15 October 2008 – day 13 - Wednesday

Today was our last full day on the Skorpios III. We've been boating through the Chilean Fjords, and today was possibly the most beautiful day of them all. Yesterday we saw lots of glaciers. We saw so many that I don't remember their names. The beautiful blue color was magical; it almost looked fake, as if some Hollywood stage designer ran down to the nearest Home Depot store, bought a bunch of blue styrofoam, and sculpted it with some big knife. They were beautiful.

The fjords were beautiful because the mountains stuck up like black teeth along the skyline. At the bases were thousands of pine trees, and scattered throughout, there were hundreds and hundreds of cascading waterfalls.

Many times there were bright blue rivers of ice; more glaciers.

There hasn't been much wildlife around here, and I don't know why. There were condors soaring overhead at times, and I saw my first dolphin today.

I expected there to be wildlife on the mountains, like goats or deer or anything, but wildlife has been very scarce.

There was a cold wind throughout most of the day, and occasionally a fine mist of rain would fall. Undaunted, a small group of us would move to whichever side of the ship was less windy, and watched for the best places to take photos. There was an upside to this because it produced some very beautiful rainbows. In one place, the rainbow reached all the way around in a full semicircle.

At one glacier, we disembarked the Skorpios and took the smaller boats in to visit a glacier. A lot of the glaciers were butted up to a river, so there was no way to disembark. Even if we could have, huge chunks of ice constantly broke off with a thunderous boom and crashed into the water below. That made the glaciers hard to approach.

At the place we disembarked, we were able to walk along a path through small trees and over a small man-made land-bridge up to the glacier. We were asked not to touch it, but we took lots of photos.

There are some people on the ship from Spain, and some from Chile. One of these women did something really stupid. She climbed into a hole underneath the ice. We tried to warn her that she should not be there, but she didn't listen, or maybe didn't understand. Our guide, Nelson, yelled at her to get out. Finally, after photos were taken, she did. But really: think about it. For the past four days, this stupid woman has been watching the front of glaciers—tons of ice—literally break off and collapse in front of our eyes. What in the world made her think it was safe to climb underneath one? I think she wins the “Darwin Award” for the trip, i.e. her stupidity should probably have killed her so that her “stupid gene” was taken out of the gene pool. She got lucky this time.

After the glacier the Skorpios started moving away from the glaciers. There were still glaciers, but they were less common. The mountains became more green and beautiful, and the multitude of waterfalls took on an almost magical quality, like we were in some kind of fairytale land. It was beautiful. If the skies had been blue rather than gray, it would have been better. Eventually, there were some breaks in the clouds and we all rushed to get our cameras ready for any photo that showed blue skies!

In the afternoon, they gave us a tour of the ship's kitchen, which was interesting.

So today the Skorpios III took us through the fjords and back to Puerto Natales.

Tonight was the captain's dinner, a full spread with lots of seafood, and of course, an ice sculpture.

We had our photos taken with the captain and his wife, Mimi, who ran the kitchen.

After dinner, Kathy

and I went outside to see the full moon overhead. We tried several times to get a good photo of it and the wispy clouds that obscured it.

Tomorrow we disembark and get a three-hour bus ride back to Punta Arenas, where we catch an airplane back to Santiago.

I must say we've all been impressed with the Skorpios III. Everybody on board goes above and beyond the call of duty to make this the best boat experience possible. They were friendly, courteous and helpful. They were constantly handing you drinks at the open (“all inclusive”) bars, making coffee, serving us food, and cleaning things. They also let us watch from the captain's bridge and the engine room. They even gave us tours of the kitchen where they cooked all the top-notch food. And they always smiled. They treated us like kings and queens. I've never felt so pampered in my life. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone who comes to Chile.