Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Megellan Was Strait

Punta Arenas Chile is located at the southern tip of Chile, just off the Strait of Magellan.
Sitting here in this cruise ship, it is impossible to wonder what it must have been like for Ferdinand Magellan and his crew when they first sailed here in 1520
We are here today to visit penguins. Magellenic penguins.
The journey is not going to be an easy one. First we have to get off the ship using the ships tenders. Last time using the tenders the trip was canceled because there were waves on the water. Today is not looking any better, but after waiting a while it is finally determined safe enough to go to shore.
Once ashore the Chilean immigration folks are here scanning everyone bags. No one is detained or pulled aside and beaten, and we are allowed to board the waiting busses…
The bus ride is short today. Only 20 minutes or so. We end up at another dock where our ferry will take us out to Magdalena Island.
Our Ferry
It is a two hour ride out to the island, in this ferry that is aboot as comfortable as an Alaska Airlines 737 800 (the most un comfortable ride in the sky) The ferry has a name plate that says it was made in Miami Florida in 1960. How it ended up on the west coast of Chili is anyone’s guess. The crew tells us aboot the life jackets that may or may not be on board, and hands us lunch in zip lock bags.
Approaching the island dolphins are spotted alongside the boat. Once on shore it is easy to see why Penguins live here…The wind is howling, and it is raining horizontally.
Penguins are everywhere. We watch them and they watch us. Some are nesting in little caves.
Along with the Penguins there are thousands of sea birds here. Cormorants, gulls, and terns line the beach, some just floating in the wind…
Common Terns
We had one whole hour on the island, and then it was back to the ferry for the ride back to the ship. Another whirl wind tour…

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