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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/live-65-laguna-torre-argentina/"][b]Live #65, Laguna Torre, Argentina[/b][/url]




[b]13/03/2015 After a failed attempt to fix my broken camera in El Chaltén, I went out on a hike to Laguna Torre with just the phone camera. The second most popular day hike after Fitz Roy was much less busy and we had great weather too! Just Cerro Torre was always covered in clouds sadly…[/b]


The second day in El Chaltén started off with checking all the internet posts and support mails in a desperate hope to somehow fix my camera. After exploiting all possible options, I eventually gave up and put a process together to at least get a new camera before heading off to Antarctica in less than two weeks; it was just not possible to go there without taking decent pictures and I decided to buy a new Sony A3000. It’s basically a less capable, bigger and much slower version of my old A6000. Putting all my trust into the good spirit for Couchsurfers, I sent 700 US$ to a strange person via Paypal and she bought the camera for me at the tax free Zona Austral in Punta Arenas, Chile. From there, she gave the camera to a friend who would spent the next three days on a ship to sail down to Ushuaia in Argentina. At the final destination, he would give the camera to my Couchsurfer and I actually got the camera exactly on the day my ship departed to Antarctica!! :) Patagonia pictures, however, would have to be shot with the low quality phone camera.

The 9km hike to Laguna Torre was very pleasant and I had good company in the two Julia’s, both equipped with an extremely positive and always-smiling attitude. The sun was also shining all day long and we had a lot of fun walking up to the camp spot. A few excellent viewpoints along the way made me missing my camera again, but the pictures from my camera turned out to be okay as long as the lighting conditions were good. We arrived at the nearly empty camp spot, set up our tents and cooked dinner. Julia 1 didn’t feel so well and rested in the tent while Julia 2 and myself headed out to the actual lagoon. It was getting dark and pretty cloudy as well and we could not really see a lot, especially not Cerro Torre. It was also extremely windy and we decided to only go half way around the rim of the lake after nearly being blown away from the now very strong wind.

After spending the night in the cozy tent, the girls had some problems waking up in the morning again and I started to head off to hike up to the top of one of the surrounding mountains: Loma de Las Pizarras. It was actually a really nice hike with great views and therefor I will tell you more about this part in the next live update :)

[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/live-65-laguna-torre-argentina/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/live-67-laguna-piedras-blanca-argentina/"][b]Live #67, Laguna Piedras Blanca, Argentina[/b][/url]




[b]19/03/2015 After some rainy days in El Chaltén, I used the upcoming good weather window to start what was supposed to be a four day trek to Paso del Cuadrado. Joined by Rene from the hostel, we knew that the first day would still be rainy; we didn’t know what kind of adventure we would be heading into. Soon after leaving the beaten path, we found ourselves in the middle of a snow storm in freezing temperatures, forcing us to set up an emergency fire at Laguna Piedras Blanca and actually staying the night there as well. For the complete story, keep on reading![/b]


A lot of rain forced me to remain in El Chaltén for a total of four days and since Rene had no climbing and only little trekking experience, we decided to skip my original plan of tackling Paso del Viento and instead headed towards Paso del Cuadrado, another challenging hike compared to the simple day hikes in the area. Leaving at 12:00, we started to walk in the rain and knew that this wouldn’t change for the rest of the day. It would take us one day just to get closer to the area of our destination anyway and the forecast looked great for all days coming up afterwards, so we decided to start the hike in the rain, allowing Rene to continue his hitch hiking journey without delays. The hike was rather boring for me; we could not see a lot in these weather conditions and I had also just returned from the day hike to the Fitz Roy a few days before in perfect weather. The rain turned into snow and I could witness how the C.B. Poincenot camp looks covered in white, it was a pretty cool sight! We used the camp to have lunch and our hands were freezing already. Things got worse when we walked north along the rocky path next to the river towards Laguna Piedras Blanca. Faced with an now extremely lower temperature, we were now covered in thick snow and quickly soaked completely wet. Getting in the gloves was now an extremely hard task and we knew the situation actually became a bit serious now. We would have to make a decision between returning back to El Chaltén or keep on going, having in mind that the sun will come out the next day. Obviously, we chose the latter…

Freezing our asses off, we kept on walking along the river to find shelter at one of the huge boulders at Laguna Piedras Blanca. Taking pictures was a nearly impossible task now as the thick snow flakes constantly messed up the touchscreen of my phone. Luckily, we walked right into a massive boulder of at least 20 meter in height, offering natural protection from the wind and snow from 3 sides. Once we stopped walking, our already cold bodies started to freeze even more and we had to do something about it. Some people left dry fire wood behind here and even though it is not allowed, we just had to get a fire going to warm up and re-evaluate the situation. Walking back for hours in these conditions would have been very unpleasant. We quickly gathered some tinder and even brought a lighter and toilet paper, making the process of getting the fire up very easy… if we could only use our fingers!! At this point, our hands were so cold that Rene was not able to use his fingers at all anymore. Luckily, I still had some energy in them left and could get the fire going, finally offering us the desperately needed warmth.

