FJORDS OF TIERRA DEL FUEGO

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PATAGONIA CRUISE – 4 NIGHTS

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Punta Arenas Board the Stella Australis or Ventus Australis and begin cruise
Day 2 Ainsworth Bay, Tucker Islets Views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains, Hiking options, Zodiac Cruising, Magellan Penguins
Day 3 Pia Glacier, Glacier Alley Pia Glacier walking tour, Cruise along the Beagle Channel
Day 4 Wulaia Bay, Cape Horn
Murray Channel, visit muesum and radio station, hiking, overlook the Drake Passage
Day 5 Ushuaia Arrive early in Ushuaia and disembark
Stella Australis Cruise Ship

Day 1 Punta Arenas – Board Fjords of Tierra del Fuego Cruise

Overview:

Board the ‘Stella Australis’ or the ‘Ventus Australis ‘from the pier at 18:00, and the Captain and crew will welcome you aboard for cocktails as the ship departs for one of the remotest corners of the planet.

During the night cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labyrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonia. The twinkling lights of Punta Arenas gradually fade into the distance as you enter the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego.

Featured Accommodation
Ventus Australis
Ventus Australis Patagonia Cruise Ship

The Ventus Australis is a brand new state-of-the-art ship which took her maiden voyage in January 2018 and was purpose built for the Patagonian fjord system. Guests enjoy a comfortable and relaxed stay, with excellent viewing of the fjords from the decks, spacious common areas and comfortable cabins with large windows. Indulge in first class travel onboard the Ventus Australis with exceptional cuisine, onboard entertainment, passionate expert guides and interesting excursions for all fitness levels. The ship consists of 100 cabins which can accommodate 210 guests.

Stella Australis
Stella Australis Patagonia Cruising

The Stella Australis, built in 2010 offers guests a relaxed and comfortable stay, while providing excellent viewing of the fjords from the decks, spacious common areas and comfortable cabins with large windows. Indulge in first class travel onboard the Stella Australis with exceptional cuisine, onboard entertainment, passionate expert guides and interesting excursions for all fitness levels. This ship was constructed in 2010 and consists of 100 cabins which can accommodate 210 guests.

Day 2 Visit Ainsworth Bay and Tucker Islets

Ainsworth Bay Patagonia Cruise

By morning the ship will be sailing up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), an impressive offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego.  The snow-capped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is characterised by deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park.  You are able to go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which is home to an abundance of bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs.  Two guided excursions are available for you to participate in: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall and moss covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine.  Both offer views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.

 

Leaving Ainsworth Bay behind, the ship will sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets.  After lunch, board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands.  More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks.  Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor.

Day 3 Visit Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley

Pia Glacier, Patagonia Cruise

Overnight the ship will sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel.  After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the ship tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again.  By morning you will be entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier.  After disembarking take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.

 

No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine name, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.

 

Back onboard the ship, continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them named after European countries; Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.

Day 4 Visit Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn

Wulaia Bay, Patagonia Cruising

During the early morning the ship will navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment.  Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle.  This area is also renowned for its enchanting beauty and dramatic geography.  After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station,  passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the mountain behind the bay.  On all of these you will be strolling through the charming Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a lookout overlooking the bay.  Before leaving Wulaia Bay, you will have the opportunity to drop a letter into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travellers – an ancient mariner.

Cape Horn, Patagonia Cruising

In the afternoon cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park.  Weather and sea conditions permitting, you may go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos).  Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 425m high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage.  For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the “End of the Earth.”  The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005.  The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a light keeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.

Day 4 Ushuaia

Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive very early into the Argentine port of Ushuaia, the main city in Tierra del Fuego.  Located on the banks of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by mountains, many of its houses are built entirely of wood, giving it a picturesque appearance. Here you will farewell your fellow travellers and crew and disembark the ship.

We will tailor a South America tour perfect for you. To find out more about this Patagonia Cruise or to create a personalised itinerary contact our experienced consultants on 1300 784 794 or email: contact@satc.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.