On our last full day in Rio Gallegos Chris, Leny, and I took a flight up to the El Calafate mountains which is also part of the Andes. The mountain range which is named Fitzroy is supposed to be the most impressive, with huge blue glaciers. Apparently there is a time every so many years that the glacier forms a type of bridge across the valley and when it eventually thaws and breaks the noise is spectacular. Tourists from all over the world come to witness this event and last time this was predicted to happen many waited for months to see and hear it break. In going around the mountains on this flight we were told by air traffic to maintain 6,000 feet which we thought would be way too high to get any decent pictures. But as we turned the corner looking for Fitzroy there was no mistaking which one it was. 11,000 feet high with the most incredible glacier road swirling down the mountain there it stood. “Look at THAT” Leny sighed and in deed, all three of us were mesmerized and could not stop LOOKING AT THAT!! We circled around and zig zagged along the edge of the mountain getting as close as we could without violating air space. We unfortunately was unable to see the mountain top because it was obscured by cloud and although we could chance climbing high to get a peak it was not worth the risk of getting caught in clouds without knowing where the top were. . We were all really excited as none of us have been up close to a glacier and this is mountain is one that that everyone talks about and comes to see.
Flying back to Rada Tilly was not as exciting as it was first time around. The amazing dry and barren deserts looked pretty unimpressive this time, as we have seen so much on each leg down to the Southernmost tip of the world, and having seen the glaciers day before which were pretty impressive and still on my mind, this landscape with its many oil derricks(nodding donkeys) now seems very bland. On arriving at our hotel we were given an ocean view room which was lovely, but the internet seem very slow and intermittent. We didn’t think much about it because we had been invited to a BBQ in our honour at the aero club in Comodoro on our first night back and although we were sad that our friend Martin was in still in Buenos Aires working and unable to join us, we were looking forward to seeing the rest of the club members who met before on outward leg such as Sebastian, Tinti and Javier, to name a few. The BBQ was outstanding, I am not a big meat lover, but the pork, which I normally like least of all meats, melted in the mouth and the “chef “who was this cheeky chap, promised to return to the USA with me to be my private cook!! We had a great night with the Comodoro aero club members, the food and the conversation was great despite a language barrier. No one seemed to mind our sign language and Spanglish. We were asked to share our pictures of our journey using a slide show, which was an honour, and which we were proud to do. I know Chris was in his element surround by pilots talking shop but despite being “one of them” I wasn’t quite. I do love the thrill of flying, and I am always amazed at the changing terrain and different landscapes that I have the privilege of viewing from a plane as a pilot, but I do not feel and urge to always talk about planes, be it be new engines, new GPS, new parts in the cock pit, Apps for maps. I love the experiences one gets to have in an airplane and like to share stories of what I have seen and hear about others but I sometimes feel isolated if I am not completely plane mad like many of the pilots I have met are. That said, I think I was a bit of a novelty being a black, woman pilot in most places we have flown into included the Comodoro aero club,which only have a couple of women pilots.
The next day was supposed to have terrible weather; the forecast said it was going to be wet, cold and raining. Chris and I had decided to stay in for most of the morning as to catch up with all of our emails, blogs, and journals. But when we woke up, the sun was glorious and as we had a front seat view of the beach I was desperate to go out while the weather was so nice. But Chris was in a foul mood, the internet had been down when he had woken up early in the morning and now he said it kept logging out half way through some of his writing. Apparently he had “lost several documents” and some important emails not be could not retrieved.We went to breakfast and both set about doing our email tasks but the room was hot, the internet was REALLY slow, and I was not into it as I could feel a long walk on the beach beckoning me. So I asked Chris if he wanted to go out, and “all hell broke loose” and we both lost our tempers and had a huge row. I left for the beach with my tunes on my iPod and Chris carried on sitting in a hot room battling the slow internet. When I reached the beach, I decided to walk for 30 minutes to an hour. This way I would get some fresh air, a little exercise, and cool down from our row. I had plans to return to hotel to do email, but the weather was so pleasant that I got carried with collecting shells and stones!! Mad as it may seem to some, a good friend from home asked me to bring back a couple of stones from places I have visited, and now it has become a compulsive habit to me!! Once you notice a stone that has an interesting colour or strange marking you see another and another. I also like collecting shells, so I was engrossed in my simple pursuits of shell and stone collecting in tidal pools while the tide was out, and I managed to for walked for miles and miles. I enjoyed talking to the local people along the way, most were out to get fresh air like me, or to walk their dogs, but all very friendly and chatty. One humorous old man especially, also walking his dog stopped me to practice his English on me, and show me where muscles were growing on some rocks. He also talked to me about the local area and reminisced how the area was many years ago when he was a boy. Feeling less stressed out by our silly row I returned to our hotel to find Chris still fuming and upset with me for “abandoning him” to have a nice day alone while he slaved away. We had lunch both pretty glum, and we both thought “bugger this!” we are going for a walk together today!!! Went in the opposite direction of the beach walk I had done in the morning, and saw totally different shells and rocks. Chris left pictures down loading on his ipad and explained why he was braving out his emailing until he felt that he needed a break and some fresh air. We go for a walk and as we talked I realized that many people have been following our story and supporting our cause which has been wonderful, but Chris got many emails saying “when are you going to post more pictures?” “When are you going to update your blog?” I had not realized how important the blogs had meant to some people and how Chris felt some obligation to keep up with the demand of others. I felt less inclined to do so, not because I didn’t want to write my journal, because I enjoy writing it, but I am only human and if there is an internet problem or issues that are more important to me then I will do it at the next place we stop.
On returning to our room we feel better, refreshed and a bit calmer.We write post cards, look at our next leg of the journey, and talk about places we want to visit. Chris eventually checks the pictures that were supposed to be downloading on his ipad while we on our walk, but for some unknown reason they had not down loaded and he had lost email he had written a couple of hours previously. Bang!!Frustrated, aggravated, irritated and tired he threw his ipad on to the second bed in our room, unfortunately it landed hard with a huge bang onto of my computer!!!! Not impressed at all, in fact I am fuming, as it seems that now my computer is broken and won’t work. Tomorrow we need to find a computer repair shop ASAP as it is our last full day in Rada Tilly. My computer is only a few months old, and although we have backed up stuff most of our trip on a hard drive from my computer, it still has all my old pictures, films and documents on, I have a good shout at Chris for a few moments and then we both go to bed quietly subdued. Another drama to deal with!!