After enjoying the fire for a while, I went out to explore the nearby area and also climbed up to one of the hills to get a better overview. It was still snowing a lot and I could not see too much, not even the lake that should be very close to us now. At least I was able to find enough dry wood to keep the fire going for a while. Returning back to our little camp, we started to think about what to do. It was already getting late now and we would have another two hours of walking to reach the next camp, something that was out of question considering the fact that the amount of snow actually increased with time. So we decided to call the boulder our home for this night and aligned the sleeping bags next to the fire to sleep there without setting up the tent. It was actually a really great experience in the end and I enjoyed it a lot. Rene gained back his good spirits as well the longer he could warm up on the fire. We shared some stories, had some rum and eventually fell asleep next to the fire after a nice meal.

Waking up the next morning was an experience I will never forget. The forecast was right (as usual on the norwegian site yr.no) and all the clouds disappeared, leaving us with a perfect clear sky. The sun did not yet rise up over the mountains around us, but for the first time we could see Monte Fitz Roy in the background with the first rays of sunshine on it’s face. Spirits were high and we wasted no time to climb up to the viewpoint to finally see the lake as well. The climb was pretty steep and some parts were still covered with ice from last night, but overall it was not a big deal to get up there. The views were amazing and having the sun in my face again made me look positively into the future. We enjoyed the moment for a while and then started to walk back to our temporary camp, it was time to pack up again and continue our hike towards Paso del Cuadrado with a slight delay. More on that in the next update :)

[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/live-67-laguna-piedras-blanca-argentina/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/live-68-paso-del-cuadrado-argentina/"][b]Live #68, Paso del Cuadrado, Argentina[/b][/url]




[b]20/03/2015 We had an adventurous last night sleeping underneath a huge boulder during heavy snowfall and were now set to make our way towards Paso del Cuadrado in perfect sunny weather, once more correctly predicted by the forecast. Unclear if we could make it to the top of the 1850m high mountain pass, we were in good spirits and eager to explore the more distant hiking regions around El Chaltén.

After checking out the lagoon at Piedras Blanca for sunrise, we packed up our stuff and were blessed with sunshine on our way back to the rocky river valley of Río Blanco. Soon after, the path turned left towards a forest. We were curious of how the situation at the upcoming camp site would be, as they are charging 300 pesos (around 30€) for people just to pass through! Obviously, we didn’t like that and planned to use another path to avoid them. Hugo from the hostel told me about it and said that it’s usually no problem. As we got closer, we passed two signs listing the prices to stay or just pass the camp. For some reason though, we were not able to find the shortcut and ended up walking right through the camp site – no one noticed us and we could pass without paying! Haha.

We entered a huge open valley surrounded by big mountains on both sides and it just looked and felt amazing! For the first time I had this “Wow, I’m in Patagonia” feeling as we were alone and far away from all the day trip tourists. This was exactly what I was looking for. Crossing the big valley took a little while and I was constantly looking around to absorb the visual impressions around me. We actually passed the steep path to climb up to Paso del Cuadrado on our left side, because we wanted to check out the area at Lago Eléctrico first.

The hike to the lake was really enjoyable with lots of clean water along the way in the small rivers. The lake itself was also really nice, a huge rock sitting in the middle. There were some hiking paths to get to the other side of the lake too, but our goal was to go up high, turning left to reach a tiny lake which name I sadly can’t remember now. We certainly had a great view there, looking up to Fitz Roy from a rather unusual perspective. Rene at this point decided to head back to El Chaltén suddenly, aiming to hitch hike the next day and keen to get some rest from our cold and snowy start of the hike. I was left alone and decided to climb up the mountain next to the tiny lake a bit, eventually being stopped by some ice blocks falling off a frozen waterfall on both sides, giving me only one direction to go: Back to the lake. It was a great view up there though and I could get a glimpse of some glaciers that you can’t see from below.

Heading back towards the starting point of the steep climb towards Paso del Cuadrado, I actually passed Rene again, who obviously had to take it a bit slower on his way back. I crossed the valley towards the steep path and met a couple from austria that attempted to summit the pass yesterday. “There is to much snow up there”, they said, making it impossible to reach the top right now. There would also be another group of 3 guys up there right now, waiting for better conditions to summit the pass. I wanted to see how far I could get and decided to continue, hoping that the sun would keep on shining. Climbing up the path was pretty hard physically, as it was really steep the whole way through. Once I reached the 1500m mark, the first snow started to appear on the ground, increasingly getting more as I climbed up higher. The couple from earlier told me that there was a big black rock that would be perfect to set up cam and. I still had enough time until sunset and kept on climbing up…

Reaching something that kind of looked like the rock they described, but wasn’t black, I decided to keep on walking up a bit more to get a better overview and hopefully spot it. Snow now covered the ground and I was already at around 1600m when I realised that the rock I spotted earlier must have been the one. I could not spot any other rocks in my nearby surroundings and the slope got steeper and steeper. I was also getting quiet tired now from carrying the backpack with all my camping equipment and could not wait to find a spot to set up my tent! The thought of hiking back down again to the rock after half an hour of strenuousness uphill climb did not make me happy, so I kept on going up in a desperate search for a camp spot. I would eventually run into the other group, I thought, but the now boot-deep snow made it hard to find the path and it was slowly getting dark now as well, so I had no time to lose and kept on going.

