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Our "Summer" Travels To South America: Part 16

Our intrepid traveler's three-month journey on a cruise ship: Punta Arenas, Chile

By Armando F. Sanchez, Contributing Writer
Published on LatinoLA: March 26, 2013

Our "Summer" Travels To South America: Part 16

We entered the Strait of Magellan. It's a wide, long and major natural channel that runs diagonal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Since there are mountains on both sides it diminishes the harsh open ocean weather of the South. Since it is salted ocean water it does not freeze in the winter. This was an important port because it has a natural port and it provided supplies and burning material to the steam ships in years past as they passed through here. Now it's the fishing port and is the landing point in Chile for traveling to Antarctica. Argentina, Chile and New Zealand are the only three launch ports to the Southern most continent.

Antarctic scientific research and tourism to go there are big traveling destinations down here. People come from all parts of the world to see Antarctica. 36 of our fellow cruise passengers got off the ship on an Antarctic tour early this morning. They were flown down there for two hours and took a three hour land expedition. They returned to the ship before sundown. That shore trip cost around $3,000 per person.

I am anxious to meet one of them and ask how they felt about their experience. I did meet others who have done the voyage to Antarctica in years past and they were very happy that they went there. There is no lodging on the continent besides scientific stations so either one travels on ship or in-and-out by plane. Visitors also have to have their own clothing for -40 degree weather. It is not that its that cold there but visitors have to be ready for worst case conditions or being held in because of a sudden storm.

We pick up some personal supplies in town (couple of bottles of Malbec) and we leave port and head north to Puerto Montt, Chile.

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