On both sides of Magellanov Strait

City of Punta Arenas in the extreme south of Chile His inhabitants call "end of light": The fact is that he is on the shore of Magellanov Strait, that is, on the edge of the continental part of South America. Due to the inaccessibility of the area to Punta Arenas there is no land road in Chilean territory. On land where you can get there only through neighboring Argentina. Now Punta Arenas – the capital of the southern region Chile Magalnes. Foreign tourists arrive here to go on the fiery land or to Antarctica. From here, numerous Antarctic expeditions start, here make ships going on the mainland of ice.

This small town immediately fascinated me with its cozy streets, low dilapidated buildings that contrast with powerful bright green cypresses and araucaria, naked to Earth strong wind. Perhaps the only thing that creates a feeling of discomfort – this is an ice wind that blows most of the year. "Now here is the best weather, warm!" – Funny tells me a taxi driver, looking, as I can’t get warm even in the car. Later I understood that under the definition "warmly" Local residents imply such weather when there is no rain and occasionally breaks the sun.

Life is leisurely here, as, probably, in any city, located far from the noise of megacities. In the morning on Saturday, for example, almost everything is closed: shops, restaurants, travel agencies. Souvenir shops on the small central square of Punta-Arenas Munos-Gamero begin to discover. They can buy warm things from Lama’s wool, as well as the symbol of the region of Magalopean – Toy Penguins.

In the center of the square – a monument to Fernuna Magellan. The great navigator looking at the fiery ground, towers over the sculptures of the Indian population, which colonizers in the XIX century have almost destroyed. In the Regional Museum of Punta-Arenas say that, by the way, it was thanks to Magellan that these lands began to be called Patagonia. The traveler was amazed by seeing the size of the foot of one of the Indians who inhabited these lands, and exclaimed: "Ah, Patagon!", that translated from Portuguese means "Oh what big leg!". Because of this legend, the inhabitants of the Magalunes appeared belief that the touch to the foot of the Indian on the monument brings good luck.

In the museum you can also learn a lot of interesting about the history of the city and this unusual region. Punta Arenas was founded in 1848 on the basis of the first settlement of colonialists – Bouling fortresses, located now 50 kilometers from the city. From the site of the ferris at the entrance to the fortress there is a picturesque view of the Islands of Magellanov Strait. In clear weather, the infamous island of Dawson is visible in clear weather, which is the locals call "Damned Mesal". At the end of the XIX century, this small block of the Earth became the last refuge for several dozen Indians of the Culture of Selknam, survivors after their mass extermination by the colonizers. And during the years of dictatorship in Chile (1973 – 1990), the opponents of the Pinochet regime referred here.

Over time, the residents of the Bouins fortress decided to move closer to the water and founded the city on the site of modern Punta Arenas. His name appeared from the definition "Sandy place", which were marked on the maps of the British navigators of the beginning of the century. In just a few years, Punta Arenas turned into a major economic center. The location of the Strait on the shore of Magellanov. Since at that time the Panama Canal was also not in the messenger, this waterway was the only one for which the ships fell from the Atlantic Ocean in a quiet. In Punta Arenas, they made a stop and reserved provisions. Entrepreneurs from different countries of the world arrived in the city, and sometimes here, in Chilean territory, it was difficult to hear Spanish speech. But English, French and even Russian heard quite often. One of the major entrepreneurs who worked here was a descendant of Russian emigrants Maurisio Brown.

Opening in 1920, the Panama Canal reduced the significance of Magellanov Strait and with him Punta Arenas. Navigators did not have to deal with the harsh weather conditions of southern waters of Chile and Argentina to get into the Pacific Ocean. The second revival of the region of Magalues ​​and Punta Arenas was in the middle of the 20th century, when oil and natural gas reserves were found in the area. Here again began to arrive foreigners, thirsty enrichments. Natural resources had enough, however, for a while: now there are already practically no. Despite the fact that today in Punta Arenas has a number of large enterprises, in recent years, the economic significance of the Magalopean region has significantly decreased. As, however, its population has decreased. The main source of income here are tourists who arrive annually to admire local beauties.

In many interesting places of the extreme south of Chile from Punta Arenas, you can get mainly on the water. Therefore, tourists are advised to go here in the summer (from December to March). During the rest of the year, weather conditions here are more severe, and the navigation of the strait is complicated.

