Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Embark the Silver Explorer and depart on your exciting Silversea Expedition — “Chilean Fjords”.
Once you have settled in and before Silver Explorer leaves Ushuaia, you will attend a mandatory safety drill. Later you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and this evening you can enjoy the delights of a specially prepared menu in The Restaurant.
Day 2 — Cruise the Garibaldi Fjord and Glacier
Heading west in the Beagle Channel, Silver Explorer will reach the Garibaldi Fjord early in the morning. This beautiful corner of the Chilean fjords lies within the Alberto de Agostini National Park, Chile’s third largest national park. This park - with its 14.600 km2 - includes all Chilean islands south of the Strait of Magellan, including a portion of Tierra del Fuego.
The Garibaldi is an impressive glacier on the south face of the Cordillera Darwin. During a Zodiac cruise we will see the different shades of blue of the ice -and calving events can make for a very impressive sight. Dozens of waterfalls dot the cliffs and in some cases the wind gusts can be so strong that the water gets blown upwards!
In terms of wildlife we can expect the majestic Andean Condor, a South American sea lion colony, skuas, kingfishers, Flightless Steamer Ducks, Crested Ducks, Kelp Geese, Ashy-headed Geese, caracaras, vultures, and nesting Imperial Shags among others.
During the afternoon, Silver Explorer will sail out into the Pacific Ocean to reach the entrance to the Strait of Magellan and our experts will present talks in the Explorer Lounge to give you an introduction to Chile and the region’s wildlife and nature. Today our lecturers will introduce you to the natural and historical highlights of Chile’s Magallanes Region.
Day 3 —Alberto de Agostini National Park and Ainsworth Bay, Chile
Today Silver Explorer will navigate past Dawson Island –quite infamous in Chile’s modern-day history as a penal settlement for political prisoners- into Almirantazgo Sound, to arrive at Ainsworth Bay. The bay is within Alberto De Agostini National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Depending on conditions, we intend to offer a Zodiac cruise to see the Marinelli Glacier descending from Darwin Mountain Range. This area will give a good appreciation how the land returns to life after glacial retreat. We also intend to take a walk in the stunning sub-polar Magellanic forest teeming with evergreens and deciduous trees. The bay promises a good chance of sighting Southern elephant seals, while nearby Tucker Island is known to have Magellanic Penguins.
Day 4 —Punta Arenas, Chile
Leaving from Punta Arenas, the capital of the region, we will drive to the estancia El Galpón.
At El Galpón you will get an understanding of the procedure of the wool and the importance of cattle and sheep to Patagonia through the demonstration of sheep shearing. There is also a guided path of local flora, while rheas and guanacos can be seen roaming free. Visit the small museum and enjoy a cocktail before heading back to the pier.
Day 5 — Montañas Fjord, Chile
Silver Explorer will cruise the Chilean Fjords and head for the Montañas Fjord in the late morning, early afternoon. Silver Explorer will sail parallel to the Cordillera de Sarmiento where several cascades and seven glaciers come down the steep sides of the mountains and –conditions permitting- we might do a Zodiac cruise or even land for a short hike. In the afternoon we will continue towards Puerto Natales.
Day 6 — Puerto Natales, Chile
From Puerto Natales we will head out to Torres del Paine National Park by bus. This is considered by many worldwide to be the most spectacular Reserve at the end of the world. Covering an area of 242,000 hectares, the park is a fertile combination of lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, glaciers, hills and spectacular peaks and is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. On the way to Laguna Sarmiento, the entrance to the park, we will stop for photos of the free roaming guanacos, Andean Condors and other wildlife. There will be opportunities to see the Salto Grande waterfall, the famous Torres del Paine peaks (weather permitting) and Nordenskjold Lake. Lunch will be had at the Serrano River area. Within the park there will be three different options of walks and hikes –depending on your fitness or willingness to exercise.
Day 7 — Puerto Natales, White Narrows, and cruising the Chilean Fjords, Chile
Leaving Puerto Natales, Silver Explorer will reach the famous White Narrows, which become evident as mountains loom in on both sides of the fjord with hardy native plants clinging to barren rock. With only approximately 80 meters (260 feet) of clearance from either side of the passage, the sharp turns of the ship, skillfully executed between rocky outcrops, are fascinating to watch from the outer decks. On the transit through the breathtaking White Narrows, it is also possible to see seals and dolphins plying the waters alongside the ship. We will sail through Chile’s largest national park, Bernardo O’Higgins, heading north for another famous narrow channel, the English Narrows. Silver Explorer will sail past Wellington Island –at 5,556 km² Chile’s second largest island- and our experts will continue to assist you on deck looking for birds and mammals, while discussions and lectures will also take place in the Explorer Lounge.
Day 8 — Cruise Pio XI Glacier and English Narrows, Chile
During the morning attend lectures about the fjords’ natural history or perhaps a seminar. Birders will want to know and see what species live in this area. We might still have a chance to see Andean Condors majestically soaring above the hills and mountains.
Around lunchtime we will visit the Pio XI Glacier. This tidewater glacier sprawled out in front of us is 4.5 km wide and a remarkable shade of brilliant blue. An outlet glacier of the South Patagonian Ice Field, the Pio XI had once extended out into the fjords whose waters we ply today.
In the evening –actually during dinnertime- we head towards the English Narrows. Our Captain and the local Chilean Pilots expertly manoeuvre Silver Explorer through the slalom course of islands and channel markers. At the narrowest part it has a width of 80 metres, permitting the passage of only one vessel at a time.
