Day 34 – Chilling in El Calafate
So what do you do in El Calafate?
Today started out with breakfast by the bus at eight. The wind has died down but still there is rain in the air. Then we went in to town to book the trip to the glacier for tomorrow. Originally I wanted to do a trip where you go walking for a short walk on the glacier it self. But the prices are quite high and the weather lookout for tomorrow isn’t the best
The other option considered was taking a local bus to the glacier and have a look for our selves and perhaps go on a boat trip to look at the glacier front from the water.
In the end most of us decides to hop on an offer we got from one of the agencies. Pick up at camp, guided tour, 1 hours boat ride and about three hours of time to walk the board walks at the edge of the glacier.
As a group we got that for 850 Argentinian pesos + the park entry fee that is 500 pesos.
Hopefully we’ll get some clear weather tomorrow.
In the afternoon the weather cleared and we had a small barbecue at the bus. Playing cards and drinking beer before going to bed.
Tomorrow we’ll go visit the glacier.
Day 35 The Perito Moreno Glacier
Late morning today as the pick up to go to the glacier wasn’t due until sometime between 10:30 and 11:00, as usual it was closer to 11 before the bus arrived.
We then did a short trip around town to collect some more people before heading for the glacier. I’m very happy I went on a trip with a guide for once. During the trip to the glacier we got a log of interesting facts on how the mountains feed the glacier and the surrounding land.
Winds carrying moist air come from Chile and gets pushed up by the mountains, thus loosing most of the water at the higher elevation. You can see this clearly on the few kilometres you drive from El Calafate to the mountain. The area around El Calafate is just low shrubs and dry grass, but as you get closer to the mountain it turns greener and around the glacier it self there are dense forests.
The whole experience is enhanced by the low laying terrain. The base of the glacier is located just 185 meters above sea level.
He also talked about the rupture. The rupture is an event that happens every four to five years. As the glacier moves forward it creates a dam between two large bodies of water and when the water reaches about 15 metres above the normal level in the south basin the water pressure will start eating away rapidly on the ice. When the water gets trough it causes massive collapses of the glacier. Huge chunks fall of and thunder into the water. This got to be an spectacular sight, not to mention the sound. Even small patches of ice falling in sounded like thunder claps.
The last rapture was in March 2016 so I guess we were late this time.
It’s an impressive sight even today, board walks take you do to very good viewing position and with a bit of patience you’ll see large chunks fall off. The largest I saw was when we were walking toward the docks. Our guide estimated that the patch that fell down was something like a city block long, and 70 meters tall.
At the end of our trip we took the boat up closer to the edge, unfortunately there were no major ice falls as we passed by, but the blue ice is exceptional as it is. I was hoping that we would get even closer on the water, but apparently the ice slopes away almost 200 meters from the face under water. And it a chunk breaks of there I guess it would surface like a breaching whale. To bad we didn’t see anything like that.
If you ever go there hoper for cloudy weather like we got. This brings out the deep blue colour of the ice. On a sunny day it’ll just turn bright white.
What a great experience, and even if the hiking wasn’t hard it was a very tired and quiet bunch of people on the trip back to town.
Back at the bus I dropped off my stuff and went with Marie to get some food. I guess it will be a quiet afternoon tonight. The last two has been flowing with alcohol so I guess we need it.
Tomorrow we head off to El Chalten. El Chalten is just north of here at the other end of the national park, and it supposed to be a great place for hiking. We’ll see what happens.