Tag Archives: chile

Worldwide Swimming – Pt 1.

Recent extreme water-sports up in (surprisingly) sunny Greenland got me thinking. Maybe I could try and reach into the recesses of my memory to come up with accounts of my most unusual, interesting and enjoyable swims I’ve had around the world – a ‘Top World-Swims’, if you like. For swimming – or mere bathing, or just plain getting into bodies of water besides those in a hotel room bathtub – I’ve done rather a lot of, in all sorts of far-flung weird-and-wonderful locations…

Taking dips: it’s an interesting topic – especially now during the summer season of R&R, beaching & resorting, and the attendant water-based activities is upon us. For maybe some of you are near pools, lakes, seas or oceans right now and may be in danger of missing the very best spots – as attested to by Yours Truly. So, without more of a do, let’s get these aquatics started.

All righty. The plan here is as follows: I’ll be telling you only about swimming/bathing in natural water bodies. Mega swimming pools, aqua parks, spas and so on won’t be included. Here it’s all about the most unusual organic bathing experiences. I’ll work across the globe from left to right, top to bottom: Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia. I’ll be missing out Antarctica as I didn’t manage to get any bathing in down there, if you can believe it :).

Oh, and btw: If anyone can see any glaring gaps to my global natural-aqua-must-swims, please don’t be shy; let us all know about them in the comments. I for one would be most grateful…

Ok. Let’s go. North America…

I’ve been to Alaska, but much like on Antarctica, I had things other than bathing on my mind. Therefore, I’ll jump straight over to Greenland, which is still technically North America…

1. Bobbing up and down among chunks of Greenlandic ice.

To swim bathe float in a Michelin-Man costume in among big chunks of floating ice and icebergs, to touch them, or even clamber up onto them, is an unforgettable experience. There’s nothing to fear: those brightly colored costumes are dry and comfortable. Only your hands get to feel the water – but even then only a bit: just a little water gets inside the mitts.

Read on: glaciers, caves and dolphins …

The Santiago–Sydney Antarctic ‘Smile’: QF28

Hola amigos!

Not long ago I flew one of the most unusual commercial air routes I’ve ever taken.

It was the Santiago–Sydney-route on Qantas QF28 in a Boeing 747. The route forms a smile shape as it curves downwards and flies past… Antarctica! It felt a bit eerie flying – for 14 hours! – over a part of the world where there happens to be absolutely nothing at all! No islands, no ships, no folks, no hamburger stands… the very definition of ‘godforsaken’! Even submarines don’t bother with these remote southern reaches. Curiously, there’s one thing that features relatively prominently here: deceased satellites! They have them fall out of orbit and give them a marine burial here, well out of the way so they do no harm to Homo sapiens.

Santiago–Sydney_1

Santiago–Sydney_2

“Cheese!”

Read on: Antarctica!!…

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Smoky Santiago.

Santiago (the capital of Chile) is situated in a valley between two mountain ranges. The bigger of the two is called the Andes. The other… I never did get round to finding out its name. Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that, by and large, the wind here tends to blow across these ridges – i.e., not down the valley – leaving the valley, and Santiago, thoroughly ventilation-less. This means there’s nothing to shift the thick smog that hangs over the valley. It looks, to be honest, disturbing. Imagine breathing that in all day and night, year after year. Yikes!

smoky_santiago_1
smoky_santiago_2

Read on: Quite a big city…

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Patagonia: Pata-utopia.

Jules Verne, fat adventure novels, In Search of the Castaways, Paganel and Patagonia

Such childhood reminiscences are indelibly etched somewhere in the deeper recesses of my memory. I always conjured up images of mysterious countries in far-flung corners of the world, all exotic and unusual… but always beautiful.

Turns out those images were pretty accurate. For four decades later I found myself in Patagonia on a hiking trip, and if I was only allowed one word to describe the place, it would not be difficult choosing it: beautiful.

We wound up there after having a few free days left over after our visit to Brasília. And since that visit was a culmination of non-stop mental effort and oratory exertion, the timing was just right for some serious back-to-nature getting-away-from-it-all with lashings of fresh mountain air.

Of course, the whole of Patagonia can’t be checked out in just a few days as it covers such a massive territory. Still, we did manage to experience one of the most precious jewels in the Patagonian crown – the Torres del Paine National Park.

Torres del Paine National Park

Read on: 120 km in 5 days…

Not p-p-p-picking up penguins in Porvenir.

Tierra del Fuego, Chile. I’d always known it to be a mystically mysterious place if ever there was one, after having images of it seared into my brain as a child from being absorbed in the travel thrillers of Jules Verne and the like. Fast-forward three or four decades, and here I am – almost – in the Land of Fire itself. (Where the ‘Fire’ quite comes from I’ve yet to fathom, as there’s nothing hot about this place.) Actually, we’re just across the Strait of Magellan from it – in Punta Arenas, from where the fiery archipelago can be viewed with the naked eye! Once observed from over the water, that was it – we just had to get over there and check it out, if only to cure our curiosity…

Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Read on: Hallucinogenic landscapes. Unusual. Unreal…

Punta Arenas nostálgico.

Greetings all!

Punta Arenas – Sandy Point in English – is right at the very bottom end of Chile. It’s on a bank of the Strait of Magellan, across from the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. In other words, quite literally, the middle of nowhere. Unless, one day, you might fancy flying down to Antarctica… then it’d be where you’d want to be in the middle of, as flights down there leave from here. Actually, you’d need to be a little to the south of Punta Arenas, not in the middle of it, but that wouldn’t have given me the pseudo-witty play on words.

Punta Arenas, Chile

Read on: This was not my first time in Punta Arenas…