Tuesday, November 24, 2009
South America Day 6: A Dad's Eye View of Puerto Montt
Although I got my nonrefundable tour price refunded due to my quarantine, Dad didn't. He went forth bravely on the tour alone, and took lots of photos for me.
Puerto Montt is a long way south of Valparaiso; we must have been really booking yesterday. The view from the ship showed a pretty, green shore, but there were ominous clouds in the sky.
There are no port facilities large enough for the Norwegian Sun to dock, so Dad and I watched from our balcony while they lowered the lifeboats to use as tenders. This is kind of practical when you think about it; they might as well get some use out of the things even when there isn't an emergency, and when they get used frequently you know they are in good working order. I like efficiency!
When he got to shore, Dad quickly boarded his bus, but due to technical difficulties with the bus microphone he ended up just waiting around for a long time. When they finally got going, the ominous clouds were becoming even more threatening,
and by the time they arrived at the Osorno Volcano, its Fuji-like peak was lost in the clouds.
(By the way, the Chileans maintain that Mount Fuji looks like Osorno, not the other way around.) It was still pretty to look at, though.
The bus then headed around the lake toward the volcano itself. They stopped at the highly picturesque Petrohue Falls. Here is the view just upstream of the falls area:
The water is a truly gorgeous blue - is this because it's glacial snowmelt? The river doesn't look that impressive though... until you realize that the tiny fleck of orange toward the middle is a boat with two or three people in it. I'm either impressed or distressed by the intrepidity of those people in the little boat; this is what they are heading towards:
That's a lot of white water! The top photo, with Osorno in the background, is my favorite though.
The next stop was to be the caldera of the volcano right next to Osorno, a peak over 8000 feet high. Unfortunately, about that time Mother Nature made good on her earlier threats
and cut loose with the rain. The illegible sign marks the 7000-foot altitude, approximately, but at that point the guide asked if they really wanted to see a volcano in the rain, or just head off to the restaurant. Zeal for adventure was not present on this bus: most everybody wimped out and voted for food.
After a pleasant meal, they returned to the waterside back in Puerto Montt. While waiting for the tender, Dad saw the first piece of evidence that he was in llama country:
A local entrepreneur had decked his llama out in a little red hat and for a thousand pesos or so he would take your picture with it. Dad didn't really want to be photographed with it all that much, but he knew I would appreciate it!