Patagonia Glaciers

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Patagonia glaciers rival those in the Arctic and Scandanavia in both numbers and beauty. A permanent feature of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America, these glaciers lie above the myriad fjords that indent the coast along the Beagle Channel. As tall ships maneuver through this spectacular passageway, passengers are treated to views of one breathtaking glacier after another.

The Garibaldi glaciers drop into the channel and present passengers with photo opportunities that are unique. Pia Fjord is a treasure trove of glaciers, which surround any ship that enters the waterway. Near Mount Darwin, several adjacent glaciers are named France, Italy, Germany, and Romanche. Through miles of the Beagle Channel, fjords and glaciers carve niches in the coastline where sleek yachts can anchor in protected coves.

Patagonia Glaciers and the Beagle Channel

In 2000, the southwest branch of the Beagle Channel was opened, which means that passengers can experience the stunning scenery on both branches of the waterway. This branch takes vessels between Hoste and Gordon Islands to see the many breathtaking Patagonia glaciers along the passage. The entire area is relatively unexplored, so most glaciers have not yet been named, but there are some fabulous ice-blue glaciers that come right down to the water alongside the boat.

As is true of many islands and fjord areas around the southern edge of South America, the Beagle Channel presents a great opportunity for sea kayaking. The mother ship can slip into narrow passages, but kayaks are even smaller and can put the paddler right next to magnificent Patagonia glaciers. Such a kayak trip is perfect for exploring any niches and inlets that catch the eye of the paddler on an outing from the larger yacht.

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