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Hola, Week 9


Monday, Feb. 12th

Last night we had some amazing Tex Mex food at a local restaurant. While we were there we chatted with a girl from Holland who was solo touring Patagonia. She had quite an adventurous spirit. The morning started off with coffee and a workout to balance out the previous evening tacos and beans.


After tidying up our Airbnb (always leave a place nicer than you found it) we headed out the door to the ferry operators office. We were thinking about booking a reservation to catch a four day ferry through the fiords landing us 600 miles to the north. After hearing the price and finally having worked out all the problems with the van, we decided we will drive the full distance back to Santiago. But on this day we headed further south to see the King penguins in Tierra del Fuego.



Part of the drive included crossing the Straight of Magellan via a ferry. We boarded and headed up to the front deck to see the sights and get some pictures. The sea was rough, tossing and turning in every direction. While Sarah was shooting a picture suddenly a wave crashed up on the ferry and we both got soaked. Sarah broke out in laughter and I’m still not sure what she thought was so funny.



We found a municipal campground in a little town called Cerro Sombrero. It was actually a nice campground with the perfect price, free. We are so far south now that the temperatures are dipping into the low 40’s at night. So much for summer!




Keep on rolling,

Scott and Sarah



Tuesday, Feb. 13th

Today we drove down the coast from Cerro Sombrero to Pinguino Rey nature reserve. As you can tell from the name it was a King penguin reserve. Once we got there we realized that we had booked the wrong dates but they were able to squeeze us in within a couple of hours. What a special place.



For some unknown reason a colony of King penguins decided to make this location their home 11 years ago. We got to see the penguins in their natural habitat and you are not allowed to make contact with them. The boundaries are clearly set up and viewing areas are established. This time of year babies are being hatched and you can see both mom and dad taking turn to keep the egg warm. What a thrill it was to see.



Afterwards we drove to Porvinir a small fishing village on the northern coast of Terra del Fuego. Pizza was on the menu for dinner and our waitress was a sweetheart. She spoke great English having learned from TV and music. Why can't it be that simple for adults? In the evening we found an old lighthouse at the mouth of the harbor and we spent the night in the parking lot.



As you can see from the screenshot we are the blue mark at the bottom of South America. Tomorrow we are going to start making our way back to Santiago.



As I have mentioned before there are multitudes of Guanacos all over the place. I shot a good video of one when we were out hiking and I will leave it here for you to enjoy.




Keep on rolling,

Scott and Sarah



Wednesday, Feb 14

It started out very rainy and cold this morning so we chose to drive instead of eating breakfast. Our destination was Punta Arenas where we planned to take a boat to Magdalena Island to see a colony of 20,000 penguins. We had a long stretch of muddy roads but we enjoyed the time listening to podcasts.


Ariving in Punta Arenas around 2:30, it was still raining so we decided to do some grocery shopping to kill time. Our tour to see the penguins was at 6:30 am the next morning and we stopped by the tour company to firm up the details.

Punta Arenas is a nice, clean port city with lots of shops and restaurants. We wanted to stay in town for the night to be close to the tour operators meetup.



Along the waterfront is a beautiful boardwalk with places to park so we pulled in and parked. We immediately found ourselves talking for over an hour with a couple from France. They were around our age and also had five children. It was great talking with them.



We decided to move down the road about a mile to be in a less busy area hoping to get a good nights rest. That was a mistake! It was party central until 5:00am when the last car of party goers left. Life is a learning curve!



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah



Thursday, Feb. 15

After a solid hour of sleep we arose to an amazing sunrise. By 6:30am we were boarding a bus and on our way to the dock. We got on the boat and took and hour ride out to Magdellena Island where the penguin colony lives. What a magical place! You walk along a specific path where the penguins have right of way. What was just as amazing were all the birds, thousand and thousands of geese and seagulls. The sounds of all the wildlife filled our ears to capacity. It was refreshing and exhilarating.





We walked for over an hour before we returned to the boat. On our way back to port we stopped at another island, Marta Island, where we watched an enormous sea lion colony from the top deck of the boat. The boat iddled up to the beach within 75 feet of the shore. The seals didn't seem bothered at all. There must have been at least  1,500 sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and playing in the water.



