Glacier Alley and the Penguins of Magdalena Island

Trip Start Nov 07, 2012
Trip End Nov 20, 2012

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Via Australis

Flag of Chile  , Magallanes,
Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our next leg of our voyage took us through the main part of the Beagle Channel as we traveled to see the Pia Glacier.  We came ashore, once again, by zodiac to see the glacier from its originating point in the Darwin Mountain Range to where it meets the sea. The colors, the cracks, the sounds of the glacier calving were all incredible. 

From Pia Glacier we continued along the Beagle Channel's northwestern arm through the majestic Glacier Alley.  Unfortunately most of the Patagonian glaciers of Chile and Argentina are melting so rapidly that they are making a significant contribution to the rise of the sea level.

The following day we sailed into Chico Sound where we were able to view the intensely blue Piloto  and Neve Glaciers from the water aboard zodiac boats.  Here we also saw nesting cormorants along the cliffs.  In this area we also stopped to see Garibaldi Glacier.   We continued to Agostini Sound in the heart of the Darwin Cordillera and were surrounded by a landscape of mountains graced with glaciers flowing all the way to the sea.  Here we viewed Aguila Glacier, fronted by smooth beach and ringed by Magellanic forest.

On our final day of the voyage we visited Magdalena Island, the home of a large colony of more than 120,000 Magellanic Penguins.  Many were nesting though we were unable to see any eggs in their burrows.  Although there millions of these penguins, their status is considered threatened due to the possibility of oil spills and a depleting fish supply due to climate change.  They are real characters!

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