February 3 Puerto Natales
February 4 Puerto Natales to Vancouver
Puerto Natales may be a small town but it still has a Plaza de Armas, complete with statue of military hero, in this case Arturo Prat. But Prat is off to one side, and in the centre of the plaza is the Little Engine that Could. So far we have no idea why it is there.
Puerto Natales is a young town, having been founded only in the late nineteenth century, so it doesn’t have Spanish colonial architecture. In fact when you look closely at many of the buildings you find they are made of asbestos board and sheet metal. But the church stands above them all in beauty.
This building is one of the few heritage buildings that we saw, although we didn’t go much outside the town centre. At present it is being used as a hostel, as are about a hundred other buildings in the town.
Puerto Natales is located on the shore of Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). It is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a maze of islands, channels, and fjords, and is only about 25 kilometres from the Argentinian border.
There was a small flock of Black-necked Swans that were usually to be found near the shore, just north of the town.