The Parque Nacional Bosque de Arrayanes was created to preserve the great stands of Arrayanes trees on the Quetrihué Peninsula. The Arrayanes is in the Eucalyptus family and is a very slow growing tree. The one that Dale is leaning against could be as much as 600 years old!
The Arrayanes propagate by seed and also from fallen branches that then sprout, kind of like the way bamboo and sugarcane grows from rhizomes. Here’s a branch that’s already growing skyward, even before it has fallen from the main trunk.
Close inspection proves the Arrayanes relationship to the Eucalyptus: same type of bark (we saw Eucalyptus trees on Kangaroo Island in the south of Australia several years ago).
We only had 45 minutes to explore Arrayanes Forest before we had to be back on the Cau Cau.
From Quetrihué Peninsula, we had a 30 minute ride to Isla Victoria, where we stopped for an hour and a half. On Victoria Island, Sebastian, one of the English-speaking mates, offered to walk with us. Climbing uphill from the dock, we came upon the same tree that we had seen and liked so much in El Bolsón. Sebastian was very familiar with this tree, which, it turns out, is not in the cactus family which is what we had thought. You can see why we thought it was a type of cactus by looking at the “leaves.”
The tree is actually a conifer like the Norfolk Pine. It’s called a Monkey Tree and it’s the Chilean National tree. The Monkey Tree can live as long as 1,500 years! Unlike most trees, the Monkey Tree can’t reproduce itself; there are male and female trees and they need to be near each other to pollinate. The one on El Bolson was female (Sebastian could tell from the photo I took of it because of the size and shape of its pinecones); the specimen we saw on Isla Victoria was a male tree.
As we walked around Isla Victoria with Sebastian, we started noticing that many of the trees looked familiar to us. Sebastian explained that years ago, the island had been logged and the government decided to undertake a reforestation program by first planting several different species from around the world to see which would grow the best.
Here I am in front of a Sequoia tree imported from California.
There were lots of Sequoia. You can see them in this picture on the right; the trees on the left are the native Coihue tree which we’ve seen all around Bariloche.
After our tour with Sebastian, we had some time to stroll along the beach.
That’s not sand you see in the picture, above. It’s pumice from a volcanic eruption from a nearby volcano in Chile in 2010. The pumice covered the lake and then floated up on shore.
Walking on the beach felt and sounded like walking on popcorn.
On the way back to the boat, we found some lavender (notice the neat patio deck made out of sawed tree trunks).
Time to get back on board for our trip back to Puerto Puńuelo.