Day 9 — Tortel, Chile
Our course will take Silver Explorer to Caleta Tortel, one of the southernmost and until 2003 least connected settlements in Chile’s Aisén Region (in Patagonia). The abundant cypress led to the founding of the village and most houses are built on stilts along the shoreline of this hilly terrain. There are no conventional streets; instead the houses are connected by wooden walkways. We will explore the village –where a folkloric presentation awaits us at the main plaza- and will take our Zodiacs to cruise through the channels and the Baker River to visit “La Isla de los Muertos”, a small island used as a cemetery in 1906. Both the village and the island have been declared National Monuments.
Day 10 — At sea, Chile
Today Silver Explorer will venture again into the Pacific and will round the Tres Montes and Taitao Peninsulas – the sea tends to be rough, but the area is known for its whales and dolphins sightings.
Watch for cetaceans or relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read and meet up with new friends for cocktails.
During the night, Silver Explorer will pass the Guaitecas Archipelago and will enter calm waters.
Day 11 — Castro, Chile
Chiloé Island is home to an amazing collection of 150 Jesuit-built wooden churches, houses raised up on poles out of the water, and more than 400 native plant varieties.
From Castro, we head north to the picturesque village of Dalcahue and a brief ferry ride to the island of Quinchao, passing through Curaco de Velez. This tiny village of approximately 500 inhabitants had its best times around 1850. Today, beautiful houses remain as a testament to those earlier days. Black-necked Swans can sometimes be seen there. We then head for Achao, which was founded by the Jesuits in 1743. Achao is a lively town with boats arriving every day from all the surrounding islands.
We will visit the Jesuit’s Achao Church, the oldest wooden structure in Chiloé and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Constructed in 1730, it contains beautiful baroque imagery. Afterwards, we take the ferry back to Dalcahue. Here we will visit the well-preserved Dalcahue Church with its galvanized iron roof. The details and precision of the imagery carved by Jesuits from locally grown Patagonian cypress, larch and luma trees, are amazing -it was declared a World Heritage site in 2000. For lunch we head to Rilan, where a traditional “Pulmay” will be served. This is a meal typical of Chiloe, consisting of shellfish, potatoes, chicken and smoked meats cooked together in a pot (sometimes in an underground oven).There will be a traditional folkloric presentation and a local fashion show of typical dresses and materials.
Alternatively, visit three of the 16 UNESCO World Heritage Site churches on the island of Chiloé in Vilupulli, Chonchi and Castro. Apart from the churches, the Museum of Traditions will be visited in Chonchi. This small museum houses artefacts and photos relating to Chiloe and Chonchi and recreates the feeling of Chonchi in the early 20th century. The excursion ends with a visit to Castro’s handicraft market.
Day 12 —Puerto Montt, Chile
Puerto Montt is the starting point for our excursions to the Lake District and specifically Lago Llanquihue.
We will drive along the southern shore of Chile’s second-largest lake and head for the Petrohué waterfalls. These falls ‘connect’ Lago Esmeralda with Lago Llanquihue and we will walk over to the viewing platforms of Chile’s best-known falls. Here we will have an opportunity to see some of the local plants and endemic trees. Later you will have the choice to either visit a typical Chilean farm to learn about the traditions of southern Chile’s food, music, tools and the national sport of rodeo –which is quite different from the North American version- or to have lunch at a local restaurant and to explore the town of Puerto Varas.
If you choose the Fundo Olguita, you will have lunch including empanadas, a tasty barbeque und traditional German desserts –this area was first colonized by Germans in the mid-19th century. You will also have the chance to learn the Chilean national dance, the Cueca.
If you choose Puerto Varas, you will have time to explore the “City of Roses” –as Puerto Varas is known- and to browse the small handicraft village and see some of the wooden buildings for which the town was declared a “Heritage Zone”.
Day 13 — Niebla, Chile
During the late morning Silver Explorer will anchor in the Corral Bay halfway between Corral and Niebla. Niebla is a small village on the banks of the Rio Valdivia where the river meets Corral Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Today Niebla is a beach resort, but in 1671 it was a defensive fortress built by Spanish conquerors to prevent attacks from pirates and corsairs.
Today we will take a catamaran to the charming river port city of Valdivia, where we will find an interesting blend of influences from the native Mapuche, Spanish settlers, and German immigrants. The first German colonists arrived here in 1849 and worked hard to develop Valdivia into one of southern Chile’s most productive areas and their influence can be felt in every corner of this city. The town was affected by the 1960 earthquake –the worst ever recorded- but rebuilt with a strong German imprint. On our way to Valdivia we can see tracts of land that are still under water as a result of the quake. We will visit the river market and have a look at downtown Valdivia with its mix of old and modern buildings. You will have time to visit the Fort at Niebla before returning to the ship.
Day 14 —At sea
During the last day of our voyage, edit your photos and videos, attend final presentations and discussions and watch our Voyage-DVD prepared by the onboard Videographer.
Following the Humboldt Current, Silver Explorer will continue north along the Chilean coast, heading for the most populous area of Central Chile -with the most important harbours, the seat of Parliament (Valparaiso) and the capital (Santiago).
Day 15 —Valparaiso, Chile
While Silver Explorer approaches Valparaiso, take in the sights of “The Pearl of the Pacific” –as the city is known in Chile’s literature and music. Valparaiso’s historic hillside settlements (including the still used funiculars) have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After breakfast disembark Silver Explorer.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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