Punta Arenas

Day 17: Sunday, January 20, 2002

6:22 AM: We are docked in Punta Arenas.

The tug is satisfied that all is well with the big ship, newly arrived at their dock on the Straits of Magellan.

Sunday morning, and all is well.

We are scheduled to fly northwest to Puerto Natales — about an hour flight — then take a three-hour bus ride to Torres del Paine National Park. We leave the ship around 7:30 AM. It will be a long day.

We are airborne soon after 8 am.

They waste no time getting us to the Punta Arenas Airport, which is quite a way out-of-town. We board our assigned planes. Two are small nine-passenger planes and one other is considerably larger. We were assigned to one of the small ones. And our seats were assigned according to weight to balance the load. Owen sits on the left in this picture, two rows in front of me. I sit by the door near the back of the compartment.

Tight Quarters: I warn Owen to watch the air vents just a couple inches from his head.
The largest of our group sat in the co-pilot's seat, up front.

Straits of Magellan

We circle and leave the Punta Arenas behind as we fly north.
Straits of Magellas is plural because the water route is made up of several waterways to make the famous seaway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It wasn't a no-brainer for Ferdinand Magellan to find his way across Patagonia.

The Patagonian Pampas

Only low vegetation grows in this area due to the Patagonian winds, which can be very harsh.

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Page last updated March 5, 2002.