21st October 2015  by emmadurnford

21st October 2015

Hooray - a bright sunny day with the remains of the snow still visible on the surrounding hills. Our main reason for visiting El Calafate near the Los Glaciares National Park is to go into the park and visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. We joined a small tour with our guide Sebastian to head out that way first thing in the morning.

The journey was interesting and we learnt a lot of things about the terrain and glacial action. We saw Patagonian Parrots that can predict when snow is due and move to lower ground in advance of the blizzards letting local farmers know of the impending weather. We also saw more flamingos on the lake although nowhere near as bright pink as the Bolivian James flamingos.

However, everything faded into insignificance when we finally got our first view of the Perito Moreno Glacier. It is simply vast - 60 meters high at its face. It is one of the few glaciers in the world that it is perfectly balanced in that it is not retreating or progressing even though it moves by two meters a day. We started by viewing the South face and then took a boat trip out onto the lake for a closer look. Despite a rabble of people on the boat who are probably both the rudest and most physically pushy I have ever met, eventually we all had an opportunity to see the glacier. Our thermals, thick coats, hats and buffs are finally getting worn justifying being lugged through the last three countries we have visited.

In the afternoon we continued to the North face of the glacier. I’ll be honest, I thought what we saw in the morning WAS the glacier, I had not realised that it was so big that it has two sides. Our legs were now aching with the number of stairs up and down to various viewpoints over the glacier but the vistas were stunning. The compacted ice is the purest blue accentuated even more by the afternoon sun. As the sun fell onto the North face of the glacier in the afternoon there was a constant cracking and roaring as chunks of ice fell off into the lake. It was difficult to catch on camera as the sound carries much slower across the water so we heard more glacier ‘calvings’ than we actually saw. I think this must be my new hobby - glacier watching for calvings - somewhat limited opportunities to do this at home though! The chunks of ice falling are bigger than cars, sometimes as big as houses and they create small tidal waves across the lake which crash over the stone shore.

It was very difficult to choose my favorite photograph and I took over 270. I edited down to about 20 or so which I’ve posted on my FaceBook page and I think this is possibly my favorite... at the moment! We are back in the park again tomorrow for a 5-hour boat trip visiting other glaciers so expect more ice.


One last thing, the day we arrived we were followed by a very friendly dog which walked perfectly to heel and patiently waited for us outside shops in the snow. He was a lovely dog and I was quite worried about him and despite telling him to ‘go home’ in Spanish he still loyally followed us. When I asked some women about him they thought at first I was worried that he was dangerous but then understood and explained that most of the dogs in El Calafate are owned but they like to team up with people for a bit of attention and company whilst pottering around the town. I felt very relieved and tonight’s escort all the way back to our hotel was a distinctly foxy looking dog, equally well behaved and friendly.

(Best viewed on black if you have time and it really was this blue!!)
Sounds like an amazing journey.
October 23rd, 2015  
Stunning! What a journey you are on! I have been following you but not had time for comments. I must go back sometime and check it all out again. Your commentaries are so interesting! Fav!
October 23rd, 2015  
Wonderful, looks brilliant totally jealous. Now where can I find ice to photo, of course g & t!!
Be good hope Colin is well.
October 23rd, 2015  
A phenomenal capture Emma, and a fav of course! The blue is incredible. Thanks for taking the time to describe your travels in words also--I for one enjoy every word.
October 25th, 2015  
Just Wow!
October 25th, 2015  
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