Sunday, 23 April 2017

Patagonia - Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate

After a long 6 hour drive (with stops) across the Patagonian steppes, we arrived back in Argentina in El Calafate, itself a tourist town catering to visitors to the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, one of 47 glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park. The glacier was our main destination and as part of the affiliation with National Geographic, we got a glacier specialist to give us a talk on glaciers and also act as our guide at the glacier the following morning. 
The glacier was stunning as you can see below.  According to the local guide, this was the only non-retreating glacier in the world because it has somehow maintained a perfect balance in spite of climate change.  That, in itself was a phenomenon.  

Travel inside the park was by park shuttle only and just as we arrived at the glacier, we heard a thunderous clap - we turned around and saw a huge chunk of the glacier calving and a huge wave when the ice hit the water.  That was a spectacular sight that we could only recall in our mind's eye as no one was quick enough to capture it. There were going to be quite a few more such occurrences during the day.  It seemed that by the time we heard the sound, it would already be too late or the calving was not in the direction our cameras were pointing. I was able to catch the last half of a calving while we were on the boat tour which took us just slightly closer to the glacier although not really that much because of safety concerns over calving.

We had two excellent dinners while we were in El Calafate, including an asado which I will write up later on Foodsparks, the food blog.

Perito Moreno glacier

The glacier looked very small from the highway with the surrounding mountains
The person provided a sense of scale

Our first sighting of a condor that was close enough to capture on camera on this trip. It was flying over the glacier and I was thinking it's too late but pulled out my camera anyway. Good thing I did as it took a turn and flew up our way!

A piece at the foot of the glacier that had an ice cave
This was the large chunk that fell off just as we arrived and caused a huge wave. That was the reason why boats were not allowed to get close to the glacier.

The amazing surface of the glaicer

The "tongue"
The "teeth"

An ice cave in the glacier


After the calving, the fresh exposed surface was bluer than the rest


A small "iceberg"

The view of the plains on the road to El Calafate

Next stop: Ushuaia - the southern most town in the world, according to Argentina...

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