“Instead of another bus ride, you could have a bit of an adventure.” Back in February, our friend Carolyn—the same friend who suggested the Isla Navarino trek—laid out our options for getting to the jumping-off point for that trek: Puerto Williams, Chile.
Naturally, we picked the adventure, a 36-hour ferry trip from Punta Arenas, Chile, through part of the Strait of Magellan, among rough-edged islands and along the Beagle Channel to Puerto Williams. Early in March, we spent a couple days hanging around Punta Arenas—a city of aging mansions, metal-faced shacks, elaborately coiffured trees and Bon Jovi tribute shows--waiting for the once-a-week sailing. Then we took a colectivo to the docks to find our boat, the Bahía Azul.
|Somehow we expected it to be bigger, maybe with a built-up prow for forging through the ice. But we got on board anyway. (MK)|
|And after a bit of a false start--out into the channel, back to the dock, out into the channel again--we headed south on the Strait of Magellan. (MK)|
|The next day started out gray and cold. . . . (KK)|
|. . . but even though our little cabin was snug, being up on deck was irresistible. (KK)|
|There was much more sunshine as we headed into the Canal del Ballaneros. (KK)|
|After Punta Arenas, we saw not a single human on shore the whole trip--and not a single house, road, light or cellphone tower. (MK)|
|A Chilean navy ship--one of only a handful of other boats we passed. (KK)|
|We hugged the shore of Tierra del Fuego for much of the trip. (MK)|
|On the second evening, a fishing boat moored alongside, and all of us passengers hung over the rail, taking pictures like paparazzi (KK).|
|While one crew member held the mooring rope, the rest traded fish for cigarettes, toilet paper, booze and dry cereal. (KK)|
|The second morning, we arrived in Puerto Williams. (KK)|
|Calm and safe after a memorable trip. (KK)|