Crossing borders
The Andean Lake Crossing, Argentina

Incidentally, a few days after my visit, the volcano we were just metres away from erupted spectacularly. I’m glad that I had not scattered some of Erin here, as I would have most definitely attributed the eruption with her presence there and it would have played on my mind as to whether she was happy or angry that I did so.




We continue onwards to the shore of Todos los Santos Lake where we board a modern catamaran at Petrohué Pier. Todos los Santos Lake is so-called because of the Jesuits who were the first Europeans to see it on All Saints Day way back in 1670. It is also known as the Emerald Lake, due to its deep green colours.

As we cross the magnificent water, I look back at the majestic Osorno, Puntiagudo and Tronador volcanoes as I also capture vivid, green images of the lake on my camera. At one specific moment, the sun hits the water and the sparkles from the emerald green hues catch my eye. Emotion overcomes me. Erin had always loved deep greens. At times when she would wear the colour, the green in her eyes sparkled just like the water, especially in contrast to her bright red hair. I instinctively reach for my vial of ashes as the boat rocks gently towards a small island in the distance – a lone, solitary, beautiful mound of land in the middle of this open, expansive lake.

I ask what it is called. I’m told that the name translates to ‘Margarita Island’ and I immediately know, that Erin, or at least part of her, is home. Erin and I weren’t shy when it came to sharing cocktails together and something about all these happy coincidences and combinations of names, colours and sublime beauty just felt right. I’ve not told anyone who is travelling with me what I’m doing, nor did I ask for permission to do so, I don’t feel the need. I walk outside onto the deck, calmly. The sunlight suddenly disappears and rain begins to drizzle a tearful cry. And just as I have done three other times before this, in three different locations around the world, I let her go.

Travelling here is extraordinary enough – it’s every photographer and nature-buffs’ dream, let me tell you that. But for me, this trip is special as I am able to have a little moment where I can say goodbye to a dear friend. Even though I had already done it various times before and I will still continue to do so, it made this Andean crossing into Bariloche even more incredible.

David’s Andean lake crossing was made possible by Borello Travel & Tours, often recognized for being among the best tour operators in Argentina, although they cater for the entire South American continent with various types of luxury travel experiences.

Get out there

Do…

… pack appropriate adventure gear. There’s definitely a price-fixing game going on in the local villages as I think many people forget, judging by the cost to buy a kit on either side of the crossing.

… take the opportunity to be adventurous and navigate the Limay River by inflatable boat. Here you’ll view volcanic rock formations, a natural habitat for bird species, deer and guanacos.

Don’t…

… forget your bathing suit; luxury properties on either side of the lake offer thermal pools and hot-tubs with spectacular views. Warm-blooded visitors may consider taking a dip in the lake.

… worry if you are too short on time to do the crossing, you can still visit the ‘twin cities’ of Puerto Varas and Bariloche. Both are accessible by flying from Santiago and Buenos Aires respectively.