Tuesday, February 18, 2014

S America/Antarctica - 1/03/2014 - Punta Arenas, Chile

We are off to see more penguins even though we have already seen hundreds of thousands of them.  When we made our original selections for shore excursions, we had no idea what we would see as the cruise unfolded.  I borrowed a little information from Wikipedia as I often do.  Rather that digest it and then write it in my own words, I am going to copy and paste some of the stuff of interest.  I am getting weary of posting for this trip so now I am willing the cheat so I can be finished the postings and move on to other things that are awaiting my attention.

"Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of immigrants attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The largest sheep company, controlling 10,000 acres in Chile and Argentina, was based in Punta Arenas, and its owners lived there.

Since its founding Chile has used Punta Arenas as a base to defend its sovereignty claims in the southernmost part of South America. This led, among other things, to the Strait of Magellan being recognized as Chilean territory in the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20th and 21st centuries because of its logistic importance in accessing the Antarctic Peninsula."

There are about 120,000 residents in Punta Arenas.

The penguins live around Otway Sound which is about an hours drive from the ship.

Once at Otway Sound, you have to walk about a mile on a gravel and wood planked path to get from the parking lot to the penguins.

As penguin colonies go and based on what we have seen already on this cruise, this is a small colony.

This is an elevated observation platform for viewing the penguins on the beach.

The plants growing along the path were almost as interesting as the penguins.

We rode a bus to the park while others took city taxis.  You have more freedom with a taxi because you can tell the driver to stop anywhere you want to for photos or sightseeing.  The downside is the extra cost and the loss of the Holland America guarantee that the ship will not leave without you if you are on one of their excursions.

A souvenir and snack shop.  We did not get penguin tee-shirts on this cruise.

Sheep graze near a conveyor belt used to load ships with coal from a mine that is just out of the picture to the right.

Looks like Wyoming.

I think there was a naval base in town.

This one I don't know about.  Maybe the captain of the Costa Concordia has relatives in Punta Arenas?

The ms Zaandam.

The next couple of days, we will be cruising the canals and fiords of Chile.

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