To visit penguins

Before you feel like a real traveler, crossed legendary Magellan Strait, and in its widest part, I decided to try my hand at a shorter sea walk and get acquainted with the long-lasting inhabitants of the Strait Islands – Penguins.

Magdalena Island, located just an hour from Punta Arenas, can be called, probably one of the most densely populated places in Chile. That’s just inhabit it is not people, but penguins. On a small block of land, about 120 thousand individuals live. Magdalena, along with a nearby Island of March, make up the National Natural Park, announced in 1982 by the protected area. His home Penguins chose these places a few more centuries ago. Every year, at the beginning of the season, males arrive the first to the island to explore the situation, and their families are tightened behind them. The whole island is exist with nonoras in which the birds lay eggs and hide from the cold. Interestingly, even after the appearance of chicks, they do not throw housing, and each year they return to their holes.

Previously, Magdalene was often visited by the Indians, but not for the sake of rest, and in order to hunt the penguins, walrles and sea elephants, which on the island was much more than now. However, the danger emanating from the Indians did not affect the credulity and the friendliness of these seabirds in relation to people.

Barely freezing our ship, which twice a week brings tourists to the island with "Big land", Penguins are going to stinks at the shore. They, of course, behave carefully, but curiosity and many years of confidence that people with cameras and cameras in their hands will not make them anything bad, make them stay on the shore. During the stay on the island, it is forbidden to speak loudly, run and approach penguins too close. The last rule, however, violates the birds themselves, which are boldly flying under the rope stretched all over the island and stroll right in front of the nose from tourists. Sometimes penguins themselves go to contact with people, stretching to them wings. However, the birds should not be touched, because they can hit the beak. The best time to visit Magdalena – from October to April: at this time there is relatively warm, and penguins do not hide in the holes from the cold wind, but prefer to walk around the island.

A little journey on Magdalene created me deceptive impressions of the Magellan Strait. On the way to the island, the ship swung just a few times, and I thought that a three-hour journey to the fiery land with a return on the same day I was completely on the shoulder.

Sad History Selknam

The next day, early in the morning I went to the port again to get to the ferry, going to the city of Porenir at the Chilean part of the fiery land. A large number of people with bags, bags, suitcases and bales alert. From the atmosphere of yesterday’s sightseeing, there is no trace. This is understandable. Ferry "Melinka", Accommodating 300 people – the only means of movement, which is 6 times a week, forwards the locals to the island and back. Sometimes in bad weather, even this message is interrupted, and then it is not easy to get out of the fiery ground.

Watching the reinforcement wind and the fact that the loading process is not visible to the end – so many wishing to swim on the island, – I’ve been crying for a moment: whether it is worth going to the fiery land. If suddenly the weather worsen, I thought, I can stay on the fiery ground it is unknown how much, and tomorrow the plane in Santiago. However, when looking at the vigorous colleagues-tourists, the courage came back to me, and I decided that if I stay there, then not one would download the right and demand in any weather to send a ferry back. In the end, get to "End of Light" and not to visit the legendary fiery land seemed to me stupid.

This archipelago, which is considered the largest in South America, was shrouded in secrets, travel stories and unmeasurable wealth, which here allegedly hid the Indians of the majestic Empire Inca. The name of the island also appeared thanks to Magellan. Swapping through the strait in 1520, the traveler saw high pillars of smoke above the island. As it became known later, smoke went from the fires, which the Indians fastened in their housing. Magellan himself was not destined to get acquainted with the local population, but he saw him called "Earth smoke". Later the Spanish King Carlos I decided to rename the island in "Fire Land", Deciding that, according to a famous proverb, "Fire smoke does not happen" And that it sounds poetic.

Later present "opening" Local population – Indians Selknam made British Naturalist Charles Darwin, landed in 1830 on the island during his legendary round-the-world travel on the ship "Bigl". Darwin was amazed by the primitive face of the Indians, who appeared in front of him naked or covered with skins, with persons painted with paints, and non-digitally spoken sounds. In Ov "Travel zoology on ship "Bigl" Darwin talked about what a pitiful impression was made on him these people, and wondered how in the age of civilization, great scientific discoveries such creatures could still inhabit the Earth. Meanwhile, the culture of Indians to Selknam – one of the most ancient and peculiar civilizations of South America.