I did not expect so much snow to be up here and quickly lost hope to actually summit the pass. I needed to focus on finding a good spot to set up camp now, because it would certainly get freezing cold up here at around 1700m now. Pushing myself up higher, I eventually reached a spot that some other people used as a camp before, judging by the circle of rocks that would perfectly fit a tent in between them. There was a big boulder on one side for some wind protection and generally a good spot, so I decided to use it as a camp. First though, I needed to stomp down all the snow in order to be set up the tent on top of it. It took me a little while to do so, but at least it also kept me warm at the same time. Once I set up the tent, it became dark pretty fast and I had to wrap everything I had in order to keep myself warm. It got really cold in the night and I was actually freezing for the first time ever in a tent; my sleeping bag is not as good as it used to be! I got used to the cold though and eventually fell asleep after going out for a last pee around 1AM, looking at one of the most amazing night sky full of stars I have ever seen in my life. Sadly, there was no way to capture it with the camera of my phone…

The next morning greeted me with sunshine again and I woke up just for the first rays of light shining on Fitz Roy’s back side. It was still freezing cold and I had to do some exercises to warm myself up while enjoying the amazing views around me. I would sadly not be able to make it up to the pass, just about 200m higher from my current position. There was just too much snow and I did not want to risk it without having proper equipment. So instead, I was walking back without ever meeting the other group that was supposed to be up here. It was still totally worth all the effort and a trek I will never forget!

On my way back, I found the path to bypass the camp this time and could enjoyed all the landscapes in great sunny conditions. Passing Piedras Blanca again, I would soon find myself at the bridge close to the Fitz Roy viewpoint and was instantly thrown back into the mad amount of day tour tourists – something I really did not miss! This time though, passing the same path back towards El Chaltén for the third time now, I had insanely good weather and just had to take some more pictures of the famous Fitz Roy skyline – I wish I had my camera back then but luckily some of the phone pictures turned out to be nice too! It was just a perfect way to end this hike, which was packed with adventure and amazing moments that I find hard to put into text actually, it’s something you just have to see with your own eyes… My time in El Chaltén was not over though and after getting back to my favorite hostel Hem Heru, I got ready for the next hikes.

[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/live-68-paso-del-cuadrado-argentina/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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[url=https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/video-from-colombia/][b]Video from Colombia[/b][/url]




Time for the next video! This one is packed with interesting stuff: Starting with some diving in Capurganá, followed by the towns of Cartagena, Santa Marta & Minca, onwards to the amazingly beautiful beaches in Tayrona National Park, a quick ride to yet another beach at Palomino, climaxing with the trek to Lost City Ciduad Perdida before finishing it off in Bogotá & Villa de Leyva!

Check out the Live Updates and Pictures from Colombia [url=https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/tag/colombia/]here[/url].


[url=https://vimeo.com/133643995]>> Direct Vimeo Link[/url]

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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/live-71-ushuaia-and-drake-passage-antarctica/"][b]Live #71, Ushuaia and Drake Passage, Antarctica[/b][/url]




[b]25/03/2015 After a bit more than two weeks in El Chaltén and El Calafate, it was now finally time to leave Ushuaia and begin my voyage to the coldest, driest and windiest continent of our planet: Antarctica. Not too many people have the opportunity to go there and I felt very privileged to be one of them. Together with around 80 other passengers, we would take two full days to cross the rough waters of the Drake Passage before we would be able to set foot on Antarctica, probably one of the most impressive places that we can visit.[/b]


[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/live-71-ushuaia-and-drake-passage-antarctica/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/live-72-lemaire-channel-antarctica/"][b]Live #72, Lemaire Channel, Antarctica[/b][/url]




[b]28/03/2015 We finally arrived in Antarctica after sailing through the oddly calm Drake Passage for two full days. Woken up early by our expedition leader Anna at 06:30, I quickly got dressed to head out on deck as we were navigating through the famous Lemaire Channel. The narrow wide channel is a famous stop for tours to the Antarctic Peninsula and despite the bitter cold in the morning, I could not help but staying outside to soak in the majestic sights around me while the sun desperately tried to break through the thick layer of clouds around us.[/b]


The sky on our path through the Drake Passage during the last two days was mostly dominated by a thick layer of clouds, making us doubt a bit if we would ever really see anything. In fact, going to Antarctica at the end of March is a bit risky in terms of the weather. You might not see a lot, you might also be stuck in ice and the wild life could hide from you as well. The clouds were still present when we arrived in the Lemaire Channel, but everyone was heading out to deck anyway despite the extremely low morning temperatures around 07:00 AM. About an hour later, the sun actually peaked out for the first time and turned the scenery into incredible orange colors. Snow and Ice covered peaks could be seen all around us and it was our first real sight on Antarctica, a moment that will stick in my memory for the rest of my life for sure. Slowly loosing the feeling in my hands, it was time to get out of the cold and warm up during the nice breakfast buffet.

