Tuesday, February 1, 2022

January 31st – Nature in the Raw in the Chilean Fjords

There can’t be many more places more bleak than the Chilean Fjords – a wind-lashed series of rugged rocks, isolated islands and moody mountains with scarcely a tree in sight, under perpetually grey skies. Yet, there’s an awesome beauty to be savoured in this scattering of islands and narrow channels down in Chile’s Deep South, plus the other good thing is that they provided welcome shelter from the very heavy seas that had been tossing us about for the previous day.

As the ship crept quietly in between the steep rockfaces of the islands, we passed by jumping seals and sealions, while albatrosses, petrels and skuas rode the strong gusts circling above us. As the wind blew through, occasionally, we’d mistake the spray of the sea for a spout of a whale, but we didn’t catch a sight of any whales, even though we knew they were down there.

To complete the elemental environment, heavy rain started to blow sideways at the ship as the winds became so strong that it was dangerous to be on the outside decks. However, the views of the now-misty fjords just got better and better. Thin waterfalls cascaded down the side of the rockface like jagged white thunderbolts, and we passed by breathtaking blue glaciers grinding their way down the hillside towards the water. The two glaciers that we saw were in retreat, so they weren’t quite reaching the icy water and we couldn’t get to see any calving, but it was still an amazing sight to behold from your own balcony.

You don’t get many chances to see nature in the raw like this – this was a day to remember.