The boat will navigate through the Murray Channel and Nassau Bay, before coming to the famous Cabo de Hornos National Park, where it will be possible to go ashore if weather conditions are good. Cape Horn, the southernmost point of the American continent, was discovered in 1616 by Dutch explorers Jakob Le Maire and Willem Schouten. The latter named it “Kaap Hoorn” after the Dutch town where he was born. Declared part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO, Cape Horn combines magnificent glaciers with extraordinary wildlife: penguins, dolphins, seals, sea birds and even whales can be spotted in its challenging waters.
Sunset will be enjoyed in Wulaia Bay, located in the northeast of Navarino Island and whose name means “beautiful bay” in the Yagán language. This is a historic site, not only because it is the ancient home of the Yámana people, but also because two famous Englishmen, Robert Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin, navigated through here. According to historians, Darwin began reflecting on the evolution of species during this adventure. The day will culminate with a visit to a viewpoint, which will be reached after crossing the Magellanic forest, which is bursting with cinnamon trees, lengas, coigües and ferns, among the most outstanding species.
Another of this adventure’s big attractions is the Beagle Channel, the maritime strait that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic. The channel has ended up becoming the only communication route between the islands of Ushuaia, Puerto Williams, Punta Arenas and Cape Horn. Les Éclaireurs Lighthouse, better known as the Lighthouse at the End of the World, is located here. From this vantage point, you can admire cormorants, sea lions, petrels, condors, gulls and penguins.
Towards the northwest of the Beagle Channel lies the Pia Fjord. Incidentally, it is worth noting that the fjords are a kind of geographical accident: valleys formed by glaciers that are then submerged in water. As a result, the Pia Fjord is somewhat narrow and deep. From here, there will be an expedition to a viewpoint from where the Pía Glacier can be appreciated. Later, we will enter the Garibaldi Fjord, although those who wish to do so may stay in the comfortable facilities of the cruise ship, while the rest make their way through the chilly Patagonian forest.
Following our course through the Cockburn Channel, we will enter the Seno de Agostini, where you can visit the glaciers that descend from the Darwin mountain range. You may also walk around the lagoon formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. Later, in the afternoon, a boat trip will be offered for a close view of the Condor Glacier.
Before arriving in Punta Arenas, we will navigate through the Strait of Magellan, discovered by Hernando de Magallanes in 1500, to make one last stop: Magdalena Island. Considered the most important penguin colony in Patagonia, it has been a National Park since August 1966 and a natural monument since 1982. A walk to the lighthouse will give you a glimpse of the animals that are the main stars of the area. It is estimated that some 60,000 live on the island. During the months of April and September only, this activity will be replaced by a landing on Marta Island, where South American sea lions can be seen from inflatable Zodiac boats.
Finally, 19 miles later, the trip ends in Punta Arenas. It is important to mention that the same route can be taken in reverse from the final destination, visiting exactly the same places and with an identical travel time: five days and four nights.
The Australis cruise offers an outstanding array of wonderful activities on the Fjords of Tierra del Fuego trip. The atmosphere, the authenticity of the landscapes and the stunning Patagonian landscapes will offer a rare glimpse of utter freedom.