Is it Chile in here?

Trip Start Feb 18, 2008
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Trip End Mar 07, 2008


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Saturday, March 1, 2008

We completed our transit of the Chilean fjords and Magellan straits at Puenta Arenas Chile after sailing around 280 nautical miles. We arrived at the anchor point and dropped anchor around 7 am. We had to take tenders into port today so to avoid the madhouse that we experience last time we took a long breakfast. It seems that this time they were more prepared and had a queue set up and had blocked off the seating areas in the explorers lounge. It should have been set up this way the first day but it is good to know that they learned something and improved on it. We boarded our tender and headed in.
 
The port authority was different. Just like the theme parks they let you off right into a gift shop. It smelled of the leather that the jackets were made out of. We walked into town past the horde of taxi drivers and tour operators and entered the tourist center. We tried to figure out how to get to Isle Magellan but when we couldn't figure it out we asked at the desk. Come to find out the island is closed due to in-climate weather but she offered as an alternative. She booked us a van out to the Otway Penguin Reserve.

We would have been better off booking a taxi but we were having a language barrier. We thought the price included entrance. It didn't but we rode in luxury to the reserve. After paying she told us it would be about 15 minutes. We went upstairs and ordered a cappuccino....Best coffee we had the entire trip. Delicious.

Our driver arrived and we took about an hours drive out into the country. We did our best to communicate across the language barrier and he tried to tell us about Puenta Arenas. The otway Penguin reserve allowed us to get just feet away from the adorable penguins that reside there. There are conservationist that roam the grounds and tell you tid bits about the nesting grounds and burrows of the Magellanic penguins that reside here. We only had one hour to spend here at the Reserve and it was quite a walk out to the beach and nesting areas. 



Video of Penguins at the Otway Reserve http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxI_5_on-ws

We got back into town and decided to check out the town. We wanted to try to get a little Chilean Pesos. We stopped out in front of a bank. The lights seemed to be out and when we tried the door it didn't open. There was a card reader by the door and we were debating trying our ATM card to open the door. It was about that time that a woman came up and pushed on the door, not pulled and went right in. We didn't even try to push open the door. Too funny. Not that it helped us out that much. All of the instructions on the machine were in Spanish and after 3 failed attempts and timing out our card got locked out. Oops... Paulie was able to withdraw some money using our failed attempts to figure out what to push. 



We took the pesos that Paul had pulled and went down to the town square where we checked out the local goods in markets set up around the square. The weather started to get a little rough and after kissing the toe of the statue in the middle of the square (Its good luck and ensures your return to Puenta Arenas) we headed back to the cafe we had the fantastic coffee in. This time we had the Grande Cafe instead of the small.

I am finding that it was a little more difficult to research South America on the Internet than other trips that I have taken. What I learned on this trip I hope to help me in the future when I go back. Next time I am not going on a cruise ship. 8 hours gives you a tourist view of a town not an adventurers view... I want the adventure. 
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