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Beagle Channel; Yendegaia National Park, Chile

The tempest continued through our passage from the channels leaving Strait of Magellan southward westward and then eastward into the very western part of the Beagle Channel. During the night the ship’s bridge officers and Chilean pilots guided us between islands and through the maze of channels. Only in a couple short stretches did we have to leave the protection of the islands and become exposed to the wind and swells of the Southern Ocean. Few of us noticed because National Geographic Explorer handles superbly unsettled weather. By breakfast we were in the Beagle Channel being pushed along by the wind on our stern. Rain continued off and on as we passed the many glaciers entering the channel. Read More>

Nov 4, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Karukinka Nature Reserve & Alberto De Agostini National Park

In step with most days on this trip today’s plans were at the whim of the western winds. While tempests strong enough to illuminate the ridge tops and transport ocean to air are a sight to behold, they also limit our options. While the landscape of Karukinka Nature Reserve was aglow with the morning sun, we had to give in to the fact that safety was not on our side this morning. Fortunately, this part of the world is ripe with opportunity and we didn’t have to look far for an alternative. Bordering Karukinka’s western extremity is Alberto De Agostini National Park, named in honor of the Italian priest/photographer/ethnographer/mountaineer who traveled to this area in the early 1900s. Read More>

Nov 3, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Exploring the Senos (Fjords) of Estrecho de Magellanes

Technically the heading for today could simply read PLAN B. As early as mid-afternoon yesterday our Captain and expedition leader were well aware of a massive low pressure system off the coast of Southern Chile that would put us in a position to alter our original expedition plan for today. This system was so large it had colored the entire Drake Passage a deep red and pink color on the satellite weather imagery indicative of wave heights exceeding 12 meters and wind speeds up to 100 knots. Even though we are navigating in primarily protected waters of the fjords the direction and force off the winds would surely impact or plans. From the time the sun began to lighten the sky it was clear that today's 'plans' would be solely shaped by the tempest off shore. Read More>

Nov 2, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Puerto Natales to the Strait of Magellan

An early departure from Puerto Natales port leaves behind memories of the amazing National Park Torres del Paine and its multicolored lakes, glaciers, fantastic peaks, gracile guanacos, rheas, and a gratifying lamb barbecue at Rio Serrano Lodge. Towards the stern: Puerto Natales and the huge Almirante Montt Gulf and its many long, no-exit fjords: i. Read More>

Nov 1, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Paine National Park, Puerto Natales, Chile

A brisk wind greets us as we disembark early for our journey to Paine National Park. The skies are glowing rich reds and deep oranges as the sun rises. In the distance the moon and some lenticular clouds delicately shine in the lovely morning light. There are some birds about, black-necked swans, Chilean skuas, and kelp gulls. The road quickly leads us out of Puerto Natales and on to the highway north. Read More>

Oct 31, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Estero los Montañas-Bernal Glacier & At Sea to Puerto Natales VIDEO

We were already well inside of Seno Montañas (Fjord of Montains) as the night sky gave way to daybreak, and by 0630 the surrounding peaks still capped in winter's snow revealed themselves. It was quite blustery and steady rain began to shower the decks and windows of the bridge, conditions not uncommon for this part of the world. As an Alaskan I'm quite familiar with an old saying often used, “If you don't like the weather wait ten minutes or walk a mile.” Those words were never more applicable than here in Patagonia and the Chilean Fjords. If one were to look up Patagonia or Chilean fjords in a photo dictionary the pictures from this morning's outing would certainly be worth 1,000 words. Moments before we were set to disembark, three staff members, expedition leader Lucho Verdisoto, Santiago Imberti, and myself set out in a scout boat. Read More>

Oct 30, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Chilean fjords

As our expedition onboard National Geographic Explorer continues to delve deeper into the Chilean fjords, the intricate waterways keep astounding us with new sights, sounds, and indeed even smells. Today we awoke to a gray moody sky and the brilliant blue ice hues of Pio XI glacier. Our morning was to be spent exploring the glacier face by Zodiac, however initially it was not the ice that drew us out, rather away from the glacier we rode towards what we presumed to be a fin whale carcass (although specific anatomical markings were difficult to discern). Read More>

Oct 29, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Caleta Tortel & English Narrows

If there is something that you can be sure of in Patagonia it is that the weather changes often. Locals say that if you don’t like a particular type, you only have to wait five minutes. That was the case early this morning, in the afternoon and, well, in the evening too… Early on we had fierce winds gusting up to 30 knots but after a turn around a headland, the next leg of the fjord was flat calm and with not even a ripple in the water. Read More>

Oct 28, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Estero Slight, Chile

This morning was spent entirely at sea, giving us a welcome chance to lie in and have a leisurely breakfast after a busy start to the trip. The weather was perfect with calm seas and bright skies and the scenery, as we are coming to expect, stunning. Our overnight route had taken us westward through the Aysén fjord and then southwestward towards a secluded fjord at the southern tip of the Taito peninsula within the boundaries of the Laguna San Rafael National Park. These peaceful waters and pristine landscape provided the perfect backdrop for two meaty presentations, one from our Global Perspectives guest speaker, Tom Lovejoy entitled A Wild Solution for Climate Change and a second from local naturalist Tato Antezana on the adaptation of a particular species of krill to finely calibrated temperature variables within the Humboldt current off the coast of western Chile, two presentations that complemented each other and inspired our afternoon’s explorations. Read More>

Oct 27, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

Puerto Aysen; Chucabuco; Cohique, Chile

The fjords and coast of southern Chile are swathed in lush green forests. The landscape is superficially similar to other glaciated terrains but quite different in its covering of vegetation. In addition to being spectacularly beautiful this maze of islands and channels has few villages or towns and access is mostly and has historically been by sea. So what better way to explore the Chilean Fjords than aboard National Geographic Explorer? This voyage is the first time in over 10 years that Lindblad Expeditions has traveled the archipelago, and today we came into a small port that had never been visited in previous decades of travel through the area. Puerto Aysen is one of the handful of places in the fjords where there is a connection by road to the rest of the continent. Read More>

Oct 26, 2015 National Geographic Explorer in South American West Coast

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