Tour Torres del Paine National Park, stopping at Sarmiento Lake, the emerald green Nordenskjold Lake and then walk to see the Salto Grande waterfall
Breakfast at 6.00 am this morning as we have to be down on Deck 3 ready to depart at 7.40 am. The wind is blowing a gale and the sea is very rough and there is a big Spanish ship tied up alongside in Puerto Natales which has limited the area where our tender can unload passengers.
Because the conditions were so bad, we had to wait an hour before it was safe to take the tender across to Puerto Natales. It was quite dangerous getting off onto the wharf, but there were a lot of staff there to help us and make sure we didn't get hurt.
The wind was furious. I have never experienced wind so fierce. How people can live wih this wind all the time is beyond me.
Boarded the bus for the two hour ride to Torres del Paine National Park. The landscape is very stark with huge bare mountains and barren plains. Nothing much grows here. Sheep and cattle do well. We stopped for several photo opportunities. The scenes are quite stunning.
We came across this herd of Guanacos (pronounced wanacoe). They are from the same family of camels and are related to llamas and alpacas. They are very cute.
We could see Monte Almirante Nieto always in the distance with the granite spires of the Torres del Paine. The photos are stunning. Every time we got off the bus, the wind was horrific. Just imagine the worst wind you have ever experienced and multiply it by a million! It was incredible.
We had lunch at a hotel with the most magnificent views of the mountains. The lunch was buffet and was one of the most tastiest I have had since we have been away. It was delicious. We also had a complimentary Pisco Sour which is a local alcohol drink, made from grapes, with sugar and citrus added for the sour bit. It was really nice. Chileans drink it all the time.
After lunch, on our way back to Puerto Natales, we stopped for a group photo, and sheltered from the wind next to the bus. You can see from the photo that the wind was still blowing furiously. We were planning a 400m walk to the Salto Grande waterfall, but Rikus decided that the wind was too strong and it was too dangerous. Another bus load of tourists tried to visit the waterfall, and as a Scottish lady got out of the bus, a gust of wind threw her off balance and she broke her wrist and now she and her husband are on their way home. It's that easy in these horrific winds.
At one stage the wind was so furious that it blew a shower of rocks at the bus. The driver had to stop until it had passed. It was that gust of wind that broke the lady's wrist.
We all slept on the bus on the way back and had a stop at a "half horse" town, as opposed to a "one horse" town, Cerro Castillo. There was a settlement of quite new houses and an impressive statue of a horse and a very busy general store and not much else. Why anyone would live here, with the wind blowing furiously all the time, I just cannot imagine.
About eight of us got off the bus in Puerto Natales with Rikus and walked through the town and the main square, went into a souvenir shop and bought a small penguin that was heaps cheaper than Ushuaia and then walked down to the dock to get the tender back to the ship.
Puerto Natales is a very nice town with quite a lot happening. But the wind! It just never stops. At least the tender ride back to the ship was a lot calmer than this morning.
Baptiste our butler was waiting in our cabin for us on our return and had the table all set up for dinner, so we ate in. He made me a very nice pick me up cocktail, an Expresso Martini.
I had a very relaxing bath and into bed to read for a while. Phil was watching a crazy sci fi movie called Lucy, but went to sleep before it finished and couldn't tell me how it finished!