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Exploring the Fjords of Patagonia: 4) Pia Glacier

19 Pia Glacier

Having finished a hike in Tierra del Fuego and studied birds up close on Tucker’s Islets, we completed a memorable day with an evening of fine food, good companionship and restful sleep.  During the night our ship re-positioned itself and the next morning’s excursion was a visit to Pia Glacier.

Pia Glacier is in the north-west arm of the Beagle Channel and lies on the Darwin Range.  It’s an advancing glacier, meaning …

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Exploring the Fjords of Patagonia: 3) Bird-watching at Tucker’s Islet

00 Tucker Islets

After our morning hike in Tierra del Fuego we returned to the Australis for lunch and some rest, during which time our ship re-positioned itself in Ainsworth Bay.  Our afternoon excursion was to be entirely on a Zodiac. This is obviously a slower process than zipping us onshore for the morning’s hike as the supply of Zodiacs was limited.

The Zodiacs took us to a small cluster of islands known as Tucker’s Islets.  These lie within the Strait of Magellan and are rich in bird life (note:  Magellan was the Portuguese explorer who visited this region 500 years ago).  We would slowly circle these islands in the Zodiac to observe the different types of birds, slowing to a stop when possible, …

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Exploring the Fjords of Patagonia: 2) A Hike in Tierra del Fuego

02a Ainsworth Bay

After a good dinner, an evening of pleasant conversation with our fellow cruisers and a good night’s sleep aboard the Australis, we found ourselves in Ainsworth Bay, in the Tierra del Fuego region of Chile. The area is part of the protected lands of Alberto de Agostini National Park.  Ainsworth Bay is a fjord fed by the meltwater of the nearby Marinelli Glacier, itself part of the larger Darwin Ice Field.

Our route to Ainsworth Bay

Our route to Ainsworth Bay

We boarded the zodiacs and were zipped to shore, where in small groups of about 10-12 we were lead by a guide through a subpolar Patagonian coastal  rainforest. 

The weather was highly changeable.  When we landed it was gently drizzling, but after a while the rain broke and soon the sun poked …

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“Pic of the Week”, September 7, 2018: Reminders of a Wildfire, Patagonia

01PainesMassifTorresDelPaine77

Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is a UNESCO World Biosphere Preserve and is home to some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world.  The area has had several significant wildfires in the past few decades, the largest in late 2011 which burned into 2012 and destroyed 16,000 hectares (about 40,000 acres) .   All of these wildfires were caused by careless human behavior.  While it is somewhat shaky, this short videoclip shows the magnitude of these fires and just how scary they are when you’re in the midst of it all.

The area doesn’t have the dense forests or taller trees one sees in coastal Patagonia, but the scrubby dead bush that remains is definitely a reminder of these fires. I …

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A Mountain with Horns: Cuernos del Paine, Chile

Paines Massif, Torres Del Paine (132)

I’ve been a lover of mountains for as long as I can remember. I grew up on the painfully flat plains of Manitoba (and I mean f-l-a-t, like a pancake), and still vividly recall seeing my first mountains when I was a toddler of about 2 or 3 years old. These were the amazing Alberta Rocky Mountains visited on one of many family vacations to Banff.  I was fascinated by mountains then and remain so to this day. 

I have seen many beautiful and interesting mountains in my life and have a list of favorites — the Matterhorn, Kilimanjaro, Ama Dablam, Mt. Assiniboine, Cascade mountain, Mauna Kea, and so on.  But there is no mountain formation I find more interesting than …

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Visiting the Otway Penguins, Chile

Otway%20Penguin%20Colony%20001%20Chile.%20%20%20%2813%29

It’s hard not to like penguins.  Flightless, of course, their comical waddling gait on land belies their great agility and speed in the water.  A chance to see them up close and in the wild is always something I’ll jump at, so I was glad for the opportunity to visit this penguin colony at Otway.  Otway “feels” inland but is connected to the sea and the Fitzroy Channel.

Situated off the road connecting Torres del Paine and Punta Arenas in Patagonian Chile, Seno Otway is home to a large but seasonal colony of penguins.  During the peak season, from October through March, there are up to 150,00 Magellanic penguins that mate and reside in the area.  They nest, lay eggs in October, and …

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A Stop in Puerto Natales

01 Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales is an isolated small town in Patagonian Chile, the kind where if you blink you might miss it while you’re driving through.  It’s best known as a gateway for trekkers and adventures traveling to nearby Torres del Paine.  Recently fossil rich caves near the town have brought it fame because of the giant sloth fossils found within.   Puerto Natales is situated on the Ultima Esperanza Sound and is a port for the Navimag ferry.

The first European to discover the area was Juan Ladrillero, a Spanish explorer who was looking for the Strait of Magellan’s western passage amidst the maze of the Chilean fjords (1557).  The famous British ship of exploration, the HMS Beagle (on which Charles Darwin was …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 26, 2018: Alone with the Mountain, Torres del Paine National Park

Paines Massif, Torres Del Paine (127)

Patagonia’s Paine Massif is one of the world’s great mountain formations.  Rugged, glaciated and beautiful — it is a hiker’s paradise.  

I remember taking these photos of a lone hiker who seemed almost lost in the vastness of the landscape.  Beautiful desolation!

 

 

Karl on | Comments Off on “Pic of the Week”, January 26, 2018: Alone with the Mountain, Torres del Paine National Park