To cut a very long story short, this boat journey had everything that I missed on the Yangzi river cruise back in China. The sights here in Patagonia were spectacular, plus the crew, the facilities and the other people on the boat were simply fantastic.
As the Lonely Planet guidebook does outline, this three day journey through Patagonia may actually be a nightmare, when the weather is rough and passengers literally see nothing sort of what we did. However, we were lucky for most parts of the trip: The first two days were filled with sunshine, on the third day it started to rain – but there was still enough visibility to make your jaw drop in awe because of the scenery.
On the first day on the boat, I met Evgeny, a Russian from Moscow. We quickly became friends since we figured out that we had a lot in common. Moreover, I wanted to brush up on my Russian language skills – which now has been added a considerable number of swear words.
When we ordered Vodka from the ship’s bar, Evgeny was shocked to see that the bottle stood on the shelf – not being refrigerated. We explained to the barman that Vodka has to be served chilled. To our surprise, when we returned on the next day, we spotted a couple of Vodka bottles in the fridge. Since we celebrated New Year on the boat, we did drink a special “Russian Cocktail”- as Evgeny called it. It actually became our favourite drink during the three days on board: Consisting of a glass of beer half full of Vodka, the other half is being mixed with dark beer.
As we were approaching the 31.12., every nationality would celebrate their New Year in a different time zone. The cheers among individual groups started early in the day with the guys from New Zealand. By 6pm, Evgeny and I were celebrating Russian New Year. We called it a wrap shortly afterwards since we were very tired of all the partying. Consequently, I missed the Swiss New Year and the Chilean New Year.
Next day, the overall atmosphere on the boat was a notch friendlier, as most of the people made friends during the boat trip and the New Year´s eve party. So did I. In fact, by the end of the journey, everybody knew us – the guy from Russia and Switzerland who would spend most of the day speaking in a strange language and drinking Vodka.
There are parts of my round-the-world trip that are so memorable that I sometimes wish that I could relive that experience all over again. The Navimag trip definitely was one of these moments. Upon arrival in Puerto Natales, Evgeny and I therefore decided to trek in the Torres del Paine National Park together – more about this great hike in an upcoming blog posting.