Be part of this exclusive photo expedition to the remotest corner of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia. Follow in the footsteps of Magellan and Darwin
Private charter departure date and itinerary especially designed for our group taking a maximum 14 passengers. A unique journey highlighting the diverse and stunning scenery of this region. Glaciers, fjords as well as local ethnic cultural aspects and some of the world’s southernmost archeological sites. A great itinerary for marine mammals including Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Elephant and Leopard Seals along with Sea Lions. Impressive breeding colonies of Albatross, King Penguins, Magellanic Penguins and other seabirds.
By now we are sure you will be delighted by the great photo opportunities offered by the impressive scenery of the Chilean Fjords; lush sub-Antarctic woodlands, pristine beaches (offering shelter and food to a great array of waterbirds), and rugged snowy peaks indicating the near presence of the mighty Patagonian Andes. You may weill feel like explorers during this journey of discovery, sailing to the remote regions of the western Tierra del Fuego including Riesco Island.
We have two days in the region to explore the recently established ‘Francisco Coloane’ Marine Park. This park protects the marine biodiversity of the western branches of this famous sea passage. This magnificent area encloses Carlos III Island and its surrounding waters, possessing a vast and unique biological diversity. This diversity is due in part to the mixing of the two oceans, Pacific and Atlantic, the productive upwellings, strong westerly winds, the presence of glaciers and the dismembered coastline. This park holds a summer population of Humpback Whales, Orca and occasional Sei whale, all of whom use these waters as a feeding ground.
There will be whale watching excursions using inflatable zodiac boats. If we are lucky, we may see the endemic and scarce Chilean Dolphin as well as the Burmeister Porpoise while sailing along these waters. We will also visit large breeding colonies of Sea Lions, Fur Seals and Magellanic Penguin. There will be an on board lecture on long-term population studies related to these whales, and we will learn about marking and identification techniques. We will have the balance of the afternoon to see these whales at close quarters. This intimate experience will be enriched by the beautiful mountains, glaciers and pristine forests of Seno Ballena and Rupert Island.
Today is an exciting day of exploration following the nights sail through the Magdalena Channel towards De Agostini Sound. Dawn should see us ready for the Aguila Glacier. Time for sea kyaking before departing for the Serrano Glacier for the night.
‘Alberto De Agostini’, named after this illustrious Italian explorer and missionary. The rugged Tucker Islets are a bird paradise with penguins, cormorants, skuas, gulls and terns, nesting in dense colonies. The ‘De Agostini’ Fjord is one of the many deep fjords present on the Brecknock Peninsula, which has been formed by colossal glacial action. The Fuegian Andes hold a huge icefield, the southernmost in South America, which extends for nearly 9,000 sq. miles. We will also visit the impressive Aguila Glacier.
After visiting Vergara Glacier ee will sail into the Almirantazgo Sound, passing through the very scenic Gabriel Channel, also called the ‘Waterfall Channel’. We should be able to count as many as 100 waterfalls streaming down from the cliffs as we sail these calm waters followed by Albatrosses and Petrels. This stretch of water is nearly 20 nautical miles. The narrowest point is known as the ‘Gabriel Narrows' and while passing this landmark we rememeber the skilled sailors of the past, like the Spaniard Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who explored these seaways in 1580!
The ship enters the fascinating Almirantazgo Sound with its many fjords, bays and tidewater glaciers. This huge sound penetrates deeply into the heart of the western Tierra del Fuego region and on to the Darwin Range. This remote and pristine region was first explored by, HMS ‘Adventure’ and HMS ‘Beagle’ and its name, given in 1826 by Captain Philip Parker King, honors the British Admiralty. This area holds important wildlife highlights, including a small breeding site of Southern Elephant Seal, a recently-discovered Black-browed Albatross rookery. In addition you can usually see interesting marine mammals such as the striking Commerson’s Dolphin and the feared Leopard Seal.
From here our journey continues towards Azopardo Bay where we hope to see black browed albatross. It is then palnned to anchor at Parry Fjord.
Dawn will see us surrounded by impressive cliffs and amazing glaciers. We will be in the seldom-visited Parry Fjord. This remote sound pierces deeply into the backbone of Tierra del Fuegos Darwin Ranges. The Andes, at these latitudes, are deflected and oriented eastwards covered by a colossal ice sheet. This produces many calving glaciers and deep fjords. If we are lucky and have some hours of clear conditions, we would be able to see one of its more conspicuous mountains, the peak of Mount Darwin (2,438 mt).
We will keep exploring the south-west arm of Parry Fjord in an attempt to spot Leopard Seals, which usually haul out to rest on the ice-floes. During the afternoon we will also visit Albatross Islet, located at the head of the Almirantazgo Sound. Within this sound there is a small rookery of Black-browed Albatross. This breeding colony has only recently been discovered and nearly 100 breeding pairs of this medium-sized albatross species (usually called mollymauks) nest here. We will land at the islet, weather permitting and view these magnificent seabirds at very close quarters.
Western Tierra del Fuego can be an extreme land in terms of weather, but one of extraordinary beauty. It is a remote and pristine region characterized by the presence of countless islands resulting in a labyrinth of channels and straits, deep fjords and bays.
The mountains here are referred to as the Fuegian Andes or more often as the Darwin Range, and their summits reach an average of 6,000 feet. The continuity of the Andes range is compromised at these latitudes. Interruptions such as the Straits of Magellan result in the Andean massif loosing height, deflecting eastwards along the whole southern flank of the main island.
The now silent channels and bays were formerly the domain of canoe using nomadic, hunters and gatherers, strikingly adapted to survive in this most harsh region of South America. The Yamana successfully occupied these regions some 6,000 years ago, earning a sound knowledge of their hostile environment and its resources. Sadly, after only a brief encounter with Western explorers, they have all but vanished from the far south.
Today will see Tuckers Ise for more magnficent wildlife viewing. We then sail towards Fitton Bay and its stunning glacier.
Today is our last day of exploration and we will arrive back through the Gabriel Channel to Punta Arenas arriving about 18:00hrs. Here you can take a flight back to Santiago for connecting flights home. Or, you may be staying longer in the region.
Map of Region:
This will be a small group - maximum 16 persons and minium of 10. Participants will be from several countries (mainly Europe) and English is the common language. We can advise on suitable clothing and how to maximise the clothing you already possess.
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