘last hope’, somewhat reflective of the vast barren landscapes which will now be a feature of the rest of our journey to the very tip of South America. The fjords sport rich birdlife, with black neck swans, upland geese, carancho, Chilean flamingos, and cormorant.
Overnight in the simple Hotel Glaciares. Hot chocolate and cakes par excellence at Patagonia Dulce on Barros Arana...yum.
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