As I am strapped into the airplane seat looking out of the window loosing myself in the ocean of clouds, I let the trip pass by again in my memory. I am moved, profoundly touched, somehow filled up with pure joy. Nature does that to me and I love it.
I so very much appreciate everybody who has partaken in this adventure trip. Big Thank You to the tourism board of the Puerto Natales area, the Chilean government and everybody who has volunteered their time to be part of this trip in front and behind the camera. All you guys were amazing. Thank you.
The images I shot will be published over time in different magazines and advertising campaigns worldwide and I am looking forward to sharing them with you all once released.
Looking down I see more glaciers and lakes filled with icebergs and I am imagining to be among them. Wow, what a sight … and then it hits me, wow, those icebergs are huge … even from this distance … the size of small city blocks …
Second day at the glacier and our mission is to explore the Western side. It’s a rainy, somewhat chilly morning and the 1 1/2 hour approach paddle alone promises to make the day more of a challenging adventure.
For starters, the hot water certainly helps to take the edge off of a wet, ice cold wetsuit…
Coming up around the ‘Big Rock Island’, the sheer presence of the glacier and its size is just impressive.
The forces of Nature can be humbling with a lake temperature of 0.5 degrees Celsius / 32.9 Fahrenheit. Gusty winds mixed in with rain and sleet. The camera gear is partially wet and my fingers start getting numb, but our excitement and curiosity keeps us all pushing closer to the glacier, with the occasional amazing window of sparkling sunlight.
Touching the ice is like reaching into another world, somehow there is an energy, it’s hard to describe.
It is the last day of the trip here in Southern Patagonia, hard to believe all the adventures we had … I even got to do a short paddle this morning … what an amazing trip.
We were very excited to be here, no matter the condition or temperature, we wanted to get close to the glacier and explore the icebergs along the way before night fall. Glacier ice is purely magnificent, sublime, and raw.
Experienced guides, like Rodrigo Bahamondez, can tell if an iceberg is unstable, but believing you are safe would be foolish. Proceeding with respect, caution and very open alertness certainly got our adventure juices flowing. Philip Muller from standuplatino.com had brought his board and proved to be almost fearless and certainly immune to the cold.
The distance to the glacier is misleading. The mountains and glaciers are so grand and big, it feels so close, like it’s right there, you keep paddling and it just gets bigger and bigger until when I was close enough in touchable range I was again in pure awe of the immenseness of the glacier wall.
We were humbled very fast and with the outmost respect moved along the ever changing face of the Glacier.
It was so pure. We stayed silent in awe, you just do not want to disrupt the vibe. When focusing in on the shapes, I felt like the glacier was talking to me. Ancient works of nature on display in all it’s beauty … constantly changing.
It’s been 5 years since my last trip to Glacier Grey, and its an adventure in itself just getting up here. Riding up Lago Grey with the tremendous Punta Bariloche and the Cordillera del Paine Mountain Range to the right, the boat captain showed me a postcard from the nineties. He said back then “you could hardly see the Nunatak behind the boat”, which is the sunlit rock formation sticking out of the ice on the left. “The Glacier was one big wall of ice.”
Apparently the ice has been melting faster and faster in the last ten years, and perhaps I’ll get to take some shots to show the differences over time. We were lucky since Hernan from Antares Patagonia Adventures set this trip up and got to show off together with Pedro ‘Red’ on how comfortable wilderness can be made with simple things.
I love coming back to this campsite just at the foot of the glacier, when the Autumn colors are in full peak.
It has been such an amazing trip so far that for a split second I forgot the initial reason for being here. After traveling an hour and half in the dark, and upon entering the park, first daylight revealed the scars and tremendous damages of this destructive and unnecessary fire earlier this year. My heart became heavy. It was sobering, I wanted to spend time in the ashes, but our production had to catch a boat to Glacier Grey for the stand up paddling portion of the trip. These images were shot during a 12 min stop on the side of the road, a place that prior to the fire there was no way to see the ‘Torres’ / Horns because of the height of the vegetation.
I previously wrote about this fire that blazed through Torres del Paine National Park in the beginning of the year, which burned more than 42,500 acres, effecting grasslands and native forests. Eduardo Katz, CONAF protected areas manager, is hopeful that the grasslands will soon flourish again, but said ” … the outlook for the native forest destroyed in the present fire is much gloomier. For the lenga and ñirre trees complete recovery could take at least 80 years.” The last fire in Torres del Paine broke out in 2005, and the grasslands recovered in less than a year.
Reforestemos Patagonia, is the largest native-species reforestation campaign ever in Chile’s history. It proposes reforesting 247 acres per year, at 800 trees per acre, and an estimated 200,000 trees planted per year over a span of 5 years. Next week will mark the beginning of the reforestation efforts, with a goal of planting 20,000 trees.
The rehabilitation and future of Torres del Paine relies heavily on the international community. We’re not that far removed, there are lots of ways to help. Reforestemos Patagonia aims to plant one million trees. For $4, you can plant your own tree in Patagonia to help restore the balance (not to mention you’ll receive a certificate of reforestation, and know the exact coordinates of your tree which can be seen through google maps). To donate or read more please visit: http://www.reforestemospatagonia.cl/index.php?lang=en