Well it has been almost two years since my last vacation which was to China. I have been working for NationsBanc Montgomery Securities doing Y2K testing and contingency plans just in case the fixes don't work!  Also a lot of reverse engineering on a lot of old applications so that has been a lot of fun. Now it is time for a long over due vacation. 

Note: You can read about my adventures and check out each link in the following dissertation.  Or, you can click on this link ~ Chilean & Argentina Photos ~ and view the photos in sequence without reading about my travels in these two countries!

I saw a trip to Tierra del Fuego in the Wednesday afternoon paper where I usually get very good trips that are off the beaten path and at reasonable rates. At first I didn't know if my reservations were going to be in effect as I didn't hear from the travel agent for two weeks and after four phone calls.  Needless to say I was irritated until Marcelo explained what had happened. Read on for the nightmare when Peruvian Airlines went suddenly out of business! 

Anyway, as I was contemplating going to Chile I stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops, the Roastery, in the San Francisco Center at Powell and Market where the cable car turnaround is. That was about six months ago and as I was reading the paper I saw an older couple at the next table. Being personable, I started talking to them. They are from Santiago Chile and most of their children live there. and are just great and we have become friends over time. We always kid each other as we are the 'Coffee for Three Club' in San Francisco! They want me to visit one of their nieces, Elsa, that lives in Santiago as I pass through to Easter Island. Her husband, Elgardo, is in the computer business and they think we will have a lot to talk about. Well we will see when I get back to Santiago after the cruise in Tierra del Fuego next Saturday night!

Here is the map