Fjords of Tierra del Fuego

This Patagonia cruise tours follows the fjords of the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego.


Chilean Fjords
© CA

This vooyage highlights the stunning, natural beauty of Patagonia and several of its most important historical sites. Whether you are sailing aboard the Australis Cruise, this four-day journey includes visits to wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay, massive Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley, as well as mystical Wulaia Bay and the legendary Cape Horn.

Itinerary

Day 1: Punta Arenas
Check in at 1398 Costanera del Estrecho Ave. (Arturo Prat Port) between 13:00 and 17:00. Board at 18:00 (6 PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the remotest corners of planet Earth. During the night we cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonian. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as we enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

Day 2: Ainsworth Bay & Tuckers Islets
By dawn the ship is sailing up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), a spectacular offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snowcapped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is defined by the deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park. We go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which harbors copious bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall-and-moss-covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine. Both afford views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.
Leaving Ainsworth Bay behind, we sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, we board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor. In September and April -- when the penguins live elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a short walk to a glacier at nearby stunning Brookes Bay.

Day 3: Pia Glacier & Glacier Alley
Overnight we sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, Stella Australis tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning we are entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. After disembarking we take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king. Back onboard the ship, we continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them named after European countries -- Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

Day 4: Wulaia Bay & Cape Horn
During the early morning we navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its mesmerizing beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station -- which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area -- passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travelers – an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.
In the afternoon we cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition -- and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland -- Cape Horn is a sheer 425-meter (1,394-foot) high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the "End of the Earth." The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.

Day 5: Ushuaia
The following morning we sail into Argentine waters and dock in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city. Australis is scheduled to arrive at 8:30 or 9:30 AM depending on the date of departure.

NOTE: The excursions described in the itineraries can usually be carried out without any problems. Nevertheless, the shipowner holds the right to alter, change or skip certain portions of the itinerary without prior notice, whether motivated by the passengers’ well-being and safety, by the appropriate protection of the environment, or in case of any extraordinary event, unforeseeable circumstance or force majeure. For this reason, departures or arrival may be subject to change. Furthermore, sighting of birds and other species cannot be guaranteed as their exact location is variable by nature.

During the cruise members of Australis expedition teams will host interesting presentations on the wildlife, history and geography of this legendary region. The presentations will take place both on board (with audio-visual support) and on land.

Navigation Route
It is the first lecture that is given to passengers and its objective is to present the region and Patagonia to the world, showing where we are and where we will be going day-to-day on our cruise, places we will visit, climate, suggested clothes for excursions, possible sightings etc…

Glaciology in Patagonia
More than any other earth force, glaciation shaped the spectacular landscapes of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. This lecture and slideshow details the natural process that created the glaciers, ice fields, moraines and U-shaped valleys that we observe from the ship and during shore excursions. While explaining glacier origin, forms, colors and former/current conditions, the presentation also delivers an important message about caring for the environment and our planet.

Discovering Tierra del Fuego
Presentation on the famous navigators and naturalists who explored Tierra Del Fuego between the 16th and 19th centuries, and in doing so came across a number of different indigenous groups. The presentation examines how the British visitors Phillip Parker King, Pringle Stokes, Charles Darwin, and Sir Francis Drake, the Dutchmen Wilhem Schouten and Jacob LeMaire, the French explorer Bouganville, and the Spaniards Ferdinand Magellan, Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa and the Nodal brothers, interacted with the Patagones (Aónikenk), Ona (Selk'nam), Yámana (Yaghan), Alacalufes (Kawéskar) and Haush (Manekenk).

Cape Horn information in advance
This talk explains the next day’s landing activity in the mythical Cape Horn, which also shows photos of the landing site and discusses the possible weather conditions. Some safety instructions are given to provide maximum enjoyment of the expedition. It also mentions the Monument to the Albatross, the Chapel, the lighthouse, the history of the Caphorniers, navigation around the Horn, and its importance today.

Wulaia Bay Information in advance
This talk explains the landing in the bay along with the group options for walking to the hill, describing its degree of difficulty, or the walk along the beach. Pictures of the place are shown and the historical importance of this bay from the anthropological and historical point of view (Yaganes, Darwin, Fitz Roy, Jemmy Button) is spoken about.

Life onboard
This is the first talk explaining how the ship works, and is accompanied by a review of the national parks that are visited along with the environmental protection policy of Australis.

Visit to Engine Room
A tour is carried out of the engine room with the guides who lead groups and the engineers on shift.

Visit to the Bridge Command
Tour led by guides and the pilot on shift showing the command bridge, the chart table, and the ship’s safety devices.

NOTE: The presentations described in the itineraries can normally be, and are frequently, carried out. Without prejudice to the aforesaid, the shipowner reserve the right to reschedule shorten or alter all or part of itineraries and/or excursions without previous notice.




* The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

Gallery


© CA
© CA
© CA



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