Pucon, Navimag trip
03.03.2013 - 11.03.2013 15 °C
Wow the scenery on the trip from Mendoza to Santiago – it has to be seen to be believed. What an amazing bus ride. We do not say this lightly as have spent a fair amount of time in buses on this trip – to date approx. 50 hours… and many more to come! But, I digress. Basically, the bus cruises through the mountain range commonly known as the Andes, which of course leads to some amazing sights along the way. I will try to let the pictures do the talking, but I do not think they really do justice to the route.
It was really hard to narrow down the photos to only a few.... Sorry about that! It really was amazing
Final destination post 24 hours of transit (broken up by a dreamy afternoon at the movies) was a little place known as Pucon. The little mountain resort town is nestled next to both the Lake and Volcano Villarica. The location of course leads to a number of different extreme activities. Being the extreme types, we attempted to do a number of these, with varied results.
Weather is a major factor in what can and can not be completed in Pucon. I think all the other tourists in town (approx 70% of the Pucon population during the Summer) are hanging about waiting for a good day in order to attempt the climb to the volcano summit. Fortuntely there are other things to do to fill in the time.
Hidrospeeding – Anyone heard of this? We frekn loved it and had a blast, lucky to come out the other end alive. The basic idea is to “float” down a river on a MASSIVE flutter board, trying to survive through Grade 2 and 3 rapids. Doesn’t sound too bad right? But what if you are doing it with retards who have never donned a pair of flippers so you consequently end up tangled up in their legs. But this aside, it was awesome and I don't know why they dont have this activity available in NZ – it is an ideal location for this type of fun and games!
No really goood photos but will try and make a video soon
The following day was D-Day for us. It was the only day we were there which was even close to being acceptable weather wise to attempt the climb! We awoke to rain on the roof which is never a good sign. But we set off at 0600 try anyway! We waited with much anticipation to hear from others already up at the base as to whether it looked good to go – and it was – woohoo!
Ready to start
We struggled our way up and were settling into a rhythm of sorts when the beautiful Blue sky with pretty good visibility up to the top suddenly (when I say suddenly, I mean within about 2 minutes) clouded over to a visibility of about two metres. The difficult decision of whether to continue or not was made for us by our guides who refused point blank to continue. We were all a bit miffed as the other groups appeared to be continuing on. We could do nothing about it though and started the trudge down. The spirit was a bit low but we were pleased to at least have gotten up over half way – and that we could blame the weather and not our own lack of fitness. Haha. What also helped was the other groups all coming down twenty minutes after us. So no one made it to the top that day!
Even though we only did half of the climb, we certainly appreciated the trip we had arranged to the natural Termas/Hot pools for that night. What a way to wind down.
Some pretty sweet views on the way up
We were like lemmings all marching our way up
Canyoning was booked in for the following day but again due to the heavy rainfall we had experienced overnight, the rivers were too high and fast to do it. This lead to a relaxing day at the hostel followed by a walk across someones farmland in an attempt to locate the river. We were well and truly lost, but the sights along the way were gorgeous – even if the rain was still intermittently drizzling.
Soph found some blackberries along the way which made her VERY happy
We also got a little wet but was a very pretty walk
Unfortunately we had to leave this beautiful little town as we had a boat to catch and of course needed to board another bus in order to reach said boat. We waved goodbye to Pucon and have put it up there in one of our faves so far.
Fortunately we were leaving Pucon to board our floating home for four days. We had a wee stop off for one sleep and headed off for a feed at the local pub. It was a MASSIVE pile of meat, potatoes and fried bread on a hot plate between three of us. We were all pretty excited about it and tucked in. It was spectacular – until we realised that a lot of what was on the plate was offal – I actually came close to vomiting in the restaurant. The stuff not offal was amazing though.
The following morning it was time to board the boat heading through the Patagonian fjords. The boat has a capacity of 184 and even though we are in the peak season (tail end of it anyway) we only had 90 of us on board. Perfect number we thought. We were sleeping in bunk beds in the corridor. Sounds far worse than it was and it turns out that for those people who had paid the extra for a bunk room, they would have preferred the corridor as we had more space. Woohoo!
We had a really good group of people on board with us and we met people who made the four days fly by. The people, the scenery and the activities they had planned for us made what could have been a little boring, a really good time. There was bingo (which Hayley won), knot tying lessons, lectures on flora and fauna, karaoke, a visit to a heritage village, whale, dolphin and seal watching along with a bit of a detour via a glacier. As if we needed more entertaining, Soph came away with a pretty brutal hangover after a big night on the Vino tintos and Hayley was breaking it down on the D floor caterpillar style.
WARNING/DISCLAIMER: There are a few photos to follow due to the sheer amazingness of this region!
Having a chin wag with Ed
Learning to tie knots sailor style
Glacier - One of onlt two which are still growing (the other we are heading to see soon)
Land bound - heading off to the heritage village
Heritage villages version of a footpath
Our boat is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
Group jump in which we do not feature since other people do not seem to be able to take jump shots very well
Ed getting ready with his cask f fabulous vino tinto
Its party time on the Boat and all are getting in amongst
Did someone say conga line? YES please!
The caterpillar was a hit with all
We are now in Puerto Natales about to embark on a four or five day hike in the Patagonian wonderland - watch this space, there will be countless photos to follow I am sure!
Peace out team!