Royal Princess continued heading south and then
south-east entering the Strait of Magellan.
In 1520 Magellan's ships were blown through the strait
by gales and thus gave the strait its name. He was so relieved to reach
the calmer sea to the west and gave it the name we use today - Pacific
Ocean. Unfortunately, he was later killed in Philippines in 1521 and never
made it back to Spain.
Punta Arenas lies atop rolling hills, looking out over the Strait of Magellan. In the days before the Panama
Canal (1850-1914), this was a major port and supply station for ships rounding Cape
Horn or sail through the strait. Punta Arenas remains a prosperous town today, thanks to
the discovery of oil in the 1940's. The city is also the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, that maze of fjords, rivers,
grass land, and mountains to the north. To the south lies the great frozen mass of Antarctica.
La Cruz Hill From the waterfront we drove into town en route to
La Cruz Hill. From here you can see that the city sprawls up a gentle slope from
Plaza Munoz Gamero Punta Arenas’ central
plaza features the Hernando de Magallanes monument and street vendors. The
plaza, lined with trees and flowers, is dominated by a bronze statue of Magellan
perched on a cannon. Below him are a mermaid and a pair of reclining
Indians. Local legend holds that if you rub the big toe of one the Indians
you will one day return her.
Regional Museum The museum features a collection devoted to native flora and fauna, as
well as cultural artifacts from regional Indian tribes. Although no
picture taking was allowed, I sneaked a particularly interesting map which shows
the migration of people from Asia to Patagonia. I also took pictures of an
interesting house across the street.
Pioneer Cemetery This cemetery is
surprisingly beautiful with cypress–lined lanes and elaborate
mausoleums. We were told that the cypress naturally grew to this unique
Patagonia Institute This outdoor museum
exhibits pioneer antique cars and farming machines.
Penguin Reserve We walk a long way under
the freezing gust along an exposed, uneven boardwalk to the penguin burrows.
From viewing areas we observe small groups of penguins along the shore and near
their burrows. There are frequent boardwalk bridges to allow penguins
passing underneath to reach the sea.
The following are some other collected pictures.
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