Finishing the breakfast, we had to change into our zodiac gear for the first time as our first landing to Pourquoi Pas harbour was up! Most of the other people on board looked like they would climb Everest, being completely covered in at least three layers of clothes. Myself, on the other side, just equipped with my light weight trekking gear lead me to believe that it could get a bit cold out there. At least I had three layers of socks to keep my feet warm while wearing the gummy boots they provided. Those would need to be cleaned before and after each zodiac landing as well, making sure that no bacteria would be put on Antarctica. Everyone was ready to go in their complete outfit, including a life west as well, when Anna suddenly made the announcement that our first zodiac landing would have to be cancelled. The weather did not permit a landing and there was too much ice to guarantee a safe trip in the boats. Disappointed, we went back to our cabins to change into normal clothing again – waiting for lunch to be served.

After we filled up our bellies once again, we would finally be able to get out in the zodiacs on our second attempt. The crew prepared three locations for us and we were split up in groups to reach them. My first stop was Wordie House, a shelter that was used by the brits during the second world war. Part of the hut was originally built by James Wordie, a member of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition in 1921. Inside, we could see original items from that time while outside, the penguins were curiously awaiting us. Antarctica boasts different kinds of penguins and the ones here were Gentoos. Just observing their quest of either standing around or getting from A to B was pure entertainment on it’s own and never really gets boring. We also had seals hanging out, some of them which needed to be observed from a safe distance. Our crew members would make sure that none of the tourists would get too close.

Up next, the zodiac was waiting for us and ready to drop us off around the corner at the Ukrainian station Vernadsky. Handed over from the brits to Ukraine in 1996, the station is populated with a few scientists, engaged in research about the High Atmosphere and the Ozone Layer, as well as biologists working on mosses, skuas and the underwater plants and plankton. They also have a bar in there and it seemed to be a ritual from female visitors to leave their bra’s there. Very interesting. The most southern souvenir shop in the world rounds up the package and we were headed back into the cold to the waiting zodiac boats.

On our way back, the crew brought us close to some ice bergs floating around in the area. I was familiar with oddly shaped ice bergs from my trip to Greenland, but seeing them in Antarctica was a bit more special. Unfortunately, the weather was not optimal this day and some sun light would have made the experience even better. We would still have some time here though and for now, I was really happy with what we saw. The zodiac returned us to the M/V Ushuaia at 5:30 PM and while we enjoyed our afternoon snacks, the captain navigated us out of the Argentine Islands again.

I really enjoyed the times in between our activities as well. Just hanging out in the lounge, reading a book (or playing settlers II in my case) or attempting a round of chess was a really nice contrast program of watching the incredible scenery around us. I actually spent most of the time for the latter and would not really care how cold it was outside, but just like the rest, I would have to eventually retreat in the nice heated lounge or my cabin again to warm up. We had a nice mix of interesting people on board as well, mostly aged above 40 but also with a few “youngsters” like me. I quickly made friends with a few Germans and we would spent most of the meals together. Talking about the meals, I have to say they were absolutely delicious and I could get as much as I wanted. Happy to have recovered from my upset stomach, I was now making full use of all those meals and fruits provided while wondering what the next day would have in store for us.


[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/live-72-lemaire-channel-antarctica/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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Live #73, Dorian Bay, Neumayer Channel, Antarctica




29/03/2015 On our fifth day in Antarctica, we explored Dorian Bay, navigated through the Neumayer Channel and had our first continental landing at Paradise Bay. It was a lovely sunny day in March with a lot of photos taken, actually forcing me to split it in two live updates. The first one will bring more penguins and seals, great Antarctic Landscapes and the British station of Port Lockroy, which was unfortunately closing down two weeks before our arrival. A shame, because one of my friends from London was actually working there to sell postcards. :-)


I woke up at 8AM to get out on deck, observing the morning colours come up on the snow covered peaks around us. The captain navigated us to Dorian Bay and the day promised to be a bit less cloudy than the one before. Before we would leave the ship, it was time for breakfast again. My daily menu consisted of warm fresh waffles, croissants, eggs, bacon, toast, ham, cheese, butter, dulce de leche and a lot of different sorts of fruits. I actually uploaded a picture of that set as well, just because it was so damn good and it brings back memories :) After everyone was filled up, we gathered at the Zodiac entry point of our ship and were brought to Wienke Island. The weather now was actually excellent, most of the clouds disappared and the sun was blazing down; I was in awe to see all the snow and ice around us in perfect white.


