Friday, 8 April 2011

Ruta Canales Patagonicos & Capitan Leonidas

It took me quite sometime to get used to the fact that in this hemisphere, going north means that you are actually moving to warmer places rather than colder ones :)
Patagonian winter is just around the corner and I am making my way to the north...seeking for warmer places....I've had enough glaciers, snowstorms and destination is Valparaiso, but I have to go to Puerto Montt first.
There are many ways and routes to get there. I decided to take the most unusual, less advertised, most expensive and longer one....but promisingly the most exciting & "fun".
4 days on a cargo vessel through the Chilean fjords that is. I don't really remember who told me about this "excursion", I think a guy in Ushuaia, and when I arrived at Puerto Natales, I looked for it. Navimag is the company that runs those "ferries" for many years and their main purpose is to carry goods from the south to the north of Patagonia. Apparently though, they have converted some part of the ferries to carry some passengers, along with the truck drivers....


Weather forecast was pretty ok for the season, although last week, the same ferry had to deal with waves as high as 7-8 meters, for 12 hours and arrived with 8h delay...
In most part of the trip, the fjords protect the ship from the harshness of the Pacific Ocean, but there is a point right after Puerto Eden where it cannot make its way through the little islands and has to get out to the ocean, before it goes back into the protection of the fjords.

horses, cows & sheep...ideal conpany :)

through the fjords....sea is great but is really cold....

the first of the two glaciers on our way

really magical scenery

see that dot in the middle of the picture?? that's COTOPAXI....
a very interesting story :)

It was around 5pm on the second day of the trip and I was at the bridge of the ship, talking to one of the officers trying to understand how they calculate the route from their radar....and from the map also. When I told him I come from Greece, he seemed quite excited and he showed me a single point on the radar that was named COTOPAXI. He told me to come back in about an hour and he would tell me a nice story about it....and so I did....and took the picture above.

COTOPAXI in all its glory :))

The story goes like this: Under that ship which is called COTOPAXI and sitting still in the middle of the sea since 1960, there is a reef which is 3 meters tall above sea level. Capitan Leonidas was in command of the ship back in those years, carrying sugar from the north to the south. Capitan Leonidas, a very experienced Greek seaman, he crashed the vessel on the reef, and there it stands until now. Story has it that he did it on purpose so that the company would get money from the insurance.
"There is no way a Greek capitan to make such a mistake. He surely did it on purpose" were the exact words of the officer I was talking to, while he had a devil's smile on his face. And of course the jury did not believe Capitan Leonidas either....and he was imprisoned. Poor guy...:))

Enjoy some more pics:

the second great glacier !!!

arriving at puerto Montt..... 6am

It was definitely worth it. The scenery was amazing....and you don't really get the opportunity every day to travel with whales, dolphins and albatros along your way.....

Hasta luego amigos