It has been 4 weeks since our epic journey to South America and Antarctica ended and we have now settled back into the routine of everyday, suburban life. It took about two weeks after we disembarked the cruise ship, for the earth to stop rocking under … Continue reading Epilogue
One of the most majestic sights you could imagine is that of a mighty Andean Condor riding the strong thermal air currents through the Andes Mountains. With wing spans of up to 3.2 metres or nearly 10.5 feet it has the largest wing area of any flying bird on earth.
We were fortunate enough to witness this spectacle during our recent trip to Santiago, Chile.
Montana Nativa offer day trips into the Andes. They are mountaineers, not just tour guides and have inside knowledge of the native fauna and flora which made our experience far more engaging than we had expected.
We left the road and followed a dirt track across a farmers field, through paddocks of grazing cattle to a place where more than 27 Condor where continually landing and taking off. They were participating in a luncheon banquet and we were there to witness the spectacle.
We went on the excursion hoping to see a Condor or two and were rewarded by this amazing display.
After we departed the Banquet table we continued to one of the ski resorts. Uninhabited during the summer session, we discovered a group of Condor using the high roofs as launching pads to catch the strong thermal currents over the valley.
One group had a little Ménage à trois going on, or at least the male had high hopes of getting it on. I happened to catch it all on video and here it is (almost as it happened): Ménage à trois (turn on your speakers for this one)
Okay so maybe I edited it a bit….call it poetic licence.
I could wax lyrical and spout forth endless superlatives about our recent sojourn in Antarctica however, it would really be better to see it for yourself, but in the mean time I will titillate your travel taste buds with a few images and some timely tips.
1. It will be really cold; wear as many layers of clothing as you can, and if you are a female, always allow more time for potty stops. It takes forever to peel these layers off with frozen fingers in a tiny cubicle. (Do remember to remove your gloves first, it is virtually impossible to pull all those layers back up in the correct sequence with gloves on.)
2. Make sure your gloves don’t have any holes as I discovered a patch of frost bite on my pinky due to a few stitches coming unstuck on my outer pair of gloves. Yes, I was wearing two pair, though the inside pair were inadequately thin.
3. Smart phones do not work when wearing ordinary gloves, DO NOT REMOVE YOU GLOVES! If you do, your fingers will snap freeze like popsicles and may remain in your gloves next time you remove them. I have discovered, albeit too late for this trip, that you can buy touch screen compatible gloves. But, as I didn’t have any of these high-tech gloves, I discovered the next best thing; my nose! Although it was a bit awkward entering my password screen pattern, (my nose is slightly fatter than my already too fat fingers), I did manage to operate the camera.
4. Do not even think about trying to take a selfie using the above mentioned method, trust me, all you’ll get is an extreme close up of your left ear hole.
5. If you want to get used to the smell of a colony of Gentoo penguins before embarking on a trip to the Antarctic, buy 20 kilo of prawns, stick them in your freezer, unplug the freezer from the wall socket and wait about 3 weeks and then open the freezer.
Okay, so enough tips for now. Here are some more photos.
This was the biggest iceberg we saw, 600m long, 100m above the sea & 700m below.
Same iceberg, different angle & me well wrapped.
Penguins flying through the sea.
Hold your nose around these guys.
Snow slugs, AKA, seals.
Falkland Islands, King penguin colony (thankfully not as smelly as the Gentoos)
Technically not Antarctica but here are the photos anyway.
I’ll endeavour to blog again from Buenos Aires. Till then, hasta luego.