Chilean Patagonia

In February 2014 we spent a few days in Punta Arenas, exploring the city and visiting Los Pingüinos Natural Monument on Magdalena island.

We had booked a round trip with Transbordadora Austral Broom on the cargo ferry Yaghan for a round trip crossing from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams with a stopover in Puerto Williams. At 18.00 on 20 February we set sail from Punta Arenas on the Yaghan. The ferry passed through the Straits of Magellan, past Cape Froward and into the Magdalena Channel. During the night the sea was very rough with high winds and around 05.00 we realised that the ferry was stopping. I stuck my head outside into torrential rain and asked a crew member what was happening; I was told that there was a big storm and that the Captain was going to stop the boat here in a safe harbour for several hours. Denis had been plotting our route and saw that we were in a small bay approximately where the Magdalena Channel joines the Cockburn Channel.

The Yaghan resumed her journey about 13.00 on 21 February. We continued through the Cockburn and Brecknock Channels, across the Bahia Desolada, through the Ballerno and O’Brien Channels, through the North East Arm of the Beagle Channel and thence into the main Beagle Channel. We made two stops in Yendegaia  Bay, one to drop off some construction materials and the other at Yendegaia, a small estancia at the mouth of the river. We then continued through the Beagle Channel, arriving at Puerto Williams at 11.00 on 22 February, about 12 hours later than our expected arrival.

Here is the link to a Google map showing our ferry journey from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams as plotted by Denis.

We spent one night in Puerto Williams at HOSTAL AKAINIJ a very comfortable and friendly place to stay. The breakfast was excellent and the hosts, Julio and Gaby,  also offer meals for a modest price (cash only).

For our return journey on the Yaghan we had much better weather and were able to see the mountains and glaciers that we had missed seeing on our outward journey due to poor visibility and nighttime.

Late evening in the Beagle Channel from the Yaghan en route to Punta Arenas
Late afternoon light in the Beagle Channel,  from the Yaghan en route from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas, February 23 2014
Monte Sarmiento from the ferry Yaghan in the Magdalena Channel
Monte Sarmiento as seen from the ferry Yaghan in the Magdalena Channel, 24 February 2014