Chilean Fjordlands

                                                  Darwin Channel, Patagonia, Chile

January 26-27, 2010

SUNRISE, SUNSET.   After we left Puerto Montt we sailed into the island region of Chile and were treated to a gorgeous sunset.  The sunset photo (below) was taken at about 9:30 PM, and the light remained until after 10:00 PM.  We were able to observe a whole line of glacier-clad mountains as we sailed.

In the morning we cruised through the Darwin Channel, which was very pleasantly smooth, unlike much of the water we’ve encountered since leaving Arica, Chile.  The air temperature was quite chilly, and blustering winds added to the chill.  But the scenery in the channel was gorgeous and well worth the inconvenience of being cold.  The look is reminiscent of the Alaska inside passage, with the mixed forest and the granite walls coming up out of the ocean.  The low rock photo includes not only the sea lions our travel guide pointed out, but also some cormorants.  The photo is not very clear when enlarged, but it is clear enough to make out the bird species.                                                                                

Soon after those sightings we saw the opening to the Pacific Ocean.  Once we got into the Pacific, the wonderful calmness of the seas in the Darwin Channel became history.  Along the way through the channel we saw several places where people had two-story houseboats and some apparent fish farms.  

The following morning we went out on deck early to view the Amalia Glacier, located in O’Higgins National Park.  It is a tidewater glacier, and the largest one in Chile.  A tidewater glacier is one that makes its way down to the sea.  This glacier is actively calving, as evidenced by the large number of chunks of ice in the water.  It was raining for a large portion of the morning, but the sun came out by the time we were ready for lunch.  The captain told us over the PA system that he was faced with the choice of going back out into the Pacific ocean or continuing with an inside passage course.  He decided on the latter, which pleased all of us greatly.  The scenery continued to be very beautiful with many islands and snow-capped mountains.  We also had quite a few wildlife sightings: seals, penguins, dolphins or porpoises, and a white goose with pink feet along with the usual gulls and other sea birds.  The marine life in this area is clearly abundant.  The most unexpected sight was an old shipwreck.  It was very close to a light on a low island.  For all we know, the light was placed after the shipwreck.  We also saw something else sticking out of the water that looked like another possible shipwreck, fairly close to the big one.  During the afternoon we passed a couple of small container ships going in the opposite direction from us.  They were also an unexpected sight.   We closed out our two days of observation with views of seals and penguins swimming by as we dined.

There are a few additional photos in the album.

                                               Island Region Sunset, Patagonia, Chile

© Susan L. Stone 2015