THE WILD & WINDSWEPT
shores of southern Patagonia are likely to be on every adventurous traveller’s bucket list. However, this remote region is one of the most dif cult places to get to. Sailing on a small expedition ship, such as One Ocean Expeditions’ ice-strengthened vessel RCGS Resolute, is the ideal way to experience a part of our planet that few will ever have the chance to see. We embark from the Argentinean city of Ushuaia. Our voyage westward along the Beagle Channel, named for Charles Darwin’s famous ship, takes us past numerous tidewater glaciers that spill off the ice sheets of western Tierra del Fuego, a Unesco-designated World Biosphere Reserve. The weather can be wild here but, as conditions permit, we will launch our Zodiacs to approach the glaciers or even visit them on shore. Rounding into Magellan Strait, we expect to see wildlife including Magellanic penguins, black-browed albatross, South American sea lions and humpback whales. Veering north, we dock at Puerto Natales and take a day trip to the stunning vistas of iconic Torres del Paine park. Continuing north through the fjords, we visit other glaciers descending from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, including the colossal Brüggen glacier, its face more than four kilometers wide and 70 meters tall. The climate becomes gentler as we travel north, and we stop to explore the giant island of Chiloé. With its unique culture blended from local Huilliche and Spanish traditions, Chiloé is home to churches made entirely of local alerce wood, earning it designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our voyage ends at Valparaiso, a colourful city with a lively bohemian culture and a common weekend destination for visitors from Chile’s capital, Santiago. I am excited to return to the fjords of Chile as the on-board naturalist for this voyage, along with glaciologist Ian Goodwin, ornithologist Simon Boyes, RCGS Fellow Michael Cooke, Artist-in-residence Clare Dudeney and a team of highly experienced expedition guides. This is a part of the world I’ve got to know well over the past two decades, both on land and at sea.