Tuesday, February 18, 2014

S America/Antarctica - 1/4-5/2014 - Sarmiento Canal & Chilean Fiords

We cruised for two days among the thousands of islands off the western coast of Chile on January 4th and 5th.  It was billed as scenic cruising but overcast skies on January 4th made for a boring day.  The only excitement was passing through a very shallow part of the Sarmiento Canal.  Because of the fog/rain, we missed some of the most beautiful mountains and glaciers in the world.  I particularly wanted to see unique mountain peaks in the Torres del Paine park area.  I am afraid it will have to wait for another lifetime.

The next few photos are the Sarmiento Canal at it's best as we cruised though on a rainy day.

The shallow channel marker buoy is just ahead of us.  As we pass this point, we only have 1-2 feet of water below the ship.  Staying in the deepest part of the channel is critical.  If we run aground here, our vacation is over and it could be days before we get off the ship to go home.

The next day was much better with good sunshine most of the time.  Unfortunately, most of the really spectacular stuff is behind us.  The fiords are scenic but after a few hours, they lose their appeal because the landscape all looks the same on both sides of the ship. 

We cruised all day and never saw a city or even a village.  We did see several fish farming operations in the bays of the channel.  Chile is the second largest producer of salmon in the world.  All the Chilean Sea Bass you have seen on restaurant menus also comes from here.

This volcano was an interesting way to end a day.  I think we are going to see this same volcano on our shore excursion tomorrow.

We did see a few more penguins and a colony of seals as we cruised.

Tomorrow's post will be for Puerto Montt.

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