The marble caverns of lake General Carrera
I want to share with you a text that reproduces in a marvellous way the excursion we offer to the Marble Caves when you stay in Mallin Colorado Ecolodge. Written by my friend Lito Tejada-Flores for the photography book "Unknown Patagonia" of his wife, the landscape photographer Linde Waidhofer.
"The blue light that seems to rise from the waters of Lago Carrera never disappoints, but it is at its very strangest inside the marble caverns eroded by wave action over centuries at the base of steep cliffs and stone stacks near the lake’s western end. The rock here is real marble. And locals know the most prominent of these improbable formations as la Caterdral de Mármol and la Capilla de Mármol the Marble Cathedral and the Marble Chapel. And there are multiple caves in the lakeside cliffs that have no name at all.
An improbable vein of marble runs north to south, clear across the western end of this giant lake. The rock is a swirling mix of shades of white and gray. The marble appears near the semi-abandoned mining town of Puerto Sanchez on the northern shore; forms the low cliffs that encircle a large island, Isla Panicini; then surfaces as a large peninsula beside the port town of Puerto Tranquilo; and finally reappears in a few small caves on the southern shore of the lake near Puerto Guadal. Why marble? Why here and nowhere else along the lake? Questions we put to all our geologist friends—questions they haven’t yet answered.
At Bahía Mansa, Gentle Bay, a few miles east of Puerto Tranquilo, a desperately steep dirt road winds down to a hidden boat landing. A frontier post between reality and unreality. Ten minutes later your small boat enters a private universe, a private world of sculpted marble and haunting blue light.
Your gaze doesn’t stop, doesn’t even pause, at the lake’s surface, but dives beneath the water like the marble cliffs themselves, plunging down into a blue clarity, 20 feet, 30 feet, more, each fissure, each detail of the rock still crystal-clear under the water. An impossible lake filled with impossible blue light. Without the photographs as evidence you might think it was only a dream. It wasn’t, but it is."