Chile Day 8: Glaciers and Canine Friends

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Today, we took a boat tour to see the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, which took us down the Esperanza Sound flanked by mountainous islands, waterfalls, and glaciers.

Our morning started at a rush as. Accidentally set my alarm for 6:00 p.m. instead of a.m., so we didn’t wake up until Jess’s alarm went off after 6:30. We had to scramble to get ready, scarf down a bit of breakfast, then run to catch our ride to the dock to get onto the boat that would take us on our tour.

Our boat finished boarding passengers and left the dock at around 8:00 a.m. The Esperanza Sound is quite long so it took us a couple of hours to our destination.
I wasn’t complaining because the scenery was gorgeous. We saw mountains, waterfalls, a cormorant colony, and glaciers. At one point, we even saw the famous “towers” of the Torres del Paines in the distance.

Glacier-capped mountains and waterfalls galore!

The weather was a tad cool but incredibly windy, especially if we stood on the boat deck. Most people could only tolerate being up there for a few minutes, or at least they would take shelter behind a wall, but us Canadians pretty much stayed there the whole time to take pictures. One guy from New York said we were very brave, but I said that it was a lot warmer than home so it wasn’t anything particularly harsh for us.

After a couple of hours, we docked to go see the Serrano Glacier. We hiked for about half an hour along a narrow dirt trail with stony steps. The glacier could be seen early on, but the trail took us to a viewing point quite close up to the glacier itself. There was also a small stream of glacier water that is pure, so we tried it and it was very refreshing. The glacier was huge and very blue and we could hear the ice moving/cracking at times. The glacier is receding quickly, especially due to global warming, so maybe in 30 years or so, there won’t be anything of it left.

Top: The Serrano Glacier. Bottom: Bits of glacier ice that have broken off and are floating away down the river.

After taking some pictures and learning a little bit about the glaciers from our tour guide, we made the hike back to our boat. Most people were pretty tired at this point, but we got served a snack (potato chips and pisco sour served over glacier ice), held a raffle, and learned a bit more of the geography of the area from our guide.

Once we docked in Puerto Natales again, we split up. Some people, Including us, paid for an included lunch. We hopped on a bus with some of the other tourists and went to a nearby little town, where we ate at a farm restaurant. We got wine, barbecue lamb, potatoes, and salad. There was tons of meat, pretty much all you can eat with the amount that they had. I love meat, but even I could not eat that much of it.

After lunch, we got dropped off in town again. Alana and I opted to stay in town while Jess took the ride back to our hotel to rest. We wandered around, took more pictures, ate dessert at a cafe, and picked up some medicine for Jess, as she is still feeling under the weather.

Sights around town during our walk.

As Alana and I walked back to our hotel, we bumped into a handsome German shepherd on the sidewalk. There are lots of dogs outside in Chile. One of our tour guides said that many of the dogs actually belong to someone but the dogs are allowed to roam around freely outside. The German shepherd was incredibly friendly and played fetch with us using a rock from the side of the road. Then it started to follow us…and follow us…

We tried to lose the dog by jumping into a hostel lobby. The woman at the front desk recognized the dog as “Rock” (what an appropriate name…a dog named Rock who likes to play with rocks) and said he would definitely try to follow us the whole way back to our hotel. At that point, we gave up and just started to walk again back to our hotel. As the hostel lady predicted, Rock escorted us most of the way back to our hotel. We played fetch with him a little more along the way, too. Finally, when we were almost at our hotel, Rock found some other friends to follow, who were going in the opposite direction, towards town.

Our new canine friend, Rock.

Satisfied that Rock would be ok and was heading back towards his home,we returned our hotel to relax, join up with Jess again, and prepare for tomorrow.

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