Each door of our Wicked campervan has a sticker warning of ‘Patagonian wind’, and when we picked the van up, the woman warned us of ‘Patagonian door’. The wind can be so strong that it bends car doors backwards, sometimes even right off! Yesterday we got our first taste of true Patagonian wind.
It’s incredible! At times Greg had trouble keeping the van on the right side of the road, the customs officer at the Chilean border warned us that the ferry from Tierra del Fuego to ‘the mainland’ was cancelled and a couple of times when we were out walking, it felt like the wind was going to pick us up. No one could tell us how long it would last, so we made our way slowly towards the ferry. Slowly because of the wind, and also because the service station near the Argentinian border post had run out of fuel. Sound familiar? This time we had a spare 10L in a jerry can, so it wasn’t quite so bad, but pouring it from the jerry can into the car’s fuel tank in gale force wind would be tricky, so if we could avoid doing that, we would. Er, I really should say …. Greg would. I’d just be standing watching, or supervising, or something.
There’s a colony of King Penguins on the western side of Tierra del Fuego, so we took a bit of a detour to have a look at them. Several dozen adults quite close to the viewing area, including one mother with a little baby on her feet, and a few penguins with bulges near their feet – smaller babies needing more warmth maybe?
We nearly got to the next servo without having to fill up, but didn’t quite make it. We’ve brought a couple of lightweight tarps with us, and some really strong magnets that we use to hang lights from the roof of the van, and to keep things in place. This was Greg’s idea: we anchored the tarp to the roof of the van, and to the ground with rocks and water containers. Funnel made out of a cut-off soft drink bottle, with a few skewers to keep the fuel tank valve open. I stood and held one end of the tarp closed while Greg poured the fuel. Not a drop was spilt!
By the time we reached the ferry at around 8pm, it was running again and the queue on our side didn’t seem too long. 2 ferries were working hard, bringing cars, trucks and buses to and from the island. We had to wait for a couple of ferries, then got across to the other side where the queue was enormous! Over 4kms long! We did some back-of-the-envelope sums and worked out that it would take until at least 4am to clear that lot, and more vehicles were arriving all the time.
We headed about 30kms west and free-camped on a beach. We have been using ioverlander.com for information about campsites and it’s an excellent resource – all the sites we’ve used that we’ve found via the site have been great.
Now we’re in Puerto Natales, and Greg organised a cabana cabin as it’s my birthday tomorrow. Bless hm, I’d go to the end of the world for him … or with him … or …. oh, wait, I just did!