On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
I pinged several people who’d spent time in Patagonia—asking what to see & how to travel. After a few false starts, I booked a U-shaped trip from the U.S. to Buenos Aires to Ushuaia to Punta Arenas to Torres del Paine to Valparaiso. This second batch of photos is from the core of the trip—a five-day cruise on M/V Ventus Australis through the Strait of Magellan and Beagle, Murray & Cockburn Channels. Names echoing the history of European exploration in southernmost South America.
After the afternoon hike on Isla Navarino, the ship sailed through a series of channels overnight to reenter Beagle Channel. By morning we had reached the Pia Fjord within the Darwin Range. We again climbed into a zodiac to zip amongst baby icebergs to our landing spot adjacent to Pia Glacier. Note that two glacial flows on either side of a low mountain come together here at the shore. (The one on the right is somewhat hidden under rock debris.)
We disembarked and climbed high enough for a vista of the glacier. The debris-covered one on the right and a glimpse of the blue ice one on the left. Our guide explained that the blue color results from compression collapsing air bubbles in the ice.
Looking back down the fjord with the ship in the distance. The ship had a draft of just 3 meters. We were told that this ship & its sister ship are the only ones able to enter these fairly narrow and shallow channels. (Our cabin was mid-ship on the main deck, so even with the shallow draft, we felt only gentle wave motion in the protected channels & fjords.)
The rock surfaces we scrambled up were really fun. Here, a stretched & folded metamorphosed granitic rock, aka gneiss.
Heading back for breakfast. Just over 100 passengers on the ship, mostly active people in their 30s, 40s & 50s. We were advised to wear waterproof gear on the zodiacs and I saw a fair number of ‘repurposed’ snowboard pants. Mine were ski pants…
After the morning excursion, the ship headed west along the Beagle Channel to enter another fjord. (A bit tricky trying to take a photo that’s not blurry while also trying to hang on.) Here we’re en route to Garibaldi Glacier. Members of the deck crew ‘drove’ the zodiacs and I must note that they were having fun blasting along.
Another split glacier with the flow on the right covered with debris—pushing ahead a sort of a terminal moraine. This time we did not get out to hike, rather just snugged up close to the toes of the glaciers.
The vertical stripes mark where two glacial flows merge to form a medial moraine.
I believe there was a request for waterfalls…