2009 Argentine Expedition


  Mermaids?  In Argentina??

Tuesday - our first day in the field, so to speak.  Dawn is breaking beautifully over the Andes and the lake.  If you have ever been to Bavaria, you would see the similarities for sure.


But there is no time to reflect on the beauty of the area - we are here to learn and discover, so we set out along a dirt road - we are being generous with that description of the rocky area we drove on and began our week-long beating of the rental vans.  We headed for the grave of Ludwig Graf von Bülow.  By pure coincidence, this normally lonely stretch of rocks.....sorry, I mean road - was the site of a random police checkpoint.  Since we had to go through a fence past signs that said 'No Pasar' (it means Sharkhunters Welcome Here!)   NAHUEL felt it a good idea to chat with the police...........and tell them that our two German Members (RIGOLF and RALPH) were of the family of the Baron and came all the way here from Germany to visit the grave of their great-great-grandfather.  It must have worked as the cops told us to go right ahead and go through the fence......or maybe they just didn't care.


If we compare these photos with the ones taken by HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) at this grave last year, it is apparent that time and this giant Argentine Pine tree will soon obliterate the grave.  Who was Ludwig Graf von Bülow?  The Count (Graf) was the manager of this massive ranch that we have been calling the 'Estancia' way back during World War One when (then) Oberleutnant zur See Wilhelm Canaris escaped prison in Chile (or bribed his way out) after the cruiser DRESDEN was lost in the Pacific.  Canaris made the dangerous trek across the Andes on horseback and when he arrived in the little town of 'Stadt' he realized it was just like Bavaria.  He was a guest at the 'Estancia' until he was repatriated to Germany when he ultimately became Admiral Canaris, head of the Abwehr secret service and ended his days hanged with piano wire as a consequence of the 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  During the voyage through the Straits of Magellan however, Canaris made very detailed sketches of hidden harbors where ships could safely lie at anchor unseen by ships in the steamer lanes - perfect places for German vessels to hide during a war.  This route was retraced by the old linenschiff SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN in 1938 and all the charts of these hidden places, called "U-Plätze" were updated and put on highly classified and secret charts for use in the near future.


Sharkhunters Members are seeing these secret charts and reading all the incredible behind the scenes spy work that took place here before, during..........and after WW II.  Join Sharkhunters now - you'll be amazed at what was happening here


All this was reported along with many of the charts in the KTB Magazine of Sharkhunters.  In 1944, Großadmiral Karl Dönitz referred to this area as a "Shangri-La for the Führer" and it was obvious that this is where Hitler would find safety after the fall of Germany - but that is indeed, another story.  Below are more photos of our visit to the grave of the Count.


At the grave of the Count.....Luis Graf von Bülow




All this was reported along with many of the charts in the KTB Magazine of Sharkhunters.  In 1944, Großadmiral Karl Dönitz referred to this area as a "Shangri-La for the Führer" and it was obvious that this is where Hitler would find safety after the fall of Germany - but that is another story.  Below are more photos of our visit to the grave of the Count.


As we were leaving the gravesite, climbing through the fence, HALEY found a shovel and a partially dug hole alongside the road.  What was it for?  Who dug it?  We have no idea, but it was very recent.


From the grave of Graf von Bülow we go to the Berghof of a man named Otto Mehling high atop a nearby mountain.


Research indicates that Otto Mehling was sent to this area in the early 1930's to operate as an Abwehr agent and his task was to lay out an observation network in the mountains around the lake to protect any and all approaches to the estate we will see later.  HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) and NAHUEL COCA (7304-2008) visited this estate in 2008 and those photos are also on our website.  Note how the path up shows a commanding view of much of the lake.  The path was not here when Otto Mehling lived here - he climbed!

Still on the trail up.  Even with the path, it is a tough climb.
Mehling was a rugged guy.

This is not "Che" Guavara - this is our guide and friend NAHUEL.


We reached the Berghof built by Mehling in the 1930's.  He also built his own house nearby and not one to leave anything undone, he also dug his own grave where he rests even today.


The Berghof of Otto Mehling
Some of the skis still in the Berghof.     The crude device used to put the bend in the ski tips.

Much of Mehling's equipment (above left) is still in the Berghof
and as we see right - it had a commanding view of the lake.
A commanding overview of the lake for sure.     Above is at the end of a path from the Berghof.
We told you that Mehling was tough.  Here we see a
photo of him skiing - in his swimming suit!

It is Lunchtime!
After walking up and down the mountainside, we'd worked up a pretty good appetite so we went to the restaurant at the very top of the mountain.  We didn't have to climb the mountain hand over hand as Mehling did some seven decades ago, we took the tram.


Above left - we are aboard.  Above right - we're going up there.........WAY UP THERE!  The view from the top of the mountain is fantastic.  We see the little town of 'Stadt' and the lake in the distance.  It makes a great observation point.


Chelsea looks on as RIGOLF and MARK work hard to turn the rotating restaurant but out the window we see people with steerable parachutes making great use of the updrafts.  The little town of 'Stadt' is seen far, far below as is the lake.


The day is done - almost.
After a great late afternoon lunch, someone suggested that we go to a beach near our hotel and swim a bit or at least lie out on the sun on the beach.  Ah yes, the azure blue sky overhead, the deep blue water and the golden sands of the beach..........

Okay - we have the beautiful azure sky, the deep blue water - we
even have a beautiful mermaid; but where's the golden sand?
Here is our beach........not quite the golden sand,
but it is the beach - really it is.

It really was a great afternoon with plenty of fun and Sharkhunters fellowship.  President HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) provided some laughs for the group as he carefully walked into the cold waters, trying to avoid the rocks - this must be the true definition of 'tenderfoot', and he slipped on a rock, falling flat on his back in the icy waters.  He said it was really an eye opener.

    We ended the day with a great dinner in a superb
restaurant that MARK KRATZ found.

It was really a great day and both CHARLIE ELLIS' daughters HALEY HAYES and Chelsea Ellis said that this was the best vacation they'd ever had.....and they have been all over the world.

Are you enjoying the photo report so far?  We hope so - start to save your money because Sharkhunters WILL RETURN here soon!  Will YOU be with us?  Remember, we can take only a limited number of people.

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