Argentina + Chile: End of the Adventure

The end of the trip. Time to go home and see our desperately-missed families.

In Ushuaia we met up with Nico and Denise, the couple from Austria that were to be the new owners of our truck and camper. SO MANY FEELINGS. While we were happy to have finished our trip, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to a vehicle that had safely and faithfully carried our small family 20,000 miles through two continents. We were also delighted for Nico and Denise who had their own adventure stretching out before them.

Due to the intricacies of our Argentinian Temporary Import Permit (TIP), legal transfer of truck and camper can only be made at the border so we piled everyone into the vehicle and headed back to Chile.

We checked out of Argentina under our name and when we rolled across the border into Chile, the camper was officially no longer ours. Sniff, sniff! What a happy/sad/stressful day.

A photo captured by Nico of a Commerson’s Dolphin (also known as a Skunk Dolphin)

It was a long trip with four adults and two children jammed into the truck – Denise and Nico were very gracious, especially after a brutal night of freezing temps and wild Patagonian winds.

We rolled into the port town of Punta Arenas and set about giving the camper one final spiff-up before handing her over. Nico and Chris spent an afternoon talking truck maintenance and changing the oil. She was ready for her new adventure.

And then it was time for one last adventure: pinguinos!

Isla Magdelena is home to 100,000 mating pairs of Magellanic Penguins. Our boat landed on the island and we took an hour to walk the small path that snakes past penguin burrows, most occupied by two parents and a extra fuzzy offspring.

There is a reason this particular species is nicknamed the Jackass Penguin: they bray like donkeys! It was not a quiet experience.

This one was particularly enamored with Ben and followed him down the trail.

The island is home to an assortment of other birds, this was a young gull.

“MOM, what are these two doing?! It looks like a game of pig pile!!” -Ben (age 7)

Trying to stay warm – the winds and rain never let up.

After the island, we made quick tour past the sea lion colony at Isla Marta – also not a quiet jaunt. Being a sea lion seems to involve a lot of drama, no?

It was a long, cold day and we were all a bit crabby on the ride back to Punta Arenas. We were ready to be home. Instead, we set about packing up 8 months worth of gear into our bags in preparation for flying out the next day.

So long camper, you’ve been wonderful.

I should note here that I’m a year late in writing this post: Denise and Nico went on to have an amazing adventure of their own throughout South America and then turned the trusty truck over to a friend that lives in Uruguay.

So if you see a silver Toyota Tundra with a FWC Hawk tooling around Uruguay, give ’em a friendly honk from us.

And that, my dears, was the end of our tour through the Americas.

xo, Sonja

Afterward: We flew out of Punta Arenas, had a quick stopover in Santiago, and then landed back in the USA in late January of 2018. We spent a month recuperating at home (and eating ALL the foods) before hopping on another flight bound for Japan. We’d done north to south, now maybe it was time to go west for a while…


RECOMMENDATIONS

Penguin Island: Solo Expeditions was the penguin tour company that showed us around Islas Magdelena y Marta. The other (cheaper) option is the ferry, but it run less frequently, takes twice as long, and requires passengers to stand on deck the entire time. We faced torrential wind and rain all day so were glad of indoor boating options. Worth the extra $$. https://www.soloexpediciones.com

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