Everyone was really happy to witness Antarctica in these conditions while we were getting close to the wild-life packed Island. Despite the usual gentoo penguins and leopard seals, we also saw a Giant Petrels posing on Damoy Point. Those guys were pretty big and very busy eating dead penguins. After nearly an hour of observing the still alive penguins doing their usual business of slipping and sliding through the ice, I went up to the second point of interest: The top slope of Wienke Island, offering a great view on our landing point and the M/V Ushuaia sitting behind on one side and Port Lockroy on the other. The clouds actually came up again now, but it was still great to look down to the british station that usually sells postcards during the tourist season. We were just two weeks late sadly and I was not able to visit one of my climbing buddies from London, who worked there for the last months. The setting of Port Lockroy is impressive: A few small huts situated on some tiny islands in front of a big peak and sourrounded by antarctic waters. The small slope on which we were standing was actually used as an runway for airplanes in the past. Heading back to the Zodiacs, we waved the penguins good bye and watched a leopard seal actually killing one of them in the water on the ride back to the ship.


Next up on our agenda was Neko Harbour. In order to get there, we had the pleasure of navigating through the Neumayer Channel. The sun was back out again and with lot's of ice in the water, the passage through the channel was nothing short of breath taking. Everyone was standing outside to observe the landscape while the water produced perfect mirror images of the peaks around us. We had a clear blue sky now and the further we got into the channel, the more ice was sourrounding us. The M/V Ushuaia had no problem breaking through it for now, leaving us astonished about the crushing sounds as it broke through the ice plates, some of which were actually occupied by a few seals staring back at us. A few days later in cold conidtions here would have caused us some problems, according to the captain. Aiming for Neko Harbour after the 25Km long Neumayer channel, we eventually turned into a large concentrated amount of sea ice, blocking our entrance. It was now 15:30 and our first continental landing would have to wait a little bit longer as we were looking for another entry point.


>> Pictures

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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/live-74-paradise-bay-antarctica/"][b]Live #74, Paradise Bay, Antarctica[/b][/url]




[b]29/03/2015 Perfect weather conditions allowed us to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes at Dorian Bay and Neumayer Channel. So far, we had only visited islands and were now very close of setting foot on the actual continental landmass of Antarctica for the first time. Thick sea ice blocked our entry point at Neko Harbour though and forced the captain to find another spot for us to land on what would become the seventh continent for some of the passengers. Missing Australia, it was just the sixth for me personally :)[/b]


Although it was not possible to get to our original landing point at Neko Harbour, none of us was unhappy with the alternative that the captain provided instead: Paradise Bay! Just hearing the name, one would actually not be suprised if it would be the superior location. And in fact, it was a great one. Not only was the entrance into the bay fabulous, but we would also have some very spectacular glaciers nearby too. My first stop was the Argentinean Station called Brown. Gentoo penguins would watch us as we stepped on the continent of Antarctica for the first time. The weather was still perfect as we were climbing up a viewpoint in the thick snow. It was actually really pleasant to be here out of season, the snow completely untouched and just sharing the amazing landscape with the ~80 tourists on our ship.


Once we made it to the top, several groups started to build snowmans. The russians also used the steep slope to roll down of it. I am pretty sure they were still a little bit drunk, I never saw them not drinking on board the ship! Another very interesting interacting happened right next to me: A guy kneed down in the snow in front of his girlfriend to offer his engagement ring. It was literally a pretty cool spot to propose :) Most of the wild life concentrated down at the Brown station though and as usual, the penguins provided our daily portion of entertainment. The sun would slowly disappeared behind the clouds while we were waiting for our Zodiacs to bring us to our last location of the day.


And it was a pretty good one! Passing by some cliffs with nesting birds and a lot of bird poo on the way, we reached a really nice glacier and got very close. The clouds dominated the sky now, but just when my zodiac reached the glacier, it actually peaked out and the light was shining just on a tiny roughly 3 meter long spot at the edge of the glacier, such a cool sight! It looked as if someone from up above wanted to point something out. However, we could not see anything other than ice and soon after had to retreat again, cruising along the ice bergs on the way back. My hands started to get really really cold very fast after taking all the pictures, forcing me to shut off my camera and warm up my hands in the pockets. It turned out to be a bad timing, because just 20 seconds later, a huge portion of the glacier calved off into a newly born ice berg, creating a wave that lifted up our zodiac boat.

Getting closer to the U/V Ushuaia, I could not believe my nose but the crew actually set up a huge outside BBQ on the deck of the ship with the wind pushing the smell towards us on sea! I spent a good amount of time in Argentina already and knew exactly how good their asado was, so I could not wait to get back and receive the first Choripán as an appetizer for the upcoming steaks for dinner :) Talking about the ship, there was one question I received regarding sea sickness. Most of the people actually took some pills and some of them still got sick. I had no problems at all without taking anything, actually I never got sea sick in my life! But the ship was indeed moving quiet a lot at times and you had to make sure to hold on to the railways and be a bit careful while using the doors to get outside – some people actually injured themselves with those before. Nothing happened in our trip so far though and after this great day in sunny weather, everyone was happy and filled up with lot’s of meat from the asado before getting back to their cabins. We would have two more fulls days to explore Antarctica before it was time to head back home again through the Drake Passage.