Selknam, who led a nomadic lifestyle and appeared on the fiery land another 10 thousand years ago, were the most numerous Indian community on the archipelago. Back in the middle of the nineteenth century, more than 4 thousand Indians numbered on the fiery land. "We are people", – they proudly called themselves: this is exactly what the word in their language means "Sellkam". And the archipelago, which they inhabited, the Indians were called "Karukinka", that is "big Island".

The colonialists that have fallen here at the end of the nineteenth century were surprised in the mighty physique of the Indians, the average growth of which was 180 centimeters. A large collection of death certificates to Slassnam is now kept in the Museum of the city of Porvenir – the capital of the Chilean Province Fire Earth. Here you can familiarize yourself with the objects of the houses of the Indians, their cult ceremonies. According to the mythology to Selknam, in ancient times, the main role in their society belonged to women. Such respect for the woman, however, have achieved a deception for which later and paid. Women invented a rite called "Kloten", during which they disguised as evil spirits and frightened men. When the men revealed their goats, they killed all women, leaving alive only the smallest girls, and took power into their hands. And ritual "Kloten" was based on the ceremony "Hein", on which young young workers were dedicated to men, telling them how to seek obedience from the beautiful half of the tribe.

The beginning of the colonial era on the fiery ground put an end to the culture of the Indians to Selknam. After in 1879, the English traveler George Porter found gold on the fiery land, thousands of people from the countries of Europe and America began to arrive here. The colonizers took a lot of effort to break the resistance of the local population, which, before their arrival, successfully opposed the attempts to penetrate "Big land". The gold kits have already launched their activities in full force, and the Indians of the Selknam did not give up, the point and the case attacking the new owners of the island. The services of hired killers who paid for the head of each Indian were in great demand. This massacre led to the fact that after 10 years, a little more than a thousand Indians remained on the island.

In 1888, they tried to save the priest José Fangano, arriving in Porvenir. He founded the parish on the island of Dawson in the Magellan Strait, where the remaining Indians transported. However, such a relocation led to their death, and not to salvation: the remaining representatives of the Selkn died here from the diseases they did not know before arrival "White people", as well as inability to adapt to new conditions. The parish on the island of Dawson closed in 1912, and in the 1920s Anthropologist Martin Gusinda counted a little more than 270 of the transfectant Indians who survived. Now, only memories remained from the Culture, and their language is considered disappeared. O "Great People", As called Indians colonizers, just reminds the monument "Unknown Indian Selknam" In the cemetery in the city of Punta Arenas, and the sculptural compositions erected on the homeland of Indians – in Porvenira.

On both sides of Magellanov Strait

Despite the fact that the Indians themselves were exterminated, their unusual features of the face and the physique remained inherited by the current residents of the fiery land and Punta Arenas. Of course, they are not all on one face. But to distinguish "Firezemelsev" From the rest of the Chileans with pronounced features of other Indian crops is quite simple: they are given primarily unusual dark-black shade of the skin and a strong physique. What they definitely inherited from "Great People", – It’s friendly and friendly character. Foreign tourists current "Firemensels" take quite good-naturedly and willingly talk about their lives on the island, its harsh weather conditions, stories.

On fiery land

But I will be back to my unforgettable travel through Magellan Strait. Before the trip, I read about Magellan and his round-the-world swimming. The great traveler took 32 days to go through the whole strait, which now carries his name. Subsequently, a few decades no one dared to repeat this feat, fearing strong winds, storms and ice rains, which are characteristic of the strait. An hour after our sailing began a real sea horse. The ship lasted from side to side, and what was happening with passengers. It is better not to talk about it.

The island shore, looming far ahead seemed "The land promised". It was impossible to go to the deck of the ship, first of all because because of a strong pitch I could not get on my feet. In the window we saw how a faceless wind opens the ship by water flows. To distract from alarming thoughts, I talked with a neighbor – a resident of the city of Porvenir. A smiling woman, constantly commenting on what exactly it can happen the next moment with the ship and that "This wind is still nothing, it is stronger", It seems that the pitching did not worry. Having learned that I became interested in Russia, my companion became interested and asked whether another radio station works "Moscow". According to Marsela, during the years of dictatorship in Chile, even them, the inhabitants of this remote island, managed to listen to the transfer from Moscow, from which it was possible then to learn about the events in Chile more than in the country itself.

