Bernal Glacier and the White Narrows

Mar 15, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


Our morning was somewhat relaxed, in that the distance we were due to cover meant some necessary time onboard. During our time at sea, we had the opportunity to enjoy a presentation by Krista Rossow, our National Geographic photographer, about her work on assignment. Our time onboard, however, was due to be short lived.

Having made good time so far, we were able to aim for an additional stop that was outside of what was previously planned. Along our route, the spectacular Bernal Glacier flows down from its mountain source, stopping a few hundred meters short of the sea. Its receding state, and the fact that it does not reach the ocean, allows a rare opportunity to walk up so close that you can touch it without the fear of collapse that would normally keep viewers at a very great distance.

The blue pools of glacial till along each side of the path to its snout add a surreal and otherworldly feeling to the approach. We landed, and walked up to its face.

After returning to the ship, we made our way onwards towards Puerto Natales. This transit is in itself remarkable, as it took us through the White Narrows. This tight waterway weaves its way through a group of islands that would stop a larger, less nimble vessel dead in its tracks. For us, it just means a little more care and focus on the part of our bridge team, who took us through with ease and grace. The spectacle of the ship twisting its way through made for a remarkable finale to an all-round remarkable voyage through the southern extremes of South America.

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About the Author

Peter Wilson

Naturalist

Peter comes from the town of Cobh, County Cork, on the south coast of Ireland. He is both a working archaeologist and a naturalist.  Growing up and living next to the sea, he developed a fascination with whales and dolphins, along with birds and the broader natural world. Ever varied in his interests, he studied English at University College Cork and went on to complete a master’s degree in Old English. 

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