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Patagonia

Photo journal (page 6)

We had time to visit several destinations on the way back to Puerto Williams.

Seno Pia

After arriving and mooring in the pitch dark, we awoke to find ourselves in Beaulieu, Seno Pia. The white boat belongs to an American scientist who uses it as a base to conduct surveys on the glaciers.

Beaulieu
Beaulieu

Seno Pia has at its head the Pia glacier, a very active and powerful glacier.

Seno Pia
Seno Pia

Mooring with shore-lines is common in this region, due to poor holding on steep slopes and deep water. At the head of the valley, the glacier looms.

Beaulieu shore
Beaulieu shore

The foreshore around the glacial valley is safe enough to be explored.

Seno Pia
Seno Pia

The terrain is very alien, with flat shallows that extend out from the glacier’s moraine for miles.

Seno Pia
Seno Pia

Chunks of ice, recent members of the glacier itself, dot the flats where they have been deposited after high-tide. The Pia glacier itself dominates the valley behind.

Pia glacier and flats
Pia glacier and flats

Closer, the glacier is a complex labyrinth of crevasses, ice rivers, and debris-covered war-zones.

Pia glacier
Pia glacier

This crevasse, invisible until almost on top of it, is typical. A swift river of meltwater thunders out of the far tunnel, raising steam and making a continual din. The grey color of the ice comes from ingrained dust and rock fragments. The ice is still slippery and lethal.

Pia glacier crevasse
Pia glacier crevasse

The nearby moraine is safer, but still difficult terrain to climb. The dinghy, shown on the flats above, is a tiny speck in this photo.

Pia glacier moraine
Pia glacier moraine

The Seno is filled with floating ice, casualties from the calving glacier. Rather than receding, the Pia glacier is an exception to the rule in this region.

Seno Pia
Seno Pia

The glacier glares down the Seno channel.

Departing Seno Pia
Departing Seno Pia

The surrounding terrain is no less impressive.

Seno Pia cliffs
Seno Pia cliffs