Posts Tagged ‘boats’

3rd April
written by Hazel
After our night at Termas Socos we headed up to a really unique piece of land, the Bosque Fray Jorge National Park.  This park is a large area which includes a steep ridge of land, just inland of the coast.  The clouds get trapped coming off the ocean and rain falls only on the top of the ridge, forming a cloud forest which is overcast almost all of the time, but is surrounded by desert on the inland side, and ocean on the other side.  It was hard to get a good picture of this phenomenon, but I gave it a shot.
13th March
written by Justin


Check out Part 1 here!

Having awakened in camp fully rested, we had a nice breakfast of (you guessed it) oatmeal. However, we had a stroke of genius – prepare it using some of the apple flavored drink powder that’s left over from our water bottles! It was surprisingly good , given that we were just throwing apple sugar on top. Being equipped with our apple juices, we set off for the magnificent Valle Frances, the middle leg of the “W”. This is a day hike of about 3 hours each way, up from the valley floor to a mirador in the center of a circle of mountains.

25th February
written by Hazel

There were several options for a boat trip from Ushuaia (including Antarctica!) but we chose a tour to a penguin breeding colony and it was definitely the right choice.  Penguins are absolutely adorable, and not something you often get to see in the wild.  The tour promised us that we would be able to “walk within the penguins” and it was the only trip in town that has permission to take tourists to this penguin island.

Flag trees on the way to the penguins

We stopped at a couple of scenic spots along the way and after about an hour on gravel roads we arrived at a ranch.  Justin and I had thought that the ranch would have a tour that involved ranchy things, but we were wrong about this.  It was actually a marine museum and research station and we got a tour of all kinds of bones and even got to see a dolphin being dissected.  That was smelly!

Scientists hard at work

Ok, so that´s not a cute penguin picture, but I´m getting to those!  We took a short boat ride out to the island and then had an hour walking around looking at the breeding colony.  There were Magellanic and Gentoo penguins.  The Gentoo are more rare and have orange feet while the Magellanic were plentiful, nest in burrows and are plain black and white.  And here are the cute penguins…

16th January
written by Hazel
Finally I’ve found some time and a fast internet connection, so I can get some photos up.  This post has some photo highlights from the Catlans, Milford Sound and the area, and our overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. 

Catlans Penguin Beach with Hide

More Yellow-Eyed Penguins!


Beautiful Catlans Beaches

No Camping!

Milford Sound in the drizzle

Views from Key Summit hike at Milford

More from Key Summit

Even more Key Summit

Doubtful Sound on the way to the boat

Our swanky cabin


Where I caught my first fish

View from the boat where we spent the night

Views in the morning from the cruise

9th January
written by Hazel

It has been a while since I’ve managed an update.  We’ve had a busy and amazing time recently and have been very, very lucky.

Since the last post we took the southern scenic route around the bottom of the South Island.  This took us through the Catlans region and then up into Fiordland.  All in all we’ve had pretty good weather (except at Milford Sound), so we’ve been able to do some really good hikes and see lots of incredible scenery!

Beach in the Catlans at Sunset

We saw more penguins, did a beautiful river walk and met some incredibly nice people who shared their campfire one night.  There are loads of waterfalls in the Catlans, so I had a chance to practice taking some waterfall photos.

We had a huge adventure getting to Milford Sound as we realized part-way that we would not have enough gas in our tiny tank to make it back if we went all the way to the Sound.  There is no gas anywhere along the route, so running out would be pretty annoying, as would turning back and not seeing it.  We found ourselves at a hut where a few of the hikes start and managed to talk our way onto a bus that was passing through.  It ended up being really good because the road was incredibly scenic (despite the rain) and we both got to enjoy it instead of having to think about the very windy road.  It also ended up giving us only about 1.5 hours at the sound, but we didn’t mind that because we were saving our boat trip for Doubtful Sound and it was really poor visability.  We paid the bus driver and he told us “this never happened” and we went on our way.

The road to Milford is just incredible, with waterfalls everywhere and the steepest cliffs – highly recommend a whole day just to explore that road.

The next day we did a hike up to Key Summit (still before getting gas) and got some incredible views of the valleys and mountains.  I’m not going to have time to get pictures up, but I really will try in the next few days!

Our boat trip to Doubtful Sound was absolutely AWESOME!  We went with Fiordland Expeditions and it totally exceeded anything I had imagined.

Doubtful Sound

We had all the lobster and blue cod we could eat.  Which it turns out is quite a lot!  We also got to catch both of these things and they were cooked fresh right there on the boat.  I caught not only my first fish, but three more as well!  We actually went all the way out to the Tasman Sea for fishing and it was totally unreal (unreel?) how easy it was to hook a fish.  Except for the guy who caught a 5 foot shark!  Absolutely incredible!

We also went kayaking, did a little stargazing and Justin jumped off the ship’s helicopter pad.  I jumped off something a little lower, but it was awesome that we had such perfect weather that we could swim.  Everyone kept saying that they hardly ever have that much sun there.

But that wasn’t even the end of the seafood.  The kind people who shared their campfire invited us to their beautiful home to try Paua (abalone!).  So straight off the boat we drove back across the country and had another amazing seafood feast and wonderful evening of conversation (and showers and laundry!) at their house.  Much to my surprise I really liked the Paua and ate both strips of it and ground up patties. It’s a pretty off-putting black and blue color on the outside, but it tastes delicious!  We also had fish and chips style blue cod.  It’s amazing how generous people are as we would never have been able to try Paua like that.  Chris knows how and where to dive for them and snatched them that same day off the rocks!  You aren’t allowed to tank dive to get them, so it takes quite a bit of know-how.  We’re hoping that one day we’ll be able to return the favor, but we were having trouble thinking of truly American food besides hot dogs and twinkies.

My internet time is almost run out, even though I could go on and on about the last week.  We’re on our way back to the North Island now and going into intensive Spanish practice mode to get ready for South America at the end of the month.