Day 2 |
Mar 01, 2012

Garibaldi Glacier, Chile

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 54º44’12”, W 069º58’33”
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 11ºC
Sea Temperature: 8ºC
Wind: 20 knots

This morning I got up early so I could spend some time on deck enjoying the scenery of the Chilean fjords as we sailed north into Garibaldi Fjord. This beautiful corner of the Chilean fjords lies within the Alberto de Agostini National Park, Chile’s third largest national park. This beautiful park - with its 14.600 km2 - includes all Chilean islands south of the Magellan Strait, including a portion of Tierra del Fuego.

The Garibaldi glacier comes as a surprise when one sails into this narrow fjord; it lies at the end of it and sits at the foothills of the Darwin ranges, the southernmost extremity of the Andes.

At 9:30 am we started embarking our guests into Zodiacs for a one-and-a-half hour tour of the area. The mountains and the valley sides were very steep. At the top of some of the peaks one could see fresh snow as well as some glaciers on the highest of them.
The lush vegetation was a welcome sight, almost a caress to the eyes. Having just finished an Antarctic season, my eyes are not used to seeing so much greenery together anymore! I was mesmerized by the variety of shades of green and the smell of the mosses and the earth. Dozens of waterfalls dotted the cliffs and in some cases the wind gusts were so strong that the water was getting blown upwards!

In terms of wildlife we saw quite a lot, starting with the majestic Andean Condor. I had 3 of these impressive animals flying overhead my Zodiac, one of them quite close. Then we found a South American sea lion colony. There were probably 40 or 50 animals there between males, females and pups, all making a raucous.

We also saw kingfishers, skuas, flightless steamer ducks, kelp geese, ashy-headed geese, caracaras, vultures, crested ducks, nesting imperial shags, cincloides, etc. A great variety of bird life indeed.

The rocks were also quite spectacular - I must add - and then we got to the Garibaldi glacier, the cherry on the cake. An impressive glacier on the south face of the Darwin ranges. Shades of blue and a few calving events made for a very impressive sight.

By 12:30 we had brought everyone back on board, and the Silver Explorer was ready to sail again towards Punta Arenas, tomorrow’s destination. At 2:30 pm I gave a lecture entitled “Ice on the Rocks - The Cool World of Glaciers”. I talked about glaciers and their features, and also about how they form and shape the landscape.

The Expedition Team then hosted a Recap & Briefing, followed by Captain Adam Boczek’s Welcome Cocktail Party and Gala dinner, hosted by our Executive Chef Janine and Restaurant Manager Laszlo.