Two Ships: The Lady Rose and the Modesta Victoria

Aboard the MV Lady Rose in 2004

I have always liked Canada. While we were losing our minds and preparing for a second Civil War, Canada remained itself—calm, reasonable, sane. One of the highlights of my 20014 trip to British Columbia was an all-day cruise from Port Alberni to Bamfield and back. The Alberni Inlet and Barkley Sound extends for many miles of isolated houses and logging camps, many of which were supplied by the packet freighter MV Lady Rose. I understand the ship is no longer being used for that purpose. On the plus side, she is at Tofino awaiting restoration at Jamie’s Whaling Station.

There is something about small ships that intrigues me. In Argentina, I took the Modesta Victoria on Lago Nahuel Huapi to Los Arrayanes National Park. The Modesta Victoria was built around the same time as the MV Lady Rose, though in the Netherlands rather than Glasgow. The Modesta victoria has recently celebrated 75 years of navigation on Lago Nahuel Huapi, which sits in the foothills of the Andes in Argentinian Patagonia.

The Modesta Victoria at Anchor

My day cruises aboard both ships were among the highlights of both vacations. The Alberni Inlet was lovely, abounding in bears and other wildlife. And the Modesta Victoria’s cruise to Los Arrayanes was spectacular. It is said (though probably this is a myth) that the orange trunks of the Arrayanes trees were the inspiration for the forest in Walt Disney’s Bambi.

The Magical Forest

A Forest of Chilean Myrtles at Los Arrayanes National Park

A Forest of Chilean Myrtles at Los Arrayanes National Park

One of the sights I most wanted to see on my recent trip to Argentina and Chile was Los Arrayanes National Park on the Quetrihué Peninsula. We arrived there on a fantastic old boat (more about which in a future post) from Puerto Panuelos near San Carlos Bariloche.

There is a prevalent myth that Disney was inspired by the look of the Luma apiculata (Chilean Myrtle) trees for his cartoon feature Bambi (1942); but, alas, Disney did not visit Argentina until three years later. Still, it is possible that he knew of and was inspired by the forest before his visit.

These trees with their orange-colored bark grow only in the Patagonian Lakes District of Argentina and Chile between 33° and 45° South Latitude. They range from 33 to 49 feet (10 to 15 meters) tall.

Typically it is possible to take a tour to Los Arrayanes which also includes Isla Victoria on Lago Nahuel Huapi, where one can see Sequoias and Ponderosa Pines imported from California over a century ago.