Punta Arenas

Dog watching imperial cormorants
Dog watching imperial cormorants

Heavy overnight rain greeted the first day of March and continued as we took our bikes to the bus station for the 10:00 Bus Fernandez coach to Punta Arenas. It was full but the driver asked us only to lower my seat and turn my handlebars. We’d been told the bike fee was 5000 pesos and that the driver would ask for it, but he didn’t.

The journey was moderately interesting, passing estancias and birds, but would have been a slog on the bikes across the steppe. The weather improved with sunshine and few showers. We arrived soon after 13:00 and went straight to Hostel Keoken where we ate lunch and walked into the city to check the meeting place for Friday’s boat trip to see the penguins, which we’d booked in Puerto Natales. Then we walked down to the shore of the Straits of Magellan where thousands of imperial cormorants used decayed jetties as their base for fishing expeditions.

It started to rain again so we dashed to a nearby cafĂ© for coffee and some lovely cake, then called in on the supermercado. We cooked at the hostel and spoke to a Chilean who’d booked for tomorrow’s penguin tour and a Californian woman here for a nine day horse riding trek through the Torres del Paine National Park.

Day ride from Punta Arenas