Day 7 |
Mar 03, 2009

Puerto Eden & Chilean Fjords

By Peter W. Damisch, Historian

Co-ordinates: 48 degrees 57.3’ S, 74 degrees 25.9’ W

Air Temperature: 14 degrees C

Sea Temperature: 12 degrees C

Pressure: 1010

Wind: 20 knots

The Prince Albert II continues its fascinating cruise through the Chilean fjords. Every moment brings a new vision in a beautiful area studded with numerous serene water channels being expertly-navigated by our Captain and Bridge Team.

This morning yielded another great example of the advantages offered by expedition cruising. The Prince Albert II Expedition Team and Captain were able to adjust the ship's schedule to offer a previously unplanned visit to the lovely but very remote small village of Puerto Eden, one of Chile's most isolated and uninhabited locales. This rarely-visited remote fishing town is adjacent to Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, and serves as the last outpost of the Kaweshkar Indians.

I had the good fortune to operate one of the Zodiacs where dolphins were sighted earlier in the day. I was then able to lead a group through a walking tour of the area, which included both Puerto Eden and the National Park. Our arrival was greeted by a variety of birds, including a ringed kingfisher and multiple green-backed firecrowns (hummingbirds), which were dining on the nectar of local flora. Several guests took the opportunity to purchase handicrafts, and be introduced to several very friendly puppies and cats near the Zodiac embarkation station.

Our wonderful lunch was delayed for a few minutes to allow most of us to go out on deck and observe the ship's passage through the English Narrows, a particularly small and tricky body of water with islands close by on almost every side. Of course, the Captain and Bridge Team steered us through safely, as always. I took a few pictures of the tight quarters and a splendid statue of the Virgin Mary, a typical religious symbol for the Chilean people, standing on a prominent island.

Later in the afternoon, I had a great turnout of enthusiastic people for my presentation entitled “Darwin - Revolution of the Species”. There was great interaction, and many questions, as I gave a somewhat humorous but informative lecture covering Darwin's two years of research activity within the same Chilean fjords that we have been voyaging through.

After a recap given by the Expedition Team that included a brief discussion about lichens and the fate of the native people, I had the good fortune to dine with two couples who had literally travelled the world before selecting this trip from Silversea Cruises. We all had a great time telling stories about our holidays (some of them might even be true), as well as discussing our upcoming visit to the northern areas of this beautiful country. All in all, it was a great day!