A morning at sea after what seems to have been weeks of exploration was a welcome rest today. We filled the hours with interesting talks from the natural history staff, punctuated by delicious meals from our galley team. We were heading in the direction of Karukinka Private Reserve. The park is a well-protected area managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which received the land from Goldman Sachs after mining investors failed to meet the terms of their lease, and the land was seized. Now Chile and the WCS jointly manage the massive private park. It was our privilege to get to visit the area in the afternoon and make a landing amongst scores of Andean condors and southern elephant seals. In the evening, we set sail for the southern reaches of the Darwin range on Tierra Del Fuego.
National Geographic Explorer
Waking in the protected harbor of San Juan de Salvamento, we began our operations for the day in true Patagonia weather: a bit cloudy with strong winds. We took our Zodiacs to the landing to visit the “Lighthouse at the End of the World.” After a winding hike through low southern beech trees, we crested the top and were treated to a view of the cliffs below and an ever-present fog hanging just above our heads. After lunch, we sailed back to pick up a few researchers we had dropped off in Isla de los Estados a few days prior. The conditions looked favorable, so we were able to make a short Zodiac cruise to see steep cliffs with nesting rockhopper penguins.