A couple of days in El Calafate has reacquainted me with wind and frame of reference. On the morning of my departure, things had calmed down considerably, but the last two days were rather like being in a perpetual and very natural wind tunnel.
El Calafate is a bit of a tourist town, sitting on the banks of Lago Argentino, which is one grand lake. It has a bit of the tourist feel to it and a large number of tour operators that will gladly take you to one (or more) of the natural wonders that are in the area.
I had the opportunity to visit and do a mini trek on the Perrito Moreno Glacier. I learned that this glacier is “stable”, not receding, but rather maintaining its size despite the global warming. (I would imagine the non-believers in global warming point to this glacier and place their carbon bets across the craps table of the future, confident that all will be just fine.)
Like most everything else in this part of the world, the scale is massive. The glacier measures between 40 and 70 meters above the surface of the lake, AND 130 meters below the surface. And when it calves (drops a chunk in the water) the sound roars through the region. This little piece broke off while I was there and fell into the water. My rating as a poor photographer remained so, as I missed the fall. I did catch the chunk coming to the surface after what seemed like 20 seconds. Watching it come back to the surface was very cool.
A few other notes from El Calafate…
- As has been the case everywhere I have visited, there was a large population of wandering dogs. This pup was my buddy yesterday. We hung out for a while and he followed me around during my walking journey. If I could take him with me, I would. Woof.
- I have found my new favorite restaurant. Who knew that sushi in El Calafate would be so good? Who knew there was sushi in El Calafate? I also found a wonderful new friend in Takashi who was visiting from Japan. His cousin is the owner of the sushi restaurant and for two evenings we worked through our language barriers, drank sake, ate sushi, and laughed about karaoke.
- Near the shores of Lago Argentino there is a nature reserve called Laguna Nimez. It is filled with an array of birds, and some stand still for the less developed wildlife photograpers.
- And finally, this is the international airport in El Calafate. There are a surprisingly large number of flights to all corners of the world as shown by the map near the gates. There are flights to the US, however while it is possible to fly to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami, seems the best you can do if you want to fly to Texas, is to land in some place called “Texas City”. I take this to mean that once you hop on the plane, you could wind up anywhere in Texas. Or perhaps in El Calfate, Texas isn’t quite as big as it is in the US. Sorry Jon. Sorry Texass.
OK now to the bottom of the world.