08 November, 2012

Island Girl Returns to Chile

Don writes.....

"Island Girl is now in Chile on the last leg of her journey back to the Putu Dunes.  She has already travelled more than a quarter of the way around the Earth to get this far (11834 km / 7353 miles since leaving Baffin Island), and still has 1585 km (985 mi) to go.
She flew 446 km (277 mi) yesterday, and roosted last night about 50 kilometers south of Iquique and 600 meters from the ocean.  Today she seems to be resting from the long day yesterday - she was still remaining close to her roost site by late afternoon."
277 miles for the day. That is one of her longest single day distances this fall season.

And it only took her seven days to cross all of Peru, six really if we count half days. Hard to drive across it all in that amount of time.
She put in for the night about 271 km (168 miles) into Chile and about 69 km (43 miles) south of Iquique. Incidentally, this is one of the most beautiful desert towns in this country. We were amazed by both its sophistication and beauty. Wish I could have stayed there longer last spring.
Looks like Island Girl slept on a rock on the slope overlooking the coastal plain last night. We've often seen her do this before in Chile.
There is a shipping terminal just to her north with a ship at one of the docks and a haul road leading up the coastal slopes and into the desert, apparently to collect ore.
If you look on Google Earth and scan about 40 miles to the NE towards the Pan-American Highway, you'll see what looks at first to be a town.
However, if you drill down, you'll see the Pampa Del Tamarugac National Reserve, a completely man-made forest planted in the desert with vast rows of trees stretching across the desert.
It was quite a surprise when we drove through this area last April.

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