[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/live-74-paradise-bay-antarctica/"]>> Pictures[/url]

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Habe mal wieder ein Video fertig bekommen:


[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/video-from-argentina-patagonia-part-1/"][b]Argentina, Patagonia Part 1[/b][/url]




A lot of stuff happened back in March 2015 during my two weeks of hiking in the El Chaltén region in the Argentinean portion of Patagonia. In this first part, you will see El Calafate, the hikes to Laguna de los Tres, Laguna Torres, Loma de las Pizarras and finally, the first half of the hike to Paso del Cuadrado until we got stuck in a snowstorm and had to put up an emergency shelter at Laguna Piedras Blanca.


[url="https://vimeo.com/137298093"]>> Vimeo Link[/url]



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Live #75, Cuverville Island, Foyn Harbour, Antarctica




30/03/2015 Day 6 on Antarctica started early again at 06:30 with a delicious breakfast. We would have our coldest day so far and be surrounded by at least 20 whales while attempting to strike another landing at Cuverville Island.


After a lot of blue sky and sunshine in the last days, we were now surrounded by a thick layer of low hanging clouds, covering the icy peaks around us in mysteriously looking fog. I really loved the atmosphere and it was a great contrast to the previous days. We could also spot some humpback whales in the distance, occasionally pressing out water through their blow hole, but sadly never really appearing over the surface. It was freezing cold this morning and thoughts of staying in the warm bed rather than waiting for the Zodiac to venture out into the cold Antarctic Ice were present, but obviously, never really pursued. On the beach, the Expedition Team briefed us on the main attractions to be taken that morning: One to walk north to overlook the entrance to the Errera and see the busy Gentoo rookeries there and then another at the opposite end of the beach to overlook icebergs and more penguins.


Cuverville island contains the largest Gentoo rookery in the area and at an earlier stage of the season, we would now face a horrible smell from all the penguin poo. Luckily for us, it was freezing cold and most of it covered in ice or snow. We had to be pretty careful walking around on the icy patches and observed the Gentoo penguins minding their own business. This usually involved just standing around and watching at us, sleeping, swimming, lying down, eating or even disco dancing their muscles. Some of them grouped up in a small pool at the shore, having a little pool party while others joined us to stare at the ocean when groups of humpback whales came by to show a glimpse of their body. Again, they would not emerge further unfortunately, but it was certainly nice to have them around!

Some chicks were present among the penguins as well, looking pretty funny with their Iroquois hair style. And of course, we also had some seals around again. This time though, we had to be a bit more careful though because they seemed pretty aggressive according to our crew. So we watched them fight it out between each other from a safe distance while the penguins came to check us out. My feet got really cold after a while and I decided to head back to our Ship. Basically, we had the freedom to stay a bit longer or shorter in each place if we wished, because enough zodiacs (six in total I believe it was) were always around and waiting for passengers to pick up – pretty good organisation and the luxury of using a small Ship as well! Watching the amazing icebergs around us in the zodiac as we were brought back, I couldn’t wait to get inside and warm up my body.


Back on board for 11:30, there was not much time to warm up. I spent around 15 minutes inside before people starting to yell that we were having whales around, so of course, I was heading out again as well! All around the ship were humpback whales performing: sleeping, tail lobbing, rolling around lazily and slapping their fins in the water. I could count around (20!) whales around us, all of them humpbacks, some bigger, some smaller but most of them pretty tired as it seemed. Everyone was out watching around for over an hour in the still cold day, I was switching between the outside deck and the inside to stare out of the window while warming up my hands. At some point, the action increased and some humpbacks were actually jumping out of the water, right at the bow of our ship! It was so amazing to see it in this landscape, and I really would have loved to capture it on pictures as well. Sadly, my Sony A3000 was really much slower than my broken A6000 and messed up with the auto focus, denying me the shots.


The crew called for Lunch and no one went in to eat. The whale show was exceptionally exciting and I was pretty sure that they would keep the food warm for us. We would navigate into a snow storm soon after, abruptly ending it though. While the passengers enjoyed the great lunch, we were approaching our next stop: Foyn Harbour. Instead of a landing, we were supposed to have a Zodiac tour to get super close to the whales. To my big disappointment, it was cancelled though due to lack of time and poor visibility. So we sat at anchor, in silky seas, with pale grey light all round with occasional patches of low visibility in snow flurries. Most people now finally retreated to their cabins until another whale was sighted. After hours of watching them in the cold, nearly everyone stayed inside now though. I didn’t, in the hope to get some more good shots done.


Later on, I joined the presentation about whales and played a round of chess with one of the guys on the ship while the snow storm around us made sure that we could not see a thing. Around 18:00 though, it cleared up and put the scenery in an amazing light. One side of the Ship was highlighted by the last pieces of blue sky, while the other turned into a pinkish orange light, producing a breath taking evening panorama. At 20:00, we started our night-long sail through the Gerlache Strait and parts of the Bransfield Strait towards the South Shetland Islands. As every day, the crew would let us know what we would do the next day and for tomorrow, it really sounded great: We would pass through Neptune´s Bellows into Whalers Bay for a morning landing at Deception Island, the caldera of an active volcano.


