Seno Garibaldi, Chilean Fjords

Nov 03, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


Today National Geographic Orion had a lot of ground to cover to get to our next destination. The morning was spent on board as the ship sailed through the channel. The weather was pretty mixed as we have all come to expect from Patagonia, but the clouds and strong winds created some incredible skies with moody and dramatic cloud formations.

The morning had two presentations planned. The first by Berit was on pinnipeds of Patagonia, covering the species you can find down here as well as adaptations they have to excel in their environments, such as elephant seals’ ability to dive deep yet still only require around 2 minutes to re-oxygenate at the surface and be ready to dive again.  The second presentation was to be by Michael Hanson, the National Geographic photographer onboard. However, his presentation collided with the time the ship would be passing through a narrow passage where we would have dramatic views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains. So lucky for Michael that his talk was delayed, and he was able to spend an additional hour outside taking photographs and helping guests with their images.

In the afternoon, we were off for a Zodiac cruise! National Geographic Orion held position around 1km from the Garibaldi Glacier.  the Zodiacs were loaded, and we headed off for a closer view. The Garibaldi is one of the few glaciers in the world that is advancing. This is due to the glacier going through a natural phase of advance and retreat, however, this is not contradictory evidence against climate change and the overall retreat of glaciers. We were lucky enough to see some good ice calvings whilst close to the glacier (but not too close!) We buzzed along the coast with katabatic winds pushing us along, passing waterfalls and near vertical forest.

Once we arrived back onboard it was soon teatime which was to be followed by Michael’s long-awaited presentation on iPhone photography tips, covering many of the functions iPhones have. After that was a recap of the day’s activities and the plan for tomorrow, then dinner! This evening we had a gourmet meal with several courses especially chosen by Lothar, the head chef, and his team.

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About the Author

Peter Webster

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Born in Scotland, Peter became fascinated with nature and wildlife from a very young age. This early interest led to him earning a degree in conservation biology followed shortly after by an M.Sc in marine and fisheries ecology. He is currently studying for another M.Sc in digital mapping. After working as a commercial diver for several years Peter was offered the position of Field Diving Officer with the British Antarctic Survey in 2012. He then spent the next 16 months in the Antarctic, stationed at Rothera Research Station, on the peninsula where he managed the dive operations and a team of scientific divers working on a wide range of research on climate change, ocean acidification, and increased seabed disturbance by icebergs. As well as diving Peter also spent several months in the Antarctic deep field working in aircraft operations, depot laying, and meteorological work whilst living in tents in conditions below -30oC. 

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