Thursday (13-January-2011) — Chile

Gone to See Patagonia 2010/2011. Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 18: Detained as Political Prisoners in Puerto Natales.

We are still sitting in a hotel in Puerto Natales. The roads continue to be blocked, and we have no idea when we will be able to get to the airport in Punta Arenas. In essence we are being held political prisoners since we are not able to leave this small town and this country.  Does anyone remember “Missing”.

Update as of 3 PM local. We were looking at an option to return to Argentina and fly back from Calafate. A bus would bring us to the road block and we would have to walk across with our entire luggage. Another bus would pick us up on the other side. The protesters told the driver we could walk across the line, but they would then destroy the bus. So we are probably spending another night in Puerto Natales. The harbor was also closed due to the strike, so that also was not an option.

Update at 5 PM Local. We just checked back into the Hotel.

Fishing Boat in Pureto Natales Harbor. Image taken with a Leica D-Lux 5 camera (David J Mathre)
Fishing Boat in Pureto Natales Harbor. Image taken with a Leica D-Lux 5 camera (David J Mathre)
Hotel Australis in Pureto Natales overlooking the "Fjord of Last Hope." Image taken with a Leica V-Lux 20 camera (David J Mathre)
Hotel Australis in Pureto Natales overlooking the “Fjord of Last Hope.” Image taken with a Leica V-Lux 20 camera (David J Mathre)

22-January-2011 edit: Check out Thom Hogan’s blog about being held hostage in southern Chile.

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

5 thoughts on “Thursday (13-January-2011) — Chile”

    1. Our trip leader contacted the US Embassy in Santiago. The marine on emergency phone duty had not heard that there was a problem. Information about this is being suppressed. Information needs to get out to the world press.

      1. Well at least they now know about it. What action are they taking? They are probably so busy with the mud slides in Brazil that Chile takes 2nd place. Our news is filled with the shootings in Tuscon and the floods in Australia.

        1. The US Embassy in Santiago did issue a press release today that there might be travel restrictions or delays in the southern regions and Torres del Paine National Park. I don’t think that they have a clue to the magnitude of the problem. There are seveal hundred tourists from multiple countries here in Puerto Natales, more in Punta Arenas where there is a bigger blockade to the airport. We were one of the last groups to get out of the National Park (a focus of the protest) where there are now 4000-5000 tourists stranded. Fuel will soon be a problem in Punta Arenas, so even if we get to the airport not sure we will be able to fly out. Yesterday, the protesters wouldn’t even let ambulances out of the town. As a good sign today, the Navy vessel docked right outside the hotel has been reoccupied by Navy personel. The local Guardia don’t appear to be doing anything other than observe as long as there is no violence.

          1. Did you get Erik’s e-mail concerning phone (googlevoice) that hey have set up for you. There is now plenty of info from the internet on the seriousness of the strike. They say if you get to Arenas airport there will be a blockade and you need to walk into the airport…quite a distance. Argentina might be a better bet. Have you registered with the Red Cross? They are at a school there…no food or beds, but atleast you are registered as being in the area. The embassy now is issuing a warning to all travelers to the area. Stay safe..Mom

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