Sunday, January 31, 2023 – Enroute to Punta Arenas
We were supposed to cruise Chilean Fjords today, but the Captain announced there was a failure of one of the two gyrocompasses and he was unwilling to enter the fjord system with only one. In addition, the satellite internet had a hardware failure, so we were without internet. The swells were running at 3 meters, so the ride was relatively bouncy, with a lot of pitching motion the entire day.
Monday, February 1, 2023 – Chilean Fjords and El Brujo Glacier
After cruising offshore overnight, early in the morning we turned back into the Chilean Fjords, heading down Samiento Channel, the principal north/south channel in the Fjord system. The ship then headed for El Brujo Glacier, arriving at 0830. We stayed for about one hour and saw one calving incident as the Captain slowly rotated the ship so everyone could get a view. Heading back away from the glacier face the ship then continued south down Samiento Channel towards our next destination, Punta Arenas, located about halfway through the Straits of Magellan.
El Brujo Glacier
Tuesday, February 2, 2023 – Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas is the largest city south of the 46th Parallel, with a population of 131,000 in the municipality. The city is an important logistical center for lumber, oil from Tierro del Fuego, a large Duty Free center, and for support to Antarctic expeditions. The city’s main boulevards are wide and tree lined. Our ship did not depart until 2100, so we had plenty of time to explore and make last minute purchases we may have forgotten for the upcoming Antarctic visit.
The weather across the Drake Passage is predicted to be sloppy, so at the last moment the Captain announced we would divert to Ushuaia and anchor for the evening to sneak across to Antarctica in calmer weather. Unfortunately, that will cut our time short by one day in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Condor Sculpture In Punta Arenas
Magellan Statue in Plaza des Armas
Wednesday, February 3, 2023 Glacier Alley and Ushuaia
The ship entered the north arm of Beagle Channel, known as Glacier Alley at about 0900, since at least 7 glaciers line the north side of the channel in a space of only 10 NM. The wind was blowing and there was a lot of rain, but there were enough gaps in the squalls everyone good a good view of the glaciers. By 1100 we had passed the last glacier and headed directly for Ushuaia, where the anchor was dropped at 1500. The wind and rain prevented tender operation initially and we never were cleared for tender operations, so we are at anchor until we leave at 2400. The Drake Passage is expected to be rough, so the ship has handed out sea sickness medication to everyone.