Sunrise slowly reveals another extraordinary day in the Chilean Fjords. Bright snowy peaks and a glittering sea reflecting a myriad of tiny suns chase the dawn’s fleeing shadows! We leave Puerto Natales in the early morning to arrive at yet another narrow passage that can only be made in daylight, with a slack tide: the Kirke Narrows.
Near us, several smaller ships race to ensure their place in a very short line as the sea hesitates between its perpetual rise and fall, as predictable as inhaling and exhaling of a peaceful slumber. We are in the hands of our captain and local pilot, but we are not blind. A Zodiac is lowered to scout the way, as well as to document our passage in digital detail.
We move between stubborn rocks covered with even more stubborn vegetation. There are crooked southern beech trees clinging to ice-smoothed rock by their desperate root tips; where they fail, there are smaller, scruffier plants or simply naked rock. Once we pass the last of the navigation markers we leave behind most signs of civilization and we are covered in the shroud of nature’s forest, sky and water. It can be a little unsettling without billboards, road signs and crosswalks, but obviously that is the shine on the charm!
The rest of the day is spent in the tracks of long past glaciers, their fjords an endless march to deeper water. The weather is good and the light is great. It is quiet and infinite: trees, clouds, mountain peaks, albatross and water. There are lectures to help focus yesterday and prepare for tomorrow. There is time to organize images and impressions. It has been a busy few days and as always, there is plenty of fine food to delight and sooth the beast within, at least until the next adventure!