Day 4 (October 23, 2019)   Glaciers National Park

Before   

  We plan to make the sailing tour around Lago Argentino between icebergs known as “Rivers of Ice Express”. The plan is to board from the harbor in Puerto Bandera and sail all around the Northern side of this lake observing the glaciers there, with Updala and Spegazzini standing out among them.

Los Glaciares National Park

   The spots marked at map are:

 0- El Calafate
 1- Harbor in Punta Bandera
 2- Glacier Upsala
 3- Glacier Spegazzini

After

   We’re picked up around 7:30 AM in a van that is already full and drives us to the quay after a 30 minutes ride. The first thing we do once there is paying in a stand 400$ each for the access to the National Park. Showing the ticket from yesterday is half price. After this, there is only one way to go: the one to the boat where we’re going to spend most part of the day. Inside, the seats are big and comfortable with a table in the middle and with big windows so we cannot miss the main protagonist for today: the landscape.
Our boat for todayInterior of the boat
   When it starts sailing is not long before we take our coats and go out for some pictures of this combination of mountains and milky water. It’s soon when the first icebergs appear coming down from this branch of Lago Argentino. The first stop is by a waterfall.

Dawn at Lago ArgentinoIcebergs in Lago ArgentinoWaterfall in Lago Argentino
   The agenda for today points we’re sailing directly to glacier Spegazzini. In the way landscapes are amazing and, as we’re getting closer, icebergs appear more often.
Icebergs in Lago Argentino
Icebergs in Lago Argentino
Icebergs in Lago Argentino
   The wall of this glacier is way shorter than the one for Perito Moreno we could see yesterday, but it’s steeper and above we can see how is feeding from three snow “rivers”, making a different and fantastic view. Besides, being steeper makes ice falls can be seen more frequently here.
Glacier SpegazziniGlacier Spegazzini
   The boat stops in front of the wall waiting for precisely one of these ice falls. Everybody is quiet looking at the wall. We can hear big cracks, but they’re always followed by just some few snow falling to the lake. Somehow, I’m lucky enough to record one of this snow falls followed by a big piece of ice.

Glacier Spegazzini

   We come back to our seats after such awesome experience, but just to get ready to go to land, as we’re going to have a walk. It is about the story of the wild cows that are living in this National Park. When the people that was living in the park without owning the place were forced to move, as lots of them had cows, some of them were just abandoned from the ones that couldn’t take them with them. These cows had descendants and made a wild living, generating a problem for the park since, in winter, they eat the shoots of the native trees and they’ve forced huemuls to move, a native deer that is in danger of extinction.

Disembarking for a walk
Los Glaciares National Park landscape
   We walk to the house of the guard who was gathering these cows to be taken away and come back to the boat by the beach.
Guard's old placeGuard's old place
   We keep in our seats looking through the window while the boat is sailing back to the main branch of the lake. We’re going to the top North of the lake, where the glacier Upsala is. It is the second biggest glacier of the park, just after Viedma.
Glacier Upsala
   We’re told we’re not going to go anywhere near the glacier, which looks marvelous from far, but we sail close to the icebergs coming from this glacier. These are bigger than the boat and make a landscape that feels like from another world.
Icebergs from Glacier UpsalaIcebergs from Glacier Upsala
   These huge blocks of ice are the cause we cannot go close to that massively long wall of glacier Upsala, since the ice falls are so big that makes dangerous for boats be nearby.

Icebergs from Glacier UpsalaIcebergs from Glacier UpsalaIcebergs from Glacier Upsala
   After this fantastic experience we’re back to our seats, this team is for everybody, since is lunch time. We’re served our pack with a sandwich of Patagonian lamb while we’re sailing back where we started this morning and go beyond to the South, to Perito Moreno. We’re served as dessert a mouse of berries and this Argentinian caramel is everywhere called “dulce de leche”.
Our boat
   We’re reaching Perito Moreno through the big fiord we could see yesterday from the platforms. The boat sails to the right side of the wall and goes slowly all along it. It looks it has been a big fall of ice in the place we were expecting it yesterday. Now the wall is quiet. We cannot hear a single crack.
Sailing by Perito Moreno's wall
Sailing by Perito Moreno's wall
Sailing by Perito Moreno's wall
   From here things go fast: we sail back to the jetty where we embarked this morning and we get in a van that deliver us by our hotel. We rest just for a few minutes because today is our last chance to go to Laguna Nimez. We leave to there around 7 PM.

Laguna Nímez
Birds at Laguna Nímez
   Once there we pay 500$ each for the admission ticket and walk around the lagoon paying attention to all the birds here. There are lots of different species. We could see the Flemings by the end of the walk, in a smaller lagoon called “Laguna Escondida”. A beautiful end for such a wonderful day.

Fleming at Laguna NímezFlemings at Laguna Nimez