I guess it was just the way it sounded. That’s what it was that drew me to first use my cursor on google maps, to go south, south of the South American continent.
It was not however till I touched the hair of the Patagonia, in Bariloche, Argentina that I decided that I should try and go where my cursor had taken me on the screen.
Here as I write from the South Chilean Fjords, on board the Stella Australis cruise ship sailing at a latitude of 54.5 Deg South, all I know is, I would be associated with this region, for some time to come.
The best of South America and Antarctica, is how I describe Patagonia on my web page. It is only after coming here again do I think it is just different, and I might just instead use, ‘A Different Continent’, to describe how Patagonia really feels.
Patagonia is just a geographical region, and even though it is a combination of Chile and Argentina, the 1.2 million people that call it home in the two countries, feel more Patagonian, than they feel individual about the countries they live in. Other than when they play football with each other, perhaps, Patagonia is what unites them. They say here in the south, after 40 deg, there is no law and below 50 there is no God.
Patagonia is very different in its appearance in Argentina and in Chile. Argentina has huge expanses of Steppes which as it further goes south gets the appearance of a desert. Chile on the other hand with very less land distribution in comparison to its neighbor gets all the rain and humidity from the Pacific Ocean. The Andes simply don’t let the clouds pass over to Argentina.
On our trip to Patagonia, the days on the cruise are the highlight and they are planned to come in at the end. The 4 nights on the Stella Australis in the Southern Fjords of Chile displays the wild nature of Patagonia at its best, or sometimes even the worst. The Andes, the land mass of Patagonia is as important as its waters. The rivers, the lakes and then the Oceans. The Pacific and the Atlantic way apart in the north Patagonia come together as one great mass of water at the Drake Passage, some say the most dangerous sea in the world to cross. But before the Drake passage there is one small land mass, that is known as Cape Horn. This, is the last piece of land looking towards the Antarctic land and if you sail for 2 nights and 3 days from here, the Antarctic Peninsula will be arms length. This time around our ship our vessel was not allowed by the winds to dock reach the land by the Zodiacs. So, we simply circum-navigated the cape and somewhere between taking the pictures, saying ‘smile’ and feeling really cold, I thought about the sailors that must’ve sailed this sea in their simple vessels. In the night the documentary being shown was about the fighting spirit of the animals and humans alike to survive Patagonia and make this land their home.
From its tiny cities to its vast empty lands, Patagonia is not only the best of South America and Antarctica but it is simply Patagonia.