From Innocence to Conception

February, 7, 2020, Innocence Island through Conception Canal to Trinidad Canal. Chile

In the past 10 months I have had the fun of cruising fjords on 4 continents.  At home in Alaska cruising the waters around Sitka and in Prince William Sound, in Norway on the Prinsendam and on this cruise fjords in Antarctica and South America.

I know it is silly to compare, each is different in many ways and the same in some, but comparison’s jump to mind.  The vegetation is different, at home it’s spruce, hemlock and cedar, in Chile deciduous I can’t readily identify and in Antarctica, mostly algae. 

But what strikes me most is the traffic and human habitation.  Norway’s fjords are the most developed with roads, powerlines, bridges, farms, villages, towns, cities and a lot of marine traffic. Much to my surprise the fjords with the least marine traffic and habitation were the fjords in southern Chile.  On our day of cruising in the southern fjords (Sailing from Innocence Island to Conception Channel and out Trinidad Canal) we saw exactly one other boat, a couple of channel markings and no towns.  In Antarctica we saw research stations from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Poland to name just a few and many other cruise ships, expedition ships, sailing yachts, research vessels, supply vessels and one boat with a BBC crew filming Orca.  The Antarctic Fjords we sailed were much more peopled than the southern Chilean fjords.  The Northern Fjords had, as a backdrop to the East, the snowcapped Andes.

The northern Chilean fjords that we sailed through are different.  We sailed between James and Melchor Islands and up the Moraleda Canal.  The shoreline of Melchor Island especially was chock a block with fish farms growing pen reared salmon and the marine traffic associated with that, from supply boats, landing craft, tenders and zodiacs running between pens.   To the east, towering over the canals, we did not see the line of snowcapped Andes mountains but rather individual snow-capped volcanos punctuating the sky.

The weather the last 4 days, in Ushuaia, Punta Arenas and the last two days of fjord cruising has been wonderful.  This area is like Southeast Alaska, where warm, sunny days are at a premium.  We have had 4 in a row and it looks like we are coming onto a fifth.  I’ve loved sitting out on deck watching the mountains go by, spotting the occasional whale and sealion.  Last night we blew off the “Gala Night” dress up dinner to take food from the lido cafeteria to eat outside.  The last three nights the sunsets have been spectacular and long with the sunset on port and the Alpen glow on starboard. 

This post just has photos from the Southern Fjords, Innocence to Conception to Trinity.  The next post (whenever I can get the bandwidth) will have pics from the Northern fjords.

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