Saturday, January 31, 2009


Our final port of call during this two-week South American cruise is Puerto Montt, Chile in northern Patagonia ... population 150,000 in the lakes region, surrounded by the Andes Mountains, water falls and forests. It's an awesome aggregate of mother nature's most scenic architecture (see photos). But it is also a breeding ground for volcanoes and intense seismic quakes from the "Ring of Fire" -- in fact, the largest earthquake ever recorded (9.5) occurred here in 1960, with a force of 100 billion tons of TNT. The resulting tsunami drove waves at over 200 mph into Japan 10,000 miles away, and devastated Hilo Hawaii. Puerto Montt was settled in the 1800's by rugged pioneers from Europe, especially German immigrants looking for a better life. Today their ancestors live within the shadow of snow-capped volcano Osorno, where we made photos between openings in the dense clouds, and enjoyed a Chilean meal at a local resort -- Pisco Sours and wine, chicken salad, salmon, and crispy empenada's. Yummi. Another day at sea, then Santiago and the long ride home again.

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