Sunday, 16 April 2017

Patagonia - Andean Lakes crossing

We had two gorgeous days in Bariloche and were keeping our fingers crossed that the weather would hold for the much anticipated Andean Lakes crossing on our scheduled itinerary.  Unfortunately, that was not the case. It was dry when we set sail on Nahuel Huapi lake for the hour long ride to Puerto Blest, but as we approached Puerto Blest, it started to drizzle and continued on and off throughout the day.  To look on the positive side, rainy weather brought with it mist and fog which added another ambiance to the natural scenery.  And we still considered ourselves lucky as we were able to see a complete rainbow as we approached Petrohue and even a double rainbow when we got to Puerto Varas!  

It was a complicated journey, taking us eleven hours on three boats and four buses! It would have been a spectacular trip if it had been dry but we still tried to catch all the sights in the drizzle.  From Puerto Blest, the first stop, we boarded a bus for a short ride to Puerto Alegre.  We then hopped on another boat to cruise over Lake Frias to Puerto Frias where we departed Argentina and continued by bus to Peulla, where we entered Chile. The Chilean customs were very thorough checking everyone's luggage!  We walked from the customs house to the only hotel in town where we had lunch (the best Hake fish ever!) and then boarded another bus to the dock to set sail on Todos los Santos Lake.  The cruise on this lake was supposed to be spectacular with views of Mt. Osorno the beautiful symmetrical volcano, and also Mt. Tronado. As it was, all the mountain tops were fogged up and hidden.  We landed at Petrohue and took another bus to Puerto Varas. Petrohue Falls was on our itinerary but because of flooding and the subsequent landslide in the area, we had to bypass the falls. Well, at least, we were not caught in the landslide which was quite devastating from looking at what was left behind.

Puerto Varas welcomed us with a double rainbow - what more could we ask for!  We continued to hope the clouds would clear up the next day for a view of Mt. Osorno, but that was not to be.  It was a good thing this was the last of the bad weather and the rest of our trip was blessed with exceptionally amazing weather. 

View from the boat as we left Bariloche

The boat with our luggage in the back
First rainbow - Nahuel Huapi Lake

The gulls could tell there was food from miles away - all we had to do was raise our hand with a cracker in it and they will fly in pursuit of the boat
Got it!

Puerto Blest

The landscape reminded me of the cruise down the Yangtze river

View of the valley coming down from Mt. Tronador; when we caught a glimpse of Mt. Tronador, it looked very different from what we saw on the Argentinian side.

The guide called this a "mirthal tree".  I thought she might have meant "myrtle" but this tree has a huge trunk.

We got the intermittent blue skies in between the dramatic dark clouds and mist

Dramatic skies on the way to Peulla

A farm raising angus cows

The weather changed quickly from one minute to the next.  This is the same view looking out the hotel restaurant window

Cruising on Todos los Santos Lake towards Petrohue

A full rainbow with very intense colour on its foot

All we could see of Mt. Osorno

From Puerto Varas we could see the perfect conical base

A double rainbow in Puerto Varas!

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