Patagonia

Dec 18, 2017 | Cultures | 0 comments

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.

Mahatma Gandhi

A thunderous sound called attention to the cabin window. The unexpected view was so astonishing it was hard to contain myself. Struggling to open the window, I witnessed huge, fractured pieces of ice crashing down from the glacier’s ice walls. Colliding with the water, the gigantic iceberg cracked, becoming unrecognizable. Floating ice islands hit the ship like a slow-motion tidal wave. The water, emerged with a jump, spraying me.

Frozen fingers reached for a camera. Fierce and unrelenting wind from my open window tangled my long hair. The glacier rumbled again. I was silenced by my insignificance in the vast immensity of this place.

I barely paid attention to the phone’s ringing, still captivated by the wild beauty of this place called the end of the world. “Buenos Dias, es el medio pasado siete.” The 7:30am wakeup call from my steward reminded me that I had one hour to prepare for disembarkation. In the distance, three dolphins crossed the wake of the ship, plunging over and under the icy ripples.

Across the channel, where life concealed itself, the natural habitats would allow us to travel, at least in our imagination, to the origins of time. Spaniards, when they arrived in the late 1500s named this magical realm, ruled by ice and snow, Patagonia (Land of the Big-Footed). They saw what they thought were the huge footprints of the Tehuelche Indians. It was later discovered that the prints were exaggerated because of the fur wrapped around the feet. Mesmerized, I took a deep breath of some of the purest air on earth.

Two decks below the passenger cabins, a string of chefs along with a cavalry of waiters eager to please pointed to tables of glorious food including an endless variety of Chile’s fresh fruits. My smile broadened as I realized this was only the beginning of a glorious love affair with nature, unbelievable food, and a ship staffed with friendly, caring crew members.

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Jackie Chase

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