On my question than the inhabitants of the Porvenira generally live and that they keep them on this isolated, difficult to life island, I got an interesting story about Chilean "The city of Future" – Porvenire. Despite the fact that he is considered the capital of the province of Fire Earth and there are about 5.5 thousand inhabitants in it, every year more and more people leave the city and go to live on "Large land". The story of Porvenira began at the end of the nineteenth century, when the English navigator George Porter made the above-mentioned journey to the shores of the fiery land. Porter called the bay in which the city is now located, Porenir, that translated from Spanish means "future". The navigator did not doubt that over time this place will be the source of well-being of not one adventure crawler.

The city appeared in 1894 at the location of the police station created to maintain order among the gold kits. At the end of the nineteenth century, gold mining and other minerals achieved industrial scales here. In Porverira, still preserved cars with which it was done. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the prospectors understood that the gold of the Incs did not find. Distortion of the area, harsh weather conditions and resistance of the local population took dust of gold leaving, and many of them left the city. The picturesque bay, where the Porvenir is located, its inhabitants, no longer separating the optimism of the porter, renamed the bay "Useless", However, the name of the city itself remains the same.

Now Porvenir is a free economic zone. A few years ago, the Chilean authorities adopted the law, which contributed to the opening of industrial enterprises here, including textile factories, fishing companies. In the porenir come to earn not only Chileans, but also foreigners. Numerous tourists who wish to get acquainted with the exotic land of the Earth, also contribute a great contribution to the fact that the Porvenir, who originally conceived as "city ​​of the future", did not become history.

When, after another two hours, the lighthouse on the fiery land finally appeared clearly, and the ship went into the bay, where the wind is not so strong, I already considered Porenir if we do not hear, then the best city on earth. Better stay to live on the fiery ground, what I swim back, I decided for myself. However, the ice wind, which is so strong here that sometimes blows up, quickly led to a feeling after a tiring journey.

On Sunday, in Porvenira, it seems that the entire population blew up in an incessant penetrating wind. Only tourists are found on the streets, and occasionally drive cars. Catch a taxi you can only at a special stop with a small boat accompanying one – two people. Taxi drivers from a strong wind are hiding there in anticipation of a few passengers. From the site of Ferrusing, Porvenira opens a picturesque view of the bay, the raging Magellan Strait and "Large land".

Walking half a day in the city, I understand that it will have to return to return after all. In the small port of Porvenira, magnificently towers on the background of the shabby fishing boys of our ferry "Melinka". On the stones heated by the Sun, looked at the very eyes, the tourists are sitting with a bunch, something resembling penguins. On frozen faces, fatigue and willingness quickly go to warm hotels, restaurants and warm up wonderful Chilean wine. With this thought and I sit on the stones and is patiently waiting for landing, worrying that the wind increases. When one of the passengers is suitable for me and with horror in my eyes, it says that sending the ferry is delayed for 3 hours and back it will go at 8 pm, I first think it’s a bad joke or he misunderstood. However, seeing how a group of tourists is sadly climbing the stones and heads to the only cafe in this port, grimly following them. Thoughts arise no longer about the warmth hotel, but about how much I want to in Santiago, preferably scheduled tomorrow flight.

The owners of the cafe, not believing his happiness at the sight of such a number of visitors, politely begin to serve. To brighten the wait, I decided to try the royal crab to which these edges are famous. It turned out – there are no crabs, because they are forbidden to catch them in this period of year. Weakly trying to argue that I already tried him yesterday in the restaurant of Punta Arenas, but I understand that I was deceived – the crab was ice cream. The next two hours are held in a tense anxiety waiting. News are increasingly sad: the wind increases, the ship is most likely not swimming today. Maybe even tomorrow.

I sit and sad think my fears start to come true. But everyone ever ends. We sat in a cafe for 5 hours, ate all the supplies and drank all the coffee, after which the team decided to swim. At this moment it is not known where the crowd of local residents appeared from, who also want to get to the ferry. Three-hour pitching on the way back was tedious, but not so terrible: we were pleased that we managed to get out of this desert place today. And I probably felt something similar to the fact that in the distant past – navigators, for whom the Storm and Wind Magellanov Strait were behind. Is it worth saying that a small Punta Arenas upon arrival seemed to me the capital of the world.

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