Pantagonia, Puenta Arenas, Chile

Trip Start Feb 14, 2012
1
12
15
Trip End Mar 04, 2012


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Flag of Chile  , Patagonia,
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wow, what a beautiful day!  We arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile on a warm sunny day.  The sky was beautiful blue and the temperature ranged between 44-57.  We tendered over very calm seas to the wharf.  This is a big deal since two cruises ago, the water was extremely rough and the weather was very cold.  The wind blows constantly  and in the summer can reach 110mph
 
Punta Arenas is considered the largest southernmost city (population-131,000) on the South American mainland.  It is located in one of the most remote regions on the earth, at the point where the Andes curve eastward and sink into the sea.  Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, it was one of the busiest ports in the world.  It was the principal coaling and supply station for ships rounding the horn.  Following the discovery of oil in the 1940's. the infrastructure was improved, and the city is now an important commercial center and popular tourist destination for those wishing to explore the "Uttermost Realm."

In 1520, Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to see the area.  They landed here thanks to the strong gales that blew their ship into the strait, known now as The Magellan Strait, and into calmer waters.  Magellan was so pleased with the calmer seas, that he named the water, The Pacific Ocean.

We spent several hours around exploring the area around The Plaza de Arms, the site of a huge bronze statue of Magellan.  Today was the end of the cruise ship season and the plaza was filled with vendors selling alpaca and woolen sweaters, hats and scarfs, lapis jewelry, and statues of both penguins and whales.  We passed up these "bargains" and ventured into a jewelry store where we bought a lapis ring and a copper and lapis necklace with matching earrings.  Chile is reputed to be a major center for both materials.

We tendered back to the ship in time for a late lunch and treated ourselves to massages. Fantastic!

We dined early so we could see the Crew Talent Show.  However, there was no room, even to stand so we wandered to other events.  One of the things we disliked about the ship was that the auditorium seating was almost always inadequate, and we could not fill our time with Casino activities because even the craps table was located in the center of the smoking side. 
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