We made it back to port and to our car by 1:00pm. How did I feel, mareado (seasick) but I quickly got my land legs back and we enjoyed a great breakfast and coffee at a local restaurant. We had decided the day before to spend a day in Punta Arenas and booked a hotel for the night. It was a wise choice which came with the luxury of a shower.


After dinner we were on our way back to the hotel but we got a little turned around. While we were standing there looking like tourists a guy asked us if we needed help? We hesitated for a moment so he followed it up with, "Are you lost?" We

answered, "We are trying to find our hotel." And then came the obvious question, "What is the name of your hotel?" Senior moment and I don't mean Señor. We be both blankly looked at each other and said, "We don't know." His answer was, "Good luck" and he smiled while walking away.


At that moment Sarah and I had a laugh and that's when I noticed that our hotel was just down the road. It turned out that when we arrived at the front desk of the hotel the guy who had tried to help us was standing there. He was an employee of the hotel.  We all had a good laugh!



Keep on rolling

Scott and Sarah



Friday, Feb. 16

We left Punta Arenas and ate breakfast along the roadside in a ghost town (an old sheep ranch). The rest of the day was spent driving and we ended up sleeping next to an abandoned gas station. The day was filled with endless sightings of guanacos and rheas, they are literally everywhere.




Keep on Rolling

Scott and Sarah



Saturday, Feb. 17

Woke up early and decided to start driving with no breakfast. We have to drive a couple thousand miles to get back to Santiago so we are going to push it for the next couple of days. Our route is Ruta 3 on the eastern part of Argentina.



Today we ended up just south of a little community called Caleta Olivia. Our campsite was an abandoned coastal road that treated us to an amazing view of the ocean. We sat for hours with the binoculars watching the waterspouts pop up as the whales are very active here. The crashing of the waves and the cool evening air made sleeping very pleasant. Having grown up at the beach in California it felt a little like home.


Keep on rolling,

Scott and Sarah



Sunday, Feb. 18

We both got up early to watch the sunrise over the ocean. I even set up my phone on a tripod to get a timelapse of the the event. I was so excited to see my handiwork but when I hit playback I was surprised to see that I had not reversed the screen on my phone and ended up with a nice time lapse of the road. Grrrrr.



This trip has afforded me the opportunity to sharpen my driving skills. I have never been faced with so many different road conditions: potholes the size of cars, ruts in the asphalt that go on for miles, speed bumps in every town that you are sure to miss seeing, intersections where everybody seems to have the right of way, left hand turn lanes that make no sense (you would have to see one to understand), gravel roads that go on forever, and huge animals (guanacos & rheas) that pose a threat to your life if you hit one. But the one thing that keeps me constantly on my toes is the WIND. I cannot take my hands off of the steering wheel for a second. It blows constantly and at a moments notice it can hit you with a gust of 30-40 mph.



What has been more impressive is the two lane road we have been driving on for the last three days. It is filled with 18 wheelers who take up the whole lane. When they are coming from the opposite direction at 60 miles per hour, they pass within four feet of us. The vortex that they generate is scary to say the least. On their approach it pushes our car to the right side of the road, almost off the road. As it passes it sucks us back in toward the center line while drawing our windshield wipers up off the glass. When two trucks pass in succession we just hang on and hope for the best. Our van is literally like driving a loaf of bread that gets toasted with every gust of wind. This is the first time in my life I’ve had sore wrists and blisters from driving.



We got a hotel in Puerto Madryn, Argentina for a couple of nights. It is a seaside resort which is best known for the whale tourism. We plan to stay here a few days and explore.



Keep on Rolling,

Scott and Sarah

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As I read this update, for some reason a couple movies and a show came to mind: Happy Feet with a twist of Death Race 2000 and Wicked Tuna (for Sarah and the rogue wave). Can’t wait until you’re home and we can hear more stories first hand over coffee or a cold beer. Travel safe my friends!

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Sarah thought your comment was a riot!

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Always look forward to your detailed updates and fantastic pics!

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I'm glad we are keeping your life full of adventure.

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Scott and Sarah! I love reading about and seeing the photos from your latest adventure! Keep it up.

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Hey Neil do you have any wild travel plans on the horizon. This place is magic.

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