The sheer size of Perito Moreno glacier – 30km long, 5km wide and 60 meters high – is surprisingly not the reason so many people flock here. In a world where glaciers seem to all be retreating, this one defies the odds and is advancing around 2 meters per day. All that ice constantly pushing forward means action a plenty at the calving end, conveniently located near a series of boardwalks and viewing platforms.
From our arrival in the early morning until our reluctant departure in the afternoon, we see, hear and almost feel each time a chunk of ice breaks free and slams into the water below. The scale is inconceivable, evidenced by the seemingly “tiny” pieces constantly breaking free. These little pieces look small enough for me to carry around, though when they hit the water, the sound takes over a second to reach us, the first sign something is amiss. When it finally reaches our ears, the very loud <crack> is just like a gunshot, causing everyone to jump.
More than a few times we see enormous slabs break free, smashing down into the water with such force the splash reaches back to the top of the glacier, and the ensuing wave triggers ever more collapses. One of the most surreal evens I witness occurs when a couple of enormous pieces rise up from under the water and smash into the face of the glacier – I can only guess they broke off underwater – the volume of water pouring off as they bob to the surface is hard to grasp.
Sitting down close to water level watching all this, with explosions, eruptions and cave-ins, complete with sound effects in every direction makes we wonder if we’ve entered the set of some kind of weird war movie. Absolutely unbelievable.
While we didn’t witness a collapse of this magnitude, this youtube video shows just how close it’s possible to get to this spectacle.
It may seem a little expensive at $USD25, but I would happily pay it again.