To the Ends of the Earth and Back – Patagonia
A whirlwind trip to Patagonia turned out to be an absolutely unreal experience.
The journey began in Ushuaia, a beautiful city at the end of the world and a stepping stone to Antarctica.
Departing from the port in Ushuaia, we sailed down to Cape Horn and then for 5 days through the fjords of Tierra del Fuego, the Straight of Magellan, and the Beagle Channel.
We sailed through Murray Channel and Nassau Bay, all the way to Cape Horn National Park. The legendary Cape Horn was discovered in 1616 and is a sheer 425-meter high rocky cliff. It was an important navigation route between the Pacific and the Atlantic, and is referred to as the ‘End of the Earth’ at the North end of the Drake Passage. The winds here reached an epic 180 km/hr – neat to experience some of the magnitude of the winds early sailors experienced. And standing on the top deck letting the wind rip through your hair was unreal!
We landed and explored Wulaia Bay, where Charles Darwin landed in 1833 during his voyage on the HMS Beagle. Then, we landed at Pia Fjord after navigating along the Northwest arm of the Beagle Channel. Here the spectacular Pia Glacier was visible, which extends from the mountains right into the sea. The remoteness of the fjord and the surrounding mountain range provided a mysteriousness to this glacier. This was followed by Garibaldi Fjord where we had the opportunity to hike to (and stand in!) a glacial waterfall.
The next day we anchored in Chico Sound and explored Alakaluf Fjord by Zodiac, with views of Piloto and Nena Glaciers.How many chances do you get to ride a zodiac through a fjord of icebergs right up to a glacier, also extending into the sea. The afternoon brought us to De Agostini Sound, right in the heart of the Darwin Mountain Range where we had an opportunity to walk along the beach to Águila Glacier.
The last day before docking in Punta Arenas, we landed at Magdalena Island, located in the middle of the Strait of Magellan. The island is inhabited by a large colony of Magellan Penguins!
Punta Arenas was then the starting point for hiking and camping in Torres del Paine, followed by Los Glaciares to the North. The scenery is epic, the mountains are absolutely stunning, and there is nothing better than camping in a cirque of mountains. And you definitely cannot beat relaxing in the sunshine while Fitz Roy towers over you.
Definitely a trip of a lifetime.