An overcast morning greeted National Geographic Resolution as it cruised along the northern side of Isla de los Estados. As black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophris) danced around the ship, we took shelter in a deep fiord (Pto. Cook) protected from the Antarctic winds. After enjoying the scenery during an amazing breakfast, Zodiacs departed for shore. Guests landed on a large pebble beach and began a short hike across the island from the north to south shores. The hike took naturalists and guests across a range of Patagonian ecosystems, including intertidal, peatlands, grasslands, and evergreen forests. Upon arriving at the southern side of Isla de los Estados, several unique bird and marine species were discovered along with strong southern winds. After returning to the ship, guests enjoyed lunch as we transited east along the protected leeward side of the island. A second landing site was discovered inside a 3.5-kilometer-long fiord. After landing, guests and staff set off on a short hike through the windblown trees to a small lighthouse, the San Juan of Salvamento Lighthouse (“The Lighthouse at the End of the World”). We visited the site and explored the interior of the lighthouse, and then guests hiked back to the ship. Upon returning to the beach and transiting back to the ship, we departed for the southern side of the island. During our transit, a small pod of killer whales was encountered cruising along the coastline off the portside of the vessel. As the evening came to a close, staff began a recap and a discussion of the plants, animals, history, and geology witnessed throughout the day. Another amazing day came to an end as guests enjoyed a delicious meal and engaged in passionate conversations.
National Geographic Resolution
Bernal Glacier and Kirke Narrows
Arriving at Bernal Glacier early morning, guests and staff completed a most scenic walk to observe its snout and the terminal moraine that extend towards the waters in which National Geographic Resolution was positioned. The glacier is located within the Campos de Hielo which is part of a larger ice- covered area in Magellan Patagonia. Access to the glacier snout is made possible using a path that allows visitors to walk through low vegetation and onto the terminal moraine that consists of a wide assortment of boulders, gravels, and sand that were deposited when the glacier no longer could carry their load. At this point on the walk, unobstructed views of the glacier gave us an opportunity to witness its ever-diminishing size, both in length and width, when compared with our photographs taken over the last few years. Still, its beauty remains, and the enormity of glacial power and erosional forces firmly impresses all those who enjoyed the landing this morning. Following lunch, National Geographic Resolution navigated the Kirke Narrows. Always an exciting part of a Patagonia voyage, the bridge team took us through the narrows at slack tide and perfectly timed the navigation through the narrowest part of the canal which is 426 feet. Once through the narrows, we continued to Puerto Natales in anticipation of disembarkation tomorrow. This ten-day trip of Patagonia and Staten Island has been remarkable during which majestic landscapes and a wide range of wildlife was observed.