Ted’s Travel – Part 2: Rod in Tierra del Fuego
It’s Rod here again. I am very excited to tell you about my latest trip to South America. This time in Punta Arenas, Chile where we took a cruise to Tierra del Fuego.
Just recently, the Ventus Australis started navigating Magellan waters as the newest addition to Australis Expedition cruise line and on this trip we had the opportunity to check it out. After being welcomed by the captain, the cruise left Punta Arenas’ to sail towards the remotest corners of the planet. Slowly, Punta Arenas faded into the distance as the cruise entered the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.
Next morning, we went out for our first excursion at Ainsworth Bay. Here, we had the option of two guided tours in the area, both with views of Marinelli Glacier and Darwin Mountains. Then, we sailed west towards the Tucker Islets where we boarded zodiacs for a close-up of a Magellan penguin colony – not too close of course! As it is important to leave the place as pristine as possible.
Overnight I woke me up a couple of times because of the rough waters, I’m not going to lie, it can be quite nerve-racking! But it is all part of the experience, right? We were in one of roughest seas of the world after all!
By morning we made it to Pia Glacier, we hiked around it and strangely there was no sign of ever having tough weather conditions. Beautiful scenery and amazing weather to explore it, lucky us!
In the afternoon, we continued through Glacier Alley. The crew encouraged us to go out to the top deck to see the reasons why in fact it’s called “alley”. It is literally an alley of glaciers where most of them are named after European countries. Not only the view was spectacular, but the crew had prepared for the situation and the food changed according the glacier’s country name. How clever is that?
The following morning, they dropped anchor just off the coast of Cape Horn – the weather conditions were perfect, which allowed for a smooth landing, where they were met by the Lighthouse keeper – A member of the Chilean Navy. After a climb up the stairs, a trek across the small island bought them to the Monument to the Cape horn with many photos taken to record the moment. There is also a permanent lighthouse where we got to meet its keeper and his family. Would you move into a lighthouse? I almost did!
Cruising onwards to the historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where human history is as compelling as the natural environment. This to the fact that there is an old Chilean navy radio station that now has turned into a museum. Hiking of varying degree of difficulty was undertaken by the cruise passengers.
Finally, next morning we disembarked in Ushuaia for some relaxing time at the “End of the World”. The following morning, we had an excursion through Tierra del Fuego National Park. Our southern adventure was finished and a new one started as we flew to Buenos Aires that day.
I will tell you more about my experience in the Argentine capital next week, but if you are interested in the new Ventus Australis, make sure you check out our itineraries, we can book your clients on this great cruise!
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au