SAILING IN TIERRA DEL FUEGO
CRUISING SOUTHERN CHILE
On the horizon the mountains guarding the town of Punta Arenas slowly disappear as the ferry leaves on its tour towards its destination: Puerto Porvenir, in the Tierra del Fuego, a magic place filled with unknowns, a place reached by crossing the fearsome and famous, maybe even legendary Straits of Magellan.
The crossing takes just over three hours. More than three hours charged with emotions. Unique moments, never to be forgotten, where suddenly, as if appearing out of nowhere, a school of Commerson's dolphins appear, jumping and riding the waves across the bow of the ship, as if they want to, by enchantment make the ferry lose its programmed route.
Sociable and very active, Commerson's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus commersonii)
are coastal dolphins that live in the fiords, bays and even rivers, between the Gulf of San Matías and Tierra del Fuego. These very agile cetaceans with white bodies and black tails and heads can reach a length of up to a metre and a half (almost 5 foot) and weigh almost 50 kilograms. (Around 100 lbs.)
These happy creatures will make for a very pleasant journey. Their aquatic pirouettes and leaps seem to be a welcome sign to the travellers. They are like our hosts, showing us the way to Tierra del Fuego.
SAILING IN TORRES DEL PAINE
THE BAY OF LAST HOPE AND THE TORRES DEL PAINE
It was the last hope of that bygone sailor to find his way to the Straits of Magellan. If he didn't find the crossing, leaving from this bay, he would never find it. And the sailor, whose name was Juan Ladrillero, was so wrapped up in his Last Hope search that the phrase entered the language as the name of one of the most spectacular natural corners of the Chilean Patagonia.
Today, many travellers live on the Hope of sailing across this Bay, stretching from Mount Monte Balmaceda all the way to Guanaco Island, to admire the prodigious wildlife, which includes Southern Sea lions, Black necked swans (Cygnus melancoryphus)
, cormorants, Chilean dolphins (Cephalorhynchus eutropia)
, as well as wild ducks and even the legendary condor. The impressive glaciers of Balmaceda and Serrano form an unforgettable backdrop to this trip.
There is also the opportunity to optionally sail upstream the waters of the Serrano River. Doing this you will eventually reach the National Park of the Torres del Paine, nature's own bulwark, standing across the sky and declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO.