Ice and weather. That’s what it all comes down to as ships make their way through this part of the world. On Chile’s coast along the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, ice buildup and quixotic weather conditions heavily dictate which routes ships can take. Even when passage is safe around the popular Amalia, El Brujo or numerous other breathtaking glaciers found here, misty rain or soupy fog might be the order of the day. And it can always shift in a flash, as glassy waters erupt into choppy waves—or, more happily, shrouded peaks become flooded with sunlight sparkling off the ice fields, letting you relish a momentary peaceful stillness in the air.
Snug in a parka, and from the comfort of your ship deck, you marvel at the different appearances of the glaciers, from fields pocked with lumps of ice to smooth watery rivulets, all in hues of blue too numerous to describe. The truly lucky get to witness sunrise or dine at sunset while anchored in the deep fjords or narrow channels along the coast. But any time of the day, you’re guaranteed a backdrop of snowcapped peaks while you observe small Peale’s dolphins and sea lions as well as terns, albatrosses and other seabirds going about their daily business around you.