Punta Arenas, Chile

We looked at the excursions offered by the ship and decided against buying.
A visit to see penguins on Magdalena Is. USD $299 / person,

Penguines

but we had already booked to see hundreds of penguins on the Falkland Islands, because it was much cheaper. We could have booked to explore Torres del Paine National park, but this tour was a little too rich for us at USD $1299 each . . . .

As none of us had been to Punta Arenas before we thought the best thing to do was to visit the tourist office and pick up a local map, and an information booklet, and have a chat with the staff. A 3.5-hour walking tour off the ship was USD $129, so we figured with a little effort we would see just as much – which we did.

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The rainbow over Punta Arenas made us feel welcome.

Unfortunately, on leaving the ship we had to contend with high winds, and heavy rain much of the time. The ship supplied umbrellas for each cabin, so along with our own umbrella we were well covered. (excuse the pun).

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Welcome to windy & wet Punta Arenas . . a town that joins the Atlantic & the Pacific.

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Two of our friends with the whale tail in the background.

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The town felt small  & friendly, and we enjoyed out short stay, even allowing for the poor weather.
We just had to get used to the rule of the road to cross the streets. . . .

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A visit to the tourist office soon had us up to date with information and street maps.

The office was in the Plaza de Aramas, which also held the statue of Ferdinand Magellan. Note the statue of a young boy on the right side of the monument, he is dangling his leg. Look closely and you will see it is shiny, because if you kiss the toe of the Patagonian boy you will return to the city in the future. Maureen and I didn’t take up the offer – not because we don’t wish to return one day, but we didn’t fancy catching anything that we shouldn’t, being so far from home.

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I’ve cropped out the young boy so that you can see his polished foot.

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The six of us DIY walking tour and trying to keep warm and dry.

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As we crossed the road, I had to take a picture of the local café.
We didn’t go in, as we were on our way to the maritime museum, which was inexpensive to enter and very interesting.

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Took this photo because my daughter’s name is Sara.

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General Baquedano

The first training ship of the Chilean Navy, she was a corvette and was launched in 1898. I took a photograph of the paining in the museum. She was decommissioned in 1959.

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Maureen’s going for her helmsman’s ticket. Perhaps I should have said ‘helmsperson’s’  ticket in this PC day and age . . . just for the record I have a helmsman’s ticket stamped in my discharge book, as yet nobody has taken offence.

During our time in the museum we watched a short film, about thirteen minutes, of Sir Ernest Shackleton, and viewed & read quite a lot of memorabilia.

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Ernest Shackleton – 1874 – 1922

The details of the man who rescued Shackleton’s men off Elephant Island in the middle of a southern winter was an eye opener for me.

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Captain Luis Antonio Pardo Villalón 1892 – 1935

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Tug Yelcho in 1913 –

Shackleton’s three-masted barquentine Endurance, had been crushed by the ice, and sank in October 1915, in the Weddell Sea.

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Endurance being crushed by the ice.

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The final pieces about to sink.

All the crew of 28 escaped, but then had to make their way by sledge and lifeboats to Elephant Island.

Shackleton and five of his crew in April 1916 (southern winter), made their epic journey of 800 miles (1300 km) in an open lifeboat to South Georgia, the life boat was named    James Caird .

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James Caird – actual photograph taken as they launched the boat for the rescue mission.

From South Georgia he made his way to Punta Arenas to organise the rescue of those  left behind on Elephant island.

With Luis Antonio Pardo Villalon in command, and Shackleton as a passenger, they sailed in August 1916 from Punta Arenas to Elephant Island to rescue the remaining 22 of Shackleton’s crew. The rescue was a great success in extreme conditions for such a small ship.

For his bravery and skill in rescuing the trapped men Captain Pardo Villalon was offered a considerable amount of money by the British government, but he refused to accept it and commented that he was just fulfilling a requirement for the Chilean navy.

After leaving the navy Luis Antonio Pardo Villalón was appointed consul in Liverpool (UK) from 1930 to 1934.

The highest point on Elephant Island was named after  Luis Antonio Pardo Villalón, and there is a Cape at the northern end of the island, which was named after his ship, the Yelcho.

The Yelcho was built in 1906 by the Scottish firm G. Brown and Co. of Greenock, on the River Clyde.

In 2016 Shackleton’s grand daughter, the Honorable Alexandra Shackleton flew to Punta Arenas to open the “Shackleton, 100 years” exhibition to honor the great explorer and Piloto Pardo.

The museum was a very interesting and well worth a visit if you are ever in Punta Arenas.

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Azamara Pursuit is alongside the wharf on the far side, and on this side are two other vessels (the red one & the orange vessels).
I think the red vessel is the RV Laurence M. Gould  (RV = Research vessel), from the United States’ National Science Foundation – she is an ice breaker.
The orange coloured vessel is the Almirante Maximiano and she is also a research vessel, Brazilian owned, but registered in the Cook Islands.

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As we made our way back to the ship you can see how fierce the wind was – the white caps are caused by the strong wind.
On reaching the land end of the wharf we were not allowed to walk to the ship (about 200 meters) because the authorities consider that that the wind strength made it too dangerous. They laid on a small bus to take us to the gangway, which was sheltered by our ship.

An interesting few hours, but must admit it was a pleasure to return to the comfort of the ship after being in heavy rain, and then being blown dry by the wind from the Antarctic. It was unfortunate that we missed seeing the replica of Magellan’s ship due to the bad weather, but for me the details of the Shackleton rescue and the museum in general made up for the poor weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: 1944april

Traveled a great deal - about 70 countries - first foreign country I suppose was Wales, which was only 80 miles away from where I was born. Visited each Continent, except Antarctica, and I doubt that it is on my bucket list - too cold. I love Asian food, Australian wine & British beer & trying to entertain by writing.

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