SOUTH­ERN CHILE

Canadian Geographic - - WILDLIFE - — Words by Jac­que­line Windh MFA PHD FRCGS

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.