The last day dawned for our last adventure to the Patagonian region of Southern Chile, the sky was overcast with a drizzling rain and a cool wind blowing from the snow covered mountains. Breakfast was a rushed, yet a nutritious start to the day. At around 8 am we boarded the bus to take us to the pier to meet the Catamaran that was to take us on one of the most unforgettable journeys, to culminate in witnessing the massive Continental Ice shelf, in the spectacular Laguna San Rafael. The bus trip from the Loberias Hotel to the pier was a mere 5 minutes; we could actually see the Catamaran from the Hotel. Once aboard and all accounted for, we began a most remarkable journey. A journey of three hours duration which took us across islands, Channels, and Fiords, all this with beautiful scenery on both sides of the Lagune, this Lagune is very peaceful, it has a surface of170 square kilometres. The first signs that we were approaching the Ice Shelf were the amount of Floes that were surrounding the Catamaran, some were absolutely Turquoise blue, and I was to see them up close later in the journey. The air was not cold but you could feel a slight coldness developing as we neared the Shelf. Rounding a bend in the Lagune came into sight, a magnificent panoramic scene of Ice covered my eyes, it was spectacular, ten kilometres in length and a two and a half kilometres wide, standing on the top deck of the Catamaran, I stood in awe at this beautiful creation, it was moving, it was alive, occasionally we would hear sounds like gunfire or detonations, this was the Ice moving and adjusting itself, when this occurred large chunks of Ice would fall away to become part of the flotilla of floes that covered the surface of the Lagune. Then began the extraordinary experience of approaching the Shelf up close, we were allotted numbers that corresponded to the boats which would take us up close, these were Zodiac speed boats, we boarded the boats from the Catamaran and immediately picked up speed to approach the Shelf, the speed was a necessary precaution as the Ice would fall unexpectedly and cause mini Tsunamis, depending on the size of the falling Ice. We were able to boat along the face of the Shelf, a few Ice falls forcing us back out into the lagune at high speed, when the Ice resettled we were again able to get close up. I had the most unbelievable experience of being so close to one of the massive Ice falls, that I could actually reach out and touch this 20 million year old Ice, it was massive above water and I could not imagine its size below water, it was truly amazing , the monstrous block of Ice was translucent and spectacularly Blue, I was in awe, 20 million year old Ice, my mind went into imagination mode, the history, the secrets it held, an experience I will never forget. We witnessed this beautiful creation for two to three hours and then returned to the Catamaran. The Skipper sounded the alarm to call the two remaining Zodiacs back to the boat; this alarm is sounded when the Skipper deems the Zodiacs closeness to the face of the Shelf has become a risk. After two to three hours the Catamaran headed back up the Lagune for the three hours trip back to the Loberias del Sur Hotel, the three hour trip back was relaxing and entertaining, it was an open bar on board for the journey, we were to experience Whiskey drizzled over 20 million year old Ice, quite an experience on its own. The Catamaran took on a very festive atmosphere, the drinks were poured, Whiskey over 20 million year old Ice or the National Chilean drink of Pisco Sour, I have developed a taste for Pisco Sour, but on this memorable occasion I did not want to miss out on the experience of Whiskey with 20 million year old Ice. Then the Karaoke began, a mixture of over a dozen nationalities, all singing Karaoke in their own language, then came my turn, the only Australian on board, I chose a song that I thought everyone could relate to, and the singer, I chose Elvis Presley Jail House Rock, it was amazing, so many different nationalities, all singing the same song in their own language. The Karaoke session on board seemed to break down all barriers of communication, I noticed later that everyone was speaking the same language and could understand each other, that 20 million year old Ice certainly packs a kick. I think I will leave that part of my adventures in abeyance for the next 20 million years, just a memory for me I think.
That my Friends, ends the adventures in Chile and the South Patagonia for 2016, I hope you have enjoyed our adventure. You are invited to join our adventures again next year, when we return to Chile, this time we will explore the Heavens through the eyes of the monstrous Observatories in the, earthquake prone area of the Atacama deserts of Northern Chile, from there I invite you to visit Rapa Nui (Easter Island), then down to Juan Fernandez Island (Treasure Island), and finally back down south to the Patagonian region to once again, explore the magical wonders of this Unique and beautiful Country.