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December 12 – Punta Arenas, Chile

December 12 – Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Arenas has grown impressively since our first visit about 10 years ago – it has expanded into a substantial community, and I am curious as to why?  There is no industry that is apparent, so it must be almost entirely based on Antarctic tourism.

We tendered into the dock.  As soon as we stepped off the tender, we noticed the ship tied up across from us – The Viking Polaris.  A few days ago this ship encountered a rogue wave somewhere north of Antarctica which hit the ship so hard it knocked out some glass, which hit a passenger – unfortunately she did not survive.  Apparently there were two waves – one 40 feet high and one 70 feet high.  I understand these waves are caused by a coalescing of waves, often within a storm.

Here is the Polaris under repair.

We exited the dock and caught an Uber to Nao Victoria – which is advertised as an ancient ship museum.

The museum features 1 to 1 replicas of the primary ship of Magellan and the HMS Beagle which was the ship that Charles Darwin did his exploring of the World, and specifically the Galapagos – which are in this area.

Sally aboard Magellan’s ship – this ship is very small and it is difficult to imagine how it contained 40 to 50 men for a long voyage.  Punta Arenas lies on the Strait of Magellan, named for the man who discovered this shortcut from Atlantic to Pacific which avoided the treacherous waters around Cape Horn.

The HMS Beagle was a British warship which, on its second voyage, carried Charles Darwin for his studies of biology.

While the Beagle was almost 300 years newer than Nao Victoria, it was still basically the same technology, but it had a lot more room – Darwin even had his own cabin.

We next Ubered to the local mall – an addition since we were last here.  Believe it or not, there was a huge WalMart – here at the end of the earth.

A snack at the mall – another adventure in ordering in a spanish food court.

Leaving the mall, we Ubered to the cemetery, which not only was listed an attraction in Punta Arenas, but had an admission fee.  The museum is named for Sara Braun, a prominent business person in this area who was born in Latvia, immigrated with her family to Chile, married a business man and upon his death built a prosperous business which was the largest employer in the area.


Zaga and John stroll the cemetery – most of the families have Serbian, Croatian, and Spanish surnames.


These are all family plots – with many family members interred in the same crypt.

The cemetery was so large, Dan achieved his “step goal” for the day by walking the perimeter.

No need for an Uber, we walked toward the center of town and found Dino’s pizza for lunch – delicious!

On the way back to the ship we passed Sara Braun’s mansion which is now a museum.

The graffiti in South America seems more artistic, and less “gang oriented” than ours in the US.

Back on board and headed for Ushuaia, Argentina tomorrow.


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