Highlights Pictures:


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Edited by Chrisontour84
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[url="https://chrisontour84.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/live-81-puerto-natales-chile/"][b]Live #81, Puerto Natales, Chile[/b][/url]


[b]10/04/2015 Puerto Natales serves as an entry point to the famous peaks of Torres del Paine in the Chilean Patagonia. I spent a few days in the charming little town to prepare my trip and enjoy the good weather while having a rather unusual Couchsurfing expierence…[/b]

Equipped with a new tent and poncho from ZonaAustral in Punta Arenas, I arrived in Puerto Natales with the bus and was much more pleased with the look & feel of the town. It looked really clean, was small enough to walk around and had a nice beach front with some interesting statues to take pictures. The weather was great and I was happy to see the promising forecast as well, offering mostly blue sky and sun for the 6 day hike at Torres del Paine. In terms of accommodation, I wanted to do some Couchsurfing again and was in touch with the mother of a complete CS-family, running a kind of hostel for Couchsurfers. It was not free, but still cheaper than the other hostels in town and I was very curious on how the communication would work out since they did not speak English.




Communication was actually a problem with my Couchsurfing family, nobody had replied to me prior to my arrival and I was not sure if they could still host me. Showing up at the door, all the worries were blown away though with the nice smile of the family’s mother opening up. She lived in her house together with her husband and three kids and had two other rooms fully equipped with beds. Some other Couchsurfers were just waiting for their overnight bus to leave town again and could provide me with some valuable information about the hike, the most important being that the complete O trek was not possible anymore because the Northern part of the trek was closed off. Instead, I planned to do an extended W trek, hoping to get up to Paso John Gardner at least.

7pm was dinner time in Casa Couchsurfing and one rule there was to have everyone staying in the house involved in some way. I was asked to buy certain ingredients from the shop and soon after found myself sitting with the five family members, two long term couchsurfers and two other short term guests at the big dinner table, sharing a nice meal that was kicked off with a prayer to god. It was a special atmosphere and some people would argue that it was not really Couchsurfing anymore (since you paid for it), but compared to a hostel I found the family-atmosphere rather pleasing and enjoyed my stay. It was also a good time to practice my Spanish with the members of the family :)




The bus to Torres del Paine left at 07:45 in the morning and I was ready to head out into the nature again after some relaxing days in Puerto Natales. Soon I would be able to answer the question if the hikes around El Chaltén or Torres del Paine are the highlight in Patagonia.

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Danke :)


Weiter geht es mit Torres del Paine in Chile, sicherlich jedem Naturfan ein Begriff :) Hoffe es gefällt!

[SIZE="4"][U][URL=http://www.chrisontour84.de/2016/01/13/live-82-torres-del-paine-patagonia-chile-day-1/]Day 1, Mirador Condor[/URL][/SIZE][/U]

[B]12/04/2015 Torres del Paine… Everyone who ever thought about going to Patagonia certainly knows about this location. It is utterly breath taking and I saved it for the end of my trip in southern Chile. Making my way from Puerto Natales, I came prepared with enough food for the six day hike around the famous towers. Check out this update to find out what happened during the first day hiking to Mirador Condor and especially about the unexpected visitor in the night, preventing me from getting any sleep.[/B]


I was once again in the right spot at the right time, purchasing the round trip bus tickets to the Torres for just 10.000 pesos, rather than the usual 15.000 pesos. The bus left early in the morning and took two hours, dropping me and a few people I met in the bus between the first and second of overall three stops. From there, we hiked up to a viewpoint called “Mirador Condor” after paying the 18.000 entry fee earlier. We also received our badges, which stated all the (partly ridiculous) rules about the park as well as the closing times of each camp site. Being in off season, we should not have too many troubles with rangers though and I would even try to do the complete O-trek rather than the standard W-trek even though the maps indicated that it would be closed. Let’s see… :)




After some rain in the morning, we hiked up to the Mirador in perfect weather conditions. Making a little loop through the grass, we eventually reached the viewpoint and were stunned with the beauty of the landscape. The water, the mountains, the blue sky – everything was just so perfect and I was really curious if the remaining days could get any better than this! Heading down on the official path, we picked up our backpacks again and had lunch while some Caracara birds tried to snatch some of it.

The next part of the hike was along a long road for about 8km. Usually, you could try to hitch hike here, but we were five people and obviously not picked up by the few cars that passed. We stopped at Salto Chico, a small but very powerful waterfall close to a hotel with a nice view of the Mountains in the background. It actually turned out to be pretty amazing there! Heading back on the road, we reached the Administration soon after and split up when the two couples continued to the camp spot while I was having a bigger break to have a second lunch :)





Giving them a half an hour head start, I actually made it to the camp site at the same time. The hike was really pleasant along with the slowly setting sun, putting the fields in beautiful golden colours. A lot of clouds came up once I reached the camp site and it got dark pretty fast. Setting up the tent was the first priority now; and it was actually the very first time to use my new tent, purchased just two days ago. I gathered some hay below, hoping to provide some more comfort during the night after losing my inflatable sleeping matt.

