An article from PeterSmith.net.nz, written by
www.petersmith.net.nz/photos/patagonia-2.php

PeterSmith.net.nz > Photo journals > Patagonia Photo Journal (2): Southern Chilean Channels

Patagonia

Photo journal (page 2)

The southern channels turn into the land of fjords and glaciers; of steep sparse mountain walls capped in snow, and floors of leaden water whipped by unpredictable winds.

Southern Chilean Channels

The Pio X1 glacier, in Seno Eyre, has a face nearly 4 km wide.

Approaching Ventisquero Pio X1, Seno Eyre
Ventisquero Pio X1, Seno Eyre

Distances can be deceptive in an enviroment lacking the visual cues we are accustomed to.

Kiwi Roa, Pio X1
“Kiwi Roa”, Pio X1

The dinghy from which these photos were taken is kept at a safe distance from the danger of calving…

Kiwi Roa, Pio X1
“Kiwi Roa”, Pio X1

…like this.

Ice calving
Calving

The channels are home to a variety of interesting and hardy wildlife. The patient photographer may be rewarded.

Male kelp goose in flight
Male kelp goose in flight

Icebergs come in different colors and textures. Black ice can cause concern when mistaken for rock.

Black glacial ice from Pio X1 in Seno Eyre
Black glacial ice from Pio X1 in Seno Eyre

The Campo de Hielo Sur (Southern Patagonia Icefield) is one of the largest ice caps in the world, and dominates the unseen heights walled in by the channels’ mountain guardians. Colossal glaciers bleed its ice.

Southern Patagonia Icefield
Southern Patagonia Icefield glacier from Canal Sarmiento

These regions have impressed foreign sailors before. Conrad Martens was the illustrator onboard the HMS Beagle as she carried Charles Darwin up the Chilean channels, destination the Galápagos Islands. He recorded their expedition in water color much as we do with photography: this painting depicts Mount Sarmiento towering over the Canal.

Conrad Martens, Mount Sarmiento
Mount Sarmiento 1833

Away from such heady heights, creatures go about their more earthly business…

Martin Pescador kingfisher
Martin Pescador kingfisher, Caleta Moonlight Shadow

…including the local inhabitants of supposedly higher order. This Chilean submarine surfaced in order to navigate the channel safely with Kiwi Roa passing through in the same direction.

Armada submarine, Canal Smyth
Armada submarine, Canal Smyth

Tensions with neighboring Argentina are maintained, and the Chileans are keen to display a strong naval presence up and down the channels and especially in the Straits of Magellan, where they are seen routinely every day. Their crews however are very friendly.

Chilean naval patrols
Chilean naval patrols

Quetro no volador, flightless steamer ducks, have developed a curious method of surface propulsion.

Steamer ducks
Steamer ducks

The resulting speed is impressive. These birds are seen in pairs in nearly every caleta on the way south.

Paddling steamer ducks
Paddling

Comments