Explore Patagonia on an adventurous journeys between Ushuaia (Argentina) to Punta Arenas (Chile) through some of planet’s most remote places and incredible scenery.
Discover the wild beauty of Patagonia on an Australis cruise that showcases the region’s pristine landscapes, rich wildlife and fascinating human history aboard an expedition ship that brings an extraordinary level of comfort and service to the uttermost edge of the world. Leaving the twinkling lights of Ushuaia behind, the vessel calls on fabled spots like Cape Horn and Wulaia Bay before cruising down the Beagle Channel. Continuing through the maze of islands, we’ll visit a number of glaciers, frozen giants that guard the southern flank of the Fuegian Archipelago, before entering the legendary Strait of Magellan. Last stop is the Isla Magdalena and its boisterous Patagonia penguin colony before docking at Punta Arenas.
Day 1: Ushuaia
Check in at the Australis travel center at 409 San Martín Ave. in downtown Ushuaia between 10:00 and 17:00 (10 AM-5 PM) on the day of your cruise departure. Board at 18:00 (6:00PM). After a welcoming toast and introduction of captain and crew, the ship departs for one of the most remote corners of planet Earth. During the night we traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentine into Chilean territorial waters. The lights of Ushuaia disappear as we turn into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.
Day 2: Cape Horn & Wulaia Bay
By early morning, the ship is cruising 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.
Sailing back across Nassau Bay, we anchor at fabled 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.
Day 3: Pia Glacier and Garibaldi Glacier
Casting off from Wulaia Bay, we retrace our route to the Beagle Channel and sail westward along the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego into a section of Alberto de Agostini National Park called Glacier Alley or Avenue of the Glaciers. Flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet are a number of impressive tidewater glaciers, most of them named after European countries -- Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France. In amongst this frozen league of nations we enter the narrow Pia Fjord and board the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. No one knows for certain how the hulking glacier got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king. After disembarking we take a hort 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.
Making our way further west along the Beagle Channel, we enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking. This time we hike through virgin
Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is demanding -- very steep, negligible trail, rough footing -- and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, our captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.
Day 4: Agostini Sound – Águila Glacier – Cóndor Glacier
Early in the morning, we will sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range -- some of them reaching the water. This morning, we will disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. We will reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views. In the afternoon, we will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac -- and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.
Day 5: Magdalena Island & Punta Arenas
After an overnight cruise that takes us back into the Strait of Magellan, we anchor off Magdalena Island, which lies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland. Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, we go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island. In September and April -- when the penguins dwell elsewhere -- this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions. After a short sail south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 11:30 AM.
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.
The first presentation given is to familiarize passengers with Patagonia and the region, showing location, day-to-day routes, excursion points, expected climate, clothing suggestions, and possible animal sightings.
Prior to visiting their colony, learn everything you always wanted to know about Magellanic penguins including facts about their migration cycle, nest construction, reproduction, nutrition and how they nurture their chicks. Around 60,000 pairs nest of Magdalena Island between October and March. They nest in burrows, taking turns incubating the eggs, raising the chicks and venturing into the frigid water for food.
Detailed information for the next day’s activities will be given with route maps and pictures available.
Patagonia from Ice to Flowers
This presentation details the evolution of local flora after the last Ice Age, which covered more than 60% of Patagonia. It also discusses some of the more important trees, shrubs, flowers and plants that inhabit Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego today.
This lecture reveals the reason why Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos) is such a legendary geographic feature. In addition to various aspects of the cape's natural and human history, the presentation includes precise instructions for landing at Cape Horn (weather and water permitting).
NOTA: Las charlas descritas en los itinerarios son, usualmente, posibles de ser realizadas. Sin perjuicio de lo anterior, el Armador, se reserva el derecho a alterar, cambiar u omitir parte de éstas sin previo aviso.
* 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.
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THE POLAR TRAVEL COMPANY LLC
8175 NW 12 ST #130
Doral, FL 33126
Miami - Dade, Florida
Tel: +1 786 352 8686
Bulnes 1319, Buenos Aires.
Tel: +54 9 11 62532677
4° C, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.
Tel: +54 9 249 457 3920
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