The campsite was called campamento las carretas, but during the course of the first night I would have loved to rename it to campamento las ratas! Despite the fact that I was already hiding all my food in extra bags high up in the trees, I was still being harassed by one or two annoying little rats. The camp site was really dirty and we already anticipated them, but apparently having no food at all inside the tent was not enough to prevent any visits and it seemed like they were attracted to the smell of my brand new tent.



As if the annoying sound of the rat crawling around and even on top of the tent was not enough, it also tried to get inside and I ended up with 4 little holes in the tent, big enough for the rat to stick her nose through. Sleeping was, unfortunately, not an option for the first night…

[I]Day 1 Statistics:
Distance hiked: 22,5km
Time spent: 5h 25m[/I]

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Nun habe ich auch den zweiten Teil fertig :)

[URL="http://www.chrisontour84.de/2016/01/29/live-83-torres-del-paine-patagonia-chile-day-2/"][B]Day 2, Grey Glacier[/B][/URL]

[B]13/04/2015 I was happy to leave the rat-infested camp of the first night behind and fixed the holes in my new tent. Happy for the sun to provide warmth after a cold morning, I soon got to see the first splendid views on Glaciar Grey in the distance. My plan was to hike up to Paso John Gardner, but I knew that the circuit was officially closed and when two french hikers passed me on the way down after being sent back from a ranger, I had to come up with a damn good first impression in order to convince him to let me pass…[/B]


I was not particularity pleased with the first night. Rats were attracted to my new tent, trying desperately to give me some company inside and they would even climb up the trees and then jump on top of my little home!! I did not get a lot of sleep since I was either annoyed by the noise they made or busy hitting their little noses poking through the tent. After fixing it with duct tape in the morning, I started to hike at 09:30 while everyone else was still having their breakfast. The sun showcased the grass in a beautiful golden color on the ground while the horizon was filled by blue sky and the majestic mountains – such a delight for the eye!




I reached a good spot with a view on the lake and unwrapped all my wet equipment from the morning temperatures while having lunch and waited for the others to arrive. They turned up about 90 minutes later, just when I was about to leave. We walked together for a bit along the picture perfect lake, reflecting mirror images from the peaks inside of it. The couples needed another break and I was heading towards Camp Grey on my own again. Walking up a gentle slope, I could finally see the ice cap of the Grey Glacier for the first time. The view was just incredible and I could not wait to get closer to it!

Approaching Camp Grey, I was not sure if anybody would try to stop me to move forward toward Paso John Gardner, which I knew was closed off. I just walked right through the camp and nobody tried to stop me, so my hopes were high to actually make it to a smaller camp called Las Guardas up the hills for the night before heading to the pass the next morning. The path led me close to the glacier for some great views before entering a forest again, containing a lot of hard-working woodpeckers that were not disturbed at all by my presence.




Further along the trek, I met two french hikers that were just sent down by a ranger patrolling high up to the entry of the John Gardner pass. I was not happy to hear the news and hoping to make friends and convince with him to let me pass. Crossing a huge hanging bridge over a big gorge, I actually ran into the ranger just 20 minutes after. My plan to leave a good first impression worked out perfectly and I could actually continue my trek!

He judged me as an experienced hiker and allowed me to continue my trek up until the pass, even telling me about hidden food supplies near the old camp. I promised him to report back the next day at his ranger house close to the lake and set up my tent on top of a thick layer of moss, making sure I would have a much more comfortable night compared to the first! I even had time to trek through the forest for about five minutes to get a good view on the glacier and the last minutes of sunshine, before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. No rats should be around in this altitude either, so I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep finally…




Day 2 Statistics:
Distance hiked: 24km
Time spent: 6h 20m

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Danke und Grüße aus den Albanischen Alpen, in denen ich aktuell eingescheit bin durch immer noch andauernden heftigen Schneefall seit gestern Nacht.


Da ich hier also aktuell nicht wegkomme, habe ich die Zeit genutzt um endlich mein Antarktika Video hochzuladen! Ihr könnt euch die Berichte und Bilder dazu hier anschauen.





Viel Spaß! :)

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Grüße aus den Albanischen Alpen.





wo genau steckst du denn fest?  :icon_mrgreen:


Wie genau meinst du diese Frage? 

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Grüße aus den Albanischen Alpen.





wo genau steckst du denn fest?  :icon_mrgreen:


Wie genau meinst du diese Frage? 



Danije hat doch nen albanischen Mann. Vielleicht will sie einen Familien-Rettungstrupp hinschicken? Mit Slivovic oder was immer man in Albanien so trinkt :)

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