Wednesday 18 June 2014

Day 42: Dust Storm Central

En route to Calama in the dust storm.
Little did we know this spell of bad weather was
a once in 6 years phenomenon... just our luck!
For today, we had booked a tour of the vast Chuquicamata copper mine near Calama and for once we had company.  The  foul weather had closed the pass over to Argentina so we gave some stranded travellers a lift to Calama instead.  We drove through legions of dust, only to find the mine closed due to the storm when we arrived.  The airport, where we had to drop off the car, wasn't much better - most flights were cancelled and the car rental desk was unmanned.  Well, at least we didn't have to answer any questions about our off-road activities!  Car-less again, we all took the bus back to San Pedro.

On the way, the lurid yellow world of migrant dust created some strange effects on the surrounding mountains.  A volcano that I might have mentioned before (yes, Licancabur again) hid its head in cloud while light played on its lower slopes.  It craved to be photographed (for the last time?).

Bad weather meant abandoning our Lascar attempt. Life's too short to spend climbing volcanos in a storm!
By the time we'd driven 30 minutes the clouds had descended further... and there was still 3 more hours to drive down dirt roads to get out.
The dust storm envelops the giant wind farm near to Calama
A brief respite gives us another view of the majestic Volcan Licancabur... must go back and climb this one day!

No comments:

Post a Comment