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Home → March, 2018

Monthly Archives: March 2018 − News & Stories


Brazo Noroeste – 14 March 2018

After the sunny, calm day yesterday, today’s weather was a bit closer again to Patagonian reality: wind and rain, a lot of both. An hour was long enough to stretch legs in the morning. Beach, woodland, wetland, hill, wind-beaten trees, view of Caleta.

Brazo Noroeste means northwestern arm, and that’s exactly what it is: the northwestern arm of the Beagle Channel, which is splitting up into two branches at this points. The mountains to both sides of Brazo Noroeste are rounded by mighty glaciations of the past. Today’s inland ice of the Cordillera Darwin, which is where we are now, still sends some streams of ice down to the water. Views were limited due to rain and low clouds, but still, great scenery. The weather is just normal life in Patagonia. Or, rather, Tierra del Fuego. Patagonia starts north of the Strait of Magellan.

We dropped anchor in the Caleta Beaulieu in the later afternoon behind a peninsula with rocky hill, covered with dense woodland which was giving us shelter from the wind. It was pouring rain, but that did not keep us from exploring the area a little bit, so we made a hike up the mountain – and felt like Indiana Jones at work. The forest was so dense that it was difficult to get through. Water everywhere, from all directions. Lovely! You just have to drop the idea that nature is only beautiful under a blue sky. That is not the case. It is always beautiful.

Gallery – Brazo Noroeste – 14 March 2018

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

This was proven by stunning views over the fjord and glacier, even in the rain. Just great!

Brazo Noroeste

Pouring rain, but still a stunning view over the fjord with Anne-Margaretha and glacier

Beagle Channel – 13 March 2018

This is not the first time that „Beagle Channel“ is the headline of an entry of this blog. So far it meant travelling from Ushuaia to the Drake-Passage (or back). This time, not so.

How many times did I see these beautiful mountains further west in the Beagle Channel without ever getting there. So, today!

Mountain view - Beagle-Channel

Mountain view – Beagle-Channel

We set sail in Puerto Williams and enjoyed the company of many Black-browed albatrosses, shags and even a few dolphins. South of Ushuaia a Humpback whale waved us off with his fluke. Very friendly.

The rest of the day? A scenic dream made of sky and sea, islands and fjords. Mountains and clouds were mirrored on the water. New islands, new views mile after mile. A dream coming true.

Late in the evening, the anchor fell in Caleta Olla (Caleta seems to be the word for little, well-sheltered natural harbours) under a beautiful southern sky of stars. No artificial light anywhere around us! The Milky way, Magellanic cloud, the Southern cross … so beautiful that a small group of us even went ashore to put the tripods up in darkness. Well, amazing how quickly the clouds can cover the sky down here … anyway, it was still a nice way to finish the day.

Beagle-Channel, Caleta Olla

Evening mood, Caleta Olla

Humpback whale, Beagle-Channel

Humpback whale, Beagle-Channel

Gallery – Beagle Channel – 13 March 2018

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Puerto Williams – 12 March 2018

Puerto Williams! I must have sailed past Puerto Williams about 80 times, but I have never actually been there. So it was about time! The place started out as a naval base in 1953, so it is not actually one of the world’s great wonders in terms of architecture or whatever, but it has grown a bit into a civilian settlement which claims to be the southernmost town in the world!
That is certainly disputable and the result will depend on your definition of a town, which will need to be quite flexible in order to include Puerto Williams. But there are some shops and small restaurants (at least one of them is really nice, as we were happy to find out), the bow of the Yelcho (the ship that rescued Shackleton’s men from Elephant Island), an ATM and the very charming Yacht’s club house, on a boat that is grounded in the Yacht harbour. A lovely place to spend some time and I am sure it has seen some parties over the years!

Gallery – Puerto Williams – 12 March 2018

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

We went on a „beaurocratic sightseeing tour“. Something that may be a rather strange approach for a tourist visit and it is by no means more interesting than it sounds. But we had to enter Chile officially with the boat and all souls and that requires paperwork at a number of addresses in town. Not the biggest place in the world, so that was alright.

And Puerto Williams is surrounded by dense, dark patagonian mountain rain forests. I am wondering if they have got Ents there? I’m tempted to believe that there must be some there! ?

Ushuaia – 11 March 2018

The photos may seem familiar. No coincidence, because this is where we said goodbye and farewell to SY Anne-Margaretha at the end of the trip to Antarctica four weeks ago. And now we are coming back on board again! Same place … but beyond that, nothing will be the same. Just the first steps are similar, saying officially goodbye to Argentina, getting passports stamped, leaving the harbour in the evening, setting course eastwards through the Beagle-Channel, but then … in a few hours, we will go alongside in Puerto Williams, the southernmost position of the whole trip! After that, we will continue west- and northwards, sailing through the beautiful, stunning waterways of southern Chile. New land, new passages, new places. Good stuff! It is not exaggerated to say that we are all very excited about it!

Gallery – Ushuaia – 11 March 2018

Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.

Even the veterans of Chile and Patagonia, and we do have some on board, are excited. It is such a remote, hard-to-get-to-area. There is nobody travelling there, compared to Antarctica. It is empty, remote and wild. Patagonia, that is Torres del Paine, Perito Moreno and so on for most people. Stunning places for most people, no doubt about that, but what is lying ahead of us is very much different, and by no means less beautiful and impressive. But far off the well-trodden path! There is no infrastructure, no general guidebooks, no tourism.

Patagonia, here we come!

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