Navigation in the Frozen Meanders of Patagonia

Designed for polar navigation, the RCGS Resolute is the ideal vessel for exploring ice-filled fjords around Chilie

Vacation with Adventure: To Southern Chile, the Fjords labyrinth reserves its wild beauty for exploration boats

There are not many unexplored places in the world anymore. Among these rarely preserved territories, Chilean Patagonia still acts as the ultimate frontier. Dogged by millennia-old ice, scratched by raging winds and gnawed by torrential rains, the “Magellanes” are a myth for all lovers of geography and maritime history. Named in honour of their discoverer Fernand de Magellanthese countries at the end of the world are so isolated that they are not accessible by any means of land or air transport. It can only be reached by sea, through a maze of islands, canals and fjords, some of which have never seen the hull of a ship. The seabeds of the region remain poorly mapped, each trip has an expedition character.

From Ushuaia, when it rushes into the Beagle Channel for coastal navigation towards Valparaíso, RCGS Resolute does not yet know all the details of its itinerary. Its route through the Magellanic archipelago will depend on weather conditions.

From the Alberto-de-Agostini National Park to the Gulf of Penins, the ship chartered by the Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions travels in the wake of the most illustrious explorers. The names of Francis Drake, Jean-Francois Perouse, James Cook or Charles Darwin remain forever bound to the confines of the planet and feed conferences aboard the boat. Along the way, naturalists, glaciologists, geologists, ornithologists and ethnologists share their scientific knowledge with the passengers and also admit some less serious superstitions. Some of them suggest that they listen to them on stormy nights: they could hear the bells ringing from the wrecks scattered in these hostile meanders …

Meet the ice giants

Near the Strait of Magellan and Cape Froward reigns one of the most formidable climates of the planet: 5 m of precipitation per year and winds regularly exceeding 200 km / h. This incessant round of depressions and the violence of the gusts that accompany them gave birth to an extravagant rainforest, carpeted with moss and populated with stunted beeches like bonsai. The crossing of narrow canals, as well as the daily landings, allow travellers to contemplate the strange beauty of this nature shaped by the brutality of the elements. Fortunately, wet afternoons are often replaced by flamboyant twilights. And in the early morning, it is in a religious silence that the boat slips on the mirror of the water. In the fjords closest to Patagonia, theRCGS Resolute seems to advance in the nave of a cathedral whose pillars rush to the sky.

We can not describe this extraordinary relief without mentioning the work of the giants who shaped it. Throughout the Quaternary, glaciers plowed Patagonia in all directions. Then they withdrew, leaving the ocean to flood an inextricable set of valleys. The zodiac approach of a monumental glacier front seeming to descend directly from the clouds into the dark waters of a fjord, studded with ice blocks, is an unforgettable experience, offered daily to RCGS Resolute passengers. Garibaldi, Bernal, Skua or El Brujo are some of the many titans that can be touched. The most majestic of them is the Brügen. At 60 km long and 5 km wide, it is the largest glacier in South America. This force of nature does not weaken but always progresses to the sound of detonations whose echo reverberates to infinity. Fascinated by this colossus in action, the travellers taste each second of a phenomenon that they know in reprieve. Of the 48 glaciers in the Patagonian ice field, only two are advancing. The other 46 are inexorably receding .


Chile’s fjords are a new exploration ground for Canadian company One Ocean Expeditions . A historical partner of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS), this polar specialist offers ocean travel based on understanding and respect for the environment. By supporting research, it offers its passengers in-depth sources of information and the chance to rub shoulders with real experts.

From Ushuaia to Valparaíso, via Cape Horn, Torres del Paine Park, the village of Puerto Eden, the island of Chiloé and the seaside resort of Niebla, the Chilean Fjords itinerary is a compendium of adventures out of thirteen days. The first part of this exceptional journey proposes to discover one of the wildest regions of the world in conditions of maximum comfort and safety. Specially designed for the expedition cruise, RCGS Resolute has a capacity of 146 passengers. Its fine cuisine restaurant, bistro, observation lounge, a well-stocked library, conference room, spa and gymnasium make it possible to recharge your batteries between each descent. Next departure on March 28, 2020.

Contact: voyages @ oneoceanexpeditions.

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