Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The straits of Magellan by ferry: Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas

The ferry Yaghan
The ferry from Puerto Williams to Punta Arenas is a 30 hour ferry ride through the Beagle Channel and the Magellanic straits.

The ferry is a commuter and goods ferry, so it is not designed as a tour - however the scenery makes it an unforgettable experience.

The ferry itself is functional and comfortable with fully reclinable bed seats which were long enough even for me and quite comfortable. The food is basic, but tasty, but you don't take the ferry for luxury.
A reasonably tasty spag bol
The trip starts through the Beagle channel heading north towards Ushuaia. During this trip, the ferry was joined by many animals, including Orcas (which sadly dived before I could photograph them), Penguins and sealions.
A sealion
The ferry also startled many birds who took off as the boat approached.
A Cormorant flies off
The ferry starts by travelling up the Beagle Channel through fairly calm waters.
A fellow traveler on the Beagle Channel
As the ferry leaves at four in the afternoon, the slow sunset over the channel provides a beautiful backdrop to the cruise.
Sunset over the Beagle Channel

The mouth of the Beagle Channel
The ferry then turns out of the Beagle Channel and into more open seas over night.
My view first thing in the morning
Where the sea is a lot rougher 
Rough seas
However, once the ferry entered the Magellanic straits, the sea calmed as it passed the southernmost tip of the South American continent.
Entering the straits
There is a giant white cross which marks the southernmost point.
The tip of the South American continent
The ferry continues towards Punta Arenas as the sun goes down over the Magellanic straits and arrives around 10pm in the evening to Punta Arenas, allowing passengers a final sunset on the sea.
Sunset with Punta Arenas in the distance