Sailing in the Path of Magellan

Day 34, Grand World Voyage 2020

Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020; Punta Arenas, Chile

Avoiding cold weather in the winter has one disadvantage, as I discovered today in far southern Chile. I have absolutely no need for the beautiful woolen scarves, hats and clothing that abounds here.

Punta Arenas sits on the Strait of Magellan, a waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We considered taking a shore excursion to see penguins up close, because we had missed a similar tour in the Falkland Islands. But instead we explored the city center on our own after taking the complementary shuttle from the container port where the Amsterdam docked.

Unlike Ushuaia, with its steep hills rising straight from the harbor, Punta Arenas sits on a relatively flat plain. The streets are lined with beautiful buildings and the occasional Chilean flag, which always catches my eye because it is like that of Texas.

Small booths in a craft market a few blocks away offer locals the opportunity to sell their woolens, silver jewelry and other crafts. We watched many of them work behind their counters, but didn’t make any purchases. There’s not much I need, and having downsized to a guest room in my sister’s house, there is little room for mementos. I usually limit myself to buying a few sets of earrings while traveling these days.

We did drop a few Chilean pesos on some of the best hot chocolate we’ve ever had, in a small café called Chocolatta (of course).

Back on the ship by mid afternoon, we took advantage of the long port stay (until 8 p.m.) to use another Skyroam day-pass, connecting to fast WiFi over the local cellular network. It was a good time to update apps and do a little research on upcoming ports. The ship’s Internet sometimes is so slow that we just give up. Being in areas with little satellite coverage doesn’t help.