Catamaran ride on Argentino Lake
Yesterday, at 6:30 a.m., three hours prior to the sunrise, and in 20 degree weather, we boarded a catamaran and sailed across Argentino Lake to visit a few glaciers, including the famous Perito Moreno.
We headed northwest towards Upsala Glacier, but didn’t get to see the actual glacier; its loss of ice created a barrier of icebergs that spanned the width of the north arm of the lake. These icebergs, ranging in size from that of a soccer ball to bigger than our 150-foot vessel, were pieces of the glacier that broke off.
Upsala Glacier is one of 47 glaciers that decend from the Andes mountain range in South America; it’s also the biggest.
These 47 glaciers make up Los Glaciares National Park, 13 of which are moving forward. Upsala Glacier is actually receding. This means the glacier loses more mass than it gains; sadly, the mass it loses was what blocked our route to see it – I witnessed the slow demise of a glacier.
After a half hour of bearing the arctic cold on the boat’s deck, we rushed inside the heated cabin to defrost as the catamaran headed towards the Spegazzini Canal to view the Spegazzini Glacier.
The Spegazzini Glacier is also receding and is considered the tallest of the bunch that form within the park.
There were barely any icebergs in the water near Spegazzini Glacier and this allowed us to really see the color of the lake. It’s a beautiful light green and it turns out that the lake gets this color due to the ice deposits from the glaciers.
Here’s another tid-bit of information: ever notice the amazing deep blue color some galciers or icebergs may have? (The picture below is an iceberg off the Upsala Glacier and is a great example.) The blue color is an optical illusion caused by the lack of oxygen in the compressed snow.
It was while we were awing at the Spegazzini Glacier that we heard thunder, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. While the thunder was still rumbling, we heard a splash and there, right in front of us, a piece of the glacier broke off and fell into the water. Truly, a stunning sight. The piece that fell off could have easily been half the size of the boat and the sound it created while breaking off and falling was echoed throughout the glacier wall and the mountains.
The grand finale of the day was a visit to the north side of Perito Moreno.
Perito Morneo’s size is compared to the size of Buenos Aires and although it’s not as big as Upsala Glacier or as tall as Spegazzini, Perito Moreno is famous because it’s one of the few glaciers that is still moving forward.
For more from Agustina Prigoshin, read her blog at www.agustinaprigoshin.com
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