Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you will need to check in at 1385 O’Higgins Street between 1pm and 5pm.
At 6pm, you will board the vessel for a welcoming toast and to be introduced to the captain and crew. Spend the evening enjoying the sights, sailing overnight across the Strait of Magellan and entering the Whiteside Canal between Darwin Island and Isla Grand de Tierra del Fuego.
Ainsworth Bay – Tuckers Islets
When you wake, you’ll find yourself sailing up Admiralty Sound, a stunning body of water that trails off from the Strait of Magellan and stretches almost halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The sound has a striking backdrop of snow-capped mountains in Karukinka Natural Park, whilst the south is framed by jaw-dropping fjords and the bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park.
Your first stop is at Ainsworth Bay, a beautiful coastal inlet home to an array of bird life and a curious colony of southern elephant seals that can usually be seen from the Zodiacs. Choose from one of two excursions – you could either hike along the edge of a stream, peat bogs and beaver-adorned marshes to discover a waterfall-shrouded rock deep inside a sparkling sub-polar forest, or you could embark on a more energetic hike along the crest of a gorgeous glacial moraine. Whichever you choose, you’ll be treated to amazing views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.
Once back on the vessel, you’ll journey west, where you’ll be greeted with views of the Tucker Islets. Enjoy a delightful lunch on the ship before boarding the Zodiacs for an unforgettable view of the Magellan penguins that make the tiny islands their home. More than 4,000 penguins reside in the Tucker Islets, meaning there’s a high change you’ll spot a fair few. Look out for more birdlife too, including Andean condors, eagles and dolphin gulls.
If you go on this tour in September and April, you won’t be able to see the penguins, so instead you’ll enjoy a short walk to a glacier at Brookes Bay.
Pia Glacier – Glacier Alley
Overnight, your vessel will cruise around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. Once you’ve sailed around the secluded Brecknook Peninsula, you’ll enter Beagle Channel. Once you wake in the morning, you’ll be sailing through Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a tour of the fjord.
You’ll disembark in Pia Fjord, embarking on a short hike which ends with an unsurpassable view of the glacier. Alternatively, you could take the harder walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
Once you’re back on the ship, you’ll journey east along the Beagle Channel, arriving in an area called Glacier Alley. This is an aptly named destination, adorned with breath-taking glaciers that flow down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet. Many are named after European countries – including Italy, Spain and Holland.
Cape Horn – Wulaia Bay
In the morning, you’ll set sail across Nassau Bay, journeying into the isolated archipelago that includes the stunning Cape Horn National Park – depending on the weather, you may go ashore the island that harbours Cape Horn, a 425m high rugged promontory that looks out onto the Drake Passage. Once known as the ‘end of the earth’, the park was named a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005.
In the afternoon, you will sail down the Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands, ending at Wulaia Bay. This part of the archipelago is steeped in fascinating human history – it was once the site of one of the largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, and the bay was described by Charles Darwin and drawn by Caption FitzRoy in the 1830’s. It’s a very beautiful area, and you will have time too explore the museum in the old radio station to find out more about its past.
You’ll then have a choice of three hikes. They all differ in terms of difficult, but all ascend the mountain behind the bay, passing enticing Magellan forest of canelos, ferns and lengas before ending at a panoramic viewpoint. When you leave Wulaia, a nice touch is to drop something into the wooden mail barrel that’s inside the museum – it’s filled with letters meant to be hand delivered by future travellers, and in an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.
This is your last day. You will sail into Argentine waters and disembark in Ushuaia.