DAY 3: Lake Nahuel Huapi of Bariloche
We head towards Puerto Pañuelo, driving along the coastal avenue of Ezekiel Bustillo, past public beaches, rolling hills, and quaint homes built of wooden shingles now stained with years of humidity. We board a large catamaran and sail Lake Nahual Huapi, the surface of which is now rippling under the strong morning winds. The sun is now peeking through the clouds, revealing tints of blue and green in the water around us. Flocks of seagulls glide overhead, searching for those passengers willing to donate a cracker or two.
Our first stop is the Quetrihue Peninsula. Here, organized trails wrap through the enchanting Arrayanes Forest, overflowing with these slender cinnamon-colored trees. At the touch, these twisted limbers are quite cold due to a faint bark of just 1 mm that protects their exterior.
We embark once more aboard our catamaran, sailing past weathered piers, jagged mountains, and clusters of pine trees that line the passing shores. We arrive to Victoria Island, once named Nahuel Huapi ("Tiger Island") among indigenous tribes before the arrival of European settlers. A dense pine forest has overtaken the island. Most trees appear dead and dry with the exception of verdant needles that grace their towering tops as each one competes for sunlight. Strong sequioas also grow here, providing further shade for resident foxes and deer, including the rare pudú which first inspired Walt Disney to create "Bambi".
This evening, we explore a few high-end residential neighborhoods, all defined by stylish cabin-like homes characteristic of the region. Unlike larger cities of Argentina, like Mendoza and Buenos Aires, these homes do not use barb wire or razor sharp fences for protection. Instead, such homes offer small wooden gates and welcoming stone paths that lead to their front door.
The legendary Llao Llao Hotel, overlooking Lake Nahuel Huapi
A traditional phone booth blending in with the landscape
Departing from Puerto Pañuelo
Catamaran picking up passengers
Sailing the open blue waters
A ravishing young couple
Our feathered cruise companion overhead
Feeding one of several "gaviotas"
The shadows of towering Arrayanes trees
A twisted tree on Quetrihue Peninsula
A romantic gathering in the woods
An enchanting path inside Bosque Arrayanes
A dock along the beach of Victoria Island
Rays of light and smoke on Isla Victoria
The remnants of a weathered pier
A dock...temporarily out of service