Bring on the Penguins!
This is not to say that the cold takes anything away from the magnificence of the sight. For the most part the penguins ignore us and go on about their business, waddling around, swimming and preening each other. Feathers cover the island, a product of the molting that naturally occurs as younger birds mature. Cory and I take several pictures and videos in an attempt to capture the penguins' calls but after 45 minutes I'm frozen and head back to the ship for breakfast and a few final tasks before disembarkation.
We are met in Punta Arenas by an Adventure Life representative and begin the long, but extraordinarily beautiful drive to Torres del Paine. Cory and I have our own private van and spend several hours chatting in Spanish with our driver, who is happy to pause for photos any time we request. Structured stops are also built into the trip to EcoCamp, and we especially enjoy a visit to ''the Cueva del Milodon,''(Cave of the Milodon), a large extinct mammal. The cave is a wonderfully interesting archaeological site, and makes me feel as though I'm in a life-sized pre-historic diorama.
We arrive at EcoCamp just in time for a lovely dinner, although I still feel a bit of nostalgia for the lavish cruise meals. Travel days are always difficult transitions, but Cory and I meet our guide, Rafa, and have a drink in the common area before retiring to our cabin. The beds are plush and the wood fireplace makes for a cozy night's sleep after a very long day.