Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday: leaving Tortel, more rain

As we travel it is interesting to see the changes in wildlife that reflect the change in habitation we pass through. Crossing from the near desert of the Argentine steppe into the Andes and Chile will always be a most distinct example, but even in the 150 km odd we have traveled on the carretera we are noticing changes. We have long left behind the giant horseflies that bugged us through the border crossing - a most disturbing insect when crawling lazily on your cycle glasses, it looks like some alien invader! Our first days and nights were plagued by buzzing biting mossies. They now seem less in number, thank goodness, and today for the first time we saw Patagonian bubblebees (as we call them). These are just like their UK counterparts, only have loss their black stripes, meaning you have bright yellow or orange balls of spiky hair flying around the flowers. Most odd!

Flowers are another thing: until today they have been very few but we definitely see more now we are in wetter and more fertile land (I expect all the volcanos had a part in this).

On the subject of rain, the clouds that sat over us all day yesterday in Caleta Tortel appeared to up-stumps this morning, and wondered up the valley to join us on our way to Cochrane. So from elevenses to after lunch we were fully coated head to toe in waterproofs, for the first time ever on a cycling holiday. It was even sufficient to help me discover my waterproof gloves aren't, which 3 UK winters never previously managed to highlight. The frogs certainly seem to like this weather though, so their unusual croaks - like someone tapping out Morse code on maracas - accompanied us for most they day as well as throughout last night just outside our window.

The afternoon was real sunshine and showers affair, which at least let us dry out and warm up a bit, and around 5 we found a great place to camp on a hidden "mezzanine" level between road and river, just as we were getting drenched through once more. Hoping for more sun, less showers tomorrow!


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