220km from El Chalten to Calafate, first 90km super fast with tailwind, but the stretch to the northern shore of Lago Argentino was quite a tour de force against the wind. Today just 60km to Calafate and tomorrow probably by bus to Perito Moreno glacier.
El Calafate is a city in Santa Cruz, Argentina. It is a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and Glacier Perito Moreno. Named after the delicious Calafate berry, the city is located on the south shore of Lago Argentino, which is fed by water from Lago Viedma via Río La Leona.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. It is one of the most important tourist attractions in the region and is fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It is 30 km long and 250 km2 in size and was named after explorer Francisco Moreno.
Despite most glaciers retreating, Perito Moreno remains in equilibrium due to its mass accumulation rate similar to its loss. It is 5 km wide and has an average height of 74 m above the surface of Argentino Lake.
The glacier was first sighted by British Chilean Navy captain Juan Tomás Rogers who named it Francisco Gormaz. Later, Rudolph Hauthal of the Argentine Boundary Commission renamed it Bismarck in honor of Prussian Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. In 1899, Lieutenant Iglesias of the Argentine Hydrographic Institute finally named the glacier Perito Moreno in homage to explorer Francisco Moreno.
Long day with more then 160km from Calafate to Esperanza. Wind was from behind most of the time. Staying in the garden of the local police station and using WLAN at a nearby gas station. Met cyclists again that I knew from Villa O'Higgins.
Got on the bike at 5.30am and made it to an AGVP gas station 80km west from Esperanza at 10, then the wind turned to storm and there was no way to continue the ride even with a Belgian tourniquet for windshade. Had already a problem with my tire: first I thought that is a bent rim, but looking at it close: my Schwalbe Marathon Supreme had a problem with its side wall. Changed that tire to the front and gave it low pressure. Tomorrow we start at 4am for the next fight. Staying overnight in the backyard protected from the stormy weather.
I already saw it coming yesterday: my tyre will break apart on the side. With a wobbly front tyre at 4 am in a group of five doing the Belgian tourniquet to get everyone in the windshade. After the turn to the west on bad ripio I had another puncture and pushed my bike over the border controls. Short breakfast in Cerro Castillo and pushing against the wind for another 17km (35km pushbike today) to a bus station close to a lake.
Another day of pushing bike - today marathon distance of 42km to Puerto Natales. Early rise and I was in town shortly after 2pm. Sunday, a few places with bike stuff had open but not the right size of tyre were available. The most promising one opens tomorrow Monday at 10am. Heavy wind especially along the coast here in Puerto Natales. Small campsite in a backyard, only the third one I was visiting had a space free.
Got a new tyre today at 10 am, had all my tools with me to mount it in front of the shop and made a little bit of sightseeing in Puerto Natales to test the new one a bit. I will be doing Torres del Paine Parque during the next few days clockwise.
Puerto Natales is a city in Chilean Patagonia and is the capital of both the commune of Natales and the province of Última Esperanza. It is the final passenger port of call for the Navimag ferry sailing from Puerto Montt, and is the primary transit point for travellers to Torres del Paine National Park. It was originally inhabited by the Kawésqar and Aoniken people, and was first visited by Europeans in 1557. It was formally founded in 1911 by immigrants, primarily Germans, British, Croats, Greeks, Italians and Spaniards. Its main industries are tourism, cattle and aquaculture, while there is some small-scale local horticulture production (zucchini, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cucumbers and carrots).
Robert FitzRoy and his crew from the British expedition of HMS Beagle also explored the area in 1830 and their names are remembered in place-names. In 1870, Santiago Zamora, known as 'Baqueano' Zamora, discovered the lakes of Torres del Paine and wild horses. Lady Florence Dixie wrote about her first tourist expedition to Torres del Paine in her book Across Patagonia.
During the last half of the 20th century, many people from Puerto Natales began to work in the coal mines of Río Turbio in Argentina. The Cold-Storage Plant at Puerto Bories, about 4km NW of Puerto Natales, was constructed and inaugurated in 1913 and was in production until 1993. In 2010, a restoration project was started on the complex in order to transform it into a luxury hotel called The Singular Patagonia.