Patagonia

ken_vandeburgt

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Puerto Madryn is located at the west end of Golfo Nuevo S42 46' W65 3'.
Getting there might not be worth the trouble however logistics might dictate.

Puerto Madryn is a tourist destination for wildlife viewing. There are all manner of marine life including orcas on Peninsula Valdes. There is a major Penguin colony to the south.

Grocery stores, banking services, bus transportation, accomodations at all levels. Campground at South end of town.

Impression of the area is that fresh water will be a problem on this section of the coast. The town was abandoned by the first settlers from Wales because there was no reliable source of water.

Prevailing winds blow from the west.


View from South Puerto Madryn


The dock is near the downtown center.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Playa Union is a beach resort located near Rawson. There is a port facility at the south end of the beach. S43 20 30 W65 03 10

There are regular bus connections to Rawson and Trelew.

Rawson and Trelew have grocery stores and accomodations. Trelew is the transportation hub including bus station and airport.

When I visited Playa Union is was late fall (end March) and it was pretty much a ghost town.

A major problem on this section of coast would be fresh water. Prevailing winds were from the west.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Punta Delgada is at the narrowest point on the straits of Magellan.

Nothing here except a lighthouse and a ferry terminal. There are several abandoned attempts to operate a restaurant.

An endurance race started here with the intention of kayaking across before running south across Tierra del Fuego. The kayak leg got cancelled due to 100km winds.
http://www.patagonianexpeditionrace.com/

The crossing is 4.5 kilometers.

This place might be a bit tricky from a customs viewpoint. The lands at the entrance and length of the Straits of Magellan are a Chilean possession. Coastline North and South of the entrance to the straits belong to Argentina. The border crossings are on the road several kilometers from the shore...


Punta Delgada S52 27 24 W69 32 46
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Ushuaia Argentina is a large town on the South side of the island of Tierra del Fuego.

Its a tourist destination and jump off point for cruise ships headed for Antarctica.

So prices are a bit higher. There are good grocery stores and outdoor equipment stores.
Accommodation at all levels. There is frequent bus service though it is hard to get a seat in tourist season. The airport features flights to Buenoes Aires daily. Its an interesting place to visit.

Probably the best place to land or launch a kayak would be near the yacht club. S54 48 50 W68 18 34. There is a good beach suitable for landing on.



Its located across from the Cruise Ship Dock. The cruise ship photo was not taken from the vicinity of the yacht club.



Weather is quite variable. Snow was encountered in summer (January & February) on two separate visits in different years. Prevailing wind was from the west.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Puerto Williams S54 55 59 W67 36 05 is a village located on Isla Navarino. There is no settlement located further south. The coordinates are for the pier shown in the photo.

Supplies for a hiking or kayaking trip can be purchased but selection is quite limited. There is hostel accomodation. The village has an ATM machine ($CHP) and a post office.

There is a once a week ferry to Punta Arenas. Its a recommended adventure in its own right. http://www.tabsa.cl/Eng/Html/PuertoWilliams.php

The airport has two or three flights to Punta Arenas per week.

The shuttle zodiac from Ushuaia does not run regularly and is very expensive. It goes to Puerto Navarino and a van connects to Puerto Williams. The lack of a good connection is a product of years of distrust between Chile and Argentina.


A view of the harbour


A view of Beagle Channel from above Puerto Williams


Puerto Williams from the sea
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Yendegaia S54 52 00 W68 31 47 is a border post on the Chilean side of the border near Ushuaia.

There is nothing here but a ferry terminal and a border checkpoint.

The kayaks on the beach are part of the Wenger race.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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A fine summery day in the Magellanes.

From the deck of Bahia Azul. The 36 hour ferry trip involved running outside to view the magnificent scenery and, when the weather got too miserable, running inside till I was warmed up enough to go out again.

According to the crew, the weather was normal summer weather.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Punta Arenas is a large town that is a transportation hub for the region.
Daily flights to Santiago, buses, cruise ship terminal, ferry terminal for the Magellanes.
Full range of services available. There are outdoor stores hoping to cash in on travellers bound for Torres del Paine but selection is limited.

Photo is of a landmark S53 09 50 W70 53 47 visible from the sea. The landmark is close to the downtown core where there are services of interest to a paddler.


This is the beach near the reference point:


This is the landmark as seen from the sea:
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Puerto Natales is a town that is the marshalling point for hikers going to Torres del Paine.
As such there is a wide range of accomodations and services including banking. The grocery stores are small; you will need to visit all of them to put together supplies for a trip. The outdoor stores and hardware stores carry good outdoor gear.

Winds are quite variable and can blow hard.

This town is located quite some distance from the ocean and is connected by a series of fiords.

The beach at the foot of the main street Manuel Bulnes S51 43 44 W72 30 51


This building would be visible from the sea. Its located about a hundred yards North from the suggested landing spot.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Caleta Tortel is a village located on the sea at the end of a gravel road some four hours from Cochrane and at least two days from Coyhaique by road. There is a regional bus several times per week that connects to Cochrane and once or twice per week to Villa O'Higgins.

The village is unique in that it is connected throughout by a series of wooden board walks. Vehicles are parked at the edge of the village.

Tortel has some small stores for a very limited selection, restaurants, and hospedaje style accomodations. No banking services available; the closest ATM is in Cochrane. Credit cards not widely accepted.

The coordinates are for a potential landing and campsite S47 48 21 W73 32 42.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Puyuhuapi 44 19 33 72 33 29 is a village several hours North of Coyhaique.

I don't have much to impart as my bus stopped here for about a half hour.

My impression is that there are not many services here. Hospedaje accomodation and small stores with very limited selection.

There is a regional bus service that runs almost daily connecting to Coyhaique to the South and a myriad of villages to the North.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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A point about glaciers.

I took a tour on the boat Heilo Sur on Lago O'Higgins to the face of Glaciar O'Higgins. I had to take the boat to get from Chalten to Villa O'Higgins.

We spent quite some time watching pieces of glacier fall into the lake Oooh and Aaah.
The festive atmosphere was fueled by whiskey cooled in ice pulled up from the lake.

The boat turned away from the ice and accelerated. I don't know if it was coincidental or if the pilot had gotten a warning from his depth finder. Suddenly the water began to boil as ice calved and rose from the depths along the entire two kilometer wide face of the glacier. Certainly if he had not moved when he did the boat would have been capsized.

A kayak wouldn't have stood a chance.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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Finishing notes.

It is possible to find people who speak english in the more popular tourist areas. In remote areas the only language spoken is Castellano, one of the more important Spanish languages. You would need sufficient to read grocery labels and to ask directions to the supermarket, bank, and tourist information offices.

Some items like peanut butter are hard to find.

You're best off with a multi fuel stove that can burn liquid pressurized gas (LPG). The canisters are widely available.

White gas is hard to find. It is purchased as 'Gasolina Blanca' in Chile and 'Solvente Industriale' in Argentina. The quality varies as its main use is paint thinner and dry cleaning.

I travelled in Patagonia from Jan - March 2010 with the purpose of hiking. The photos and information are from that trip. I also briefly stopped in Rio Gallegos and Viedma but did not get to the shore. Viedma is rather far upstream on the Rio Negro which may or may not be navigable at the entrance.

I visited Puerto Montt, Castro, and Rio Grande on a previous trip five years ago. I don't have pictures and things are changing all the time. All three places have beaches that provide easy access and have a full range of facilities.

I was in the vicinity of Cochrane Chile during the 2010 earthquake. The area was not directly affected. However, there were indirect effects. All air transportation goes to Santiago. All goods are made or are distributed through Santiago.

By the time I got to Coyhaique grocery store shelves were beginning to empty. It was not possible to send a package by mail because Santiago airport was closed. The 'news' was full of images of destruction and absolutely no useful information about whether roads or port facilities were operating. Buses were full with people trying to get home to find out if they still had one after flights were cancelled.

In 1964 there was a major volcano that erupted about 24 hours after a similar large quake.

I decided to go to Argentina where the earthquake was felt but no disruption was evident. It took me three days to get there, though that was mainly because transportation links are poor at the best of times.

Argentina is vulnerable in the same way should Buenoes Aires suffer a disaster.
 

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ken_vandeburgt

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View is Rio Plate upstream. Taken from across the street at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) in Buenoes Aires. Not suitable for a kayak launch, at least at the tides I was viewing. AEP is the hub for all Argentina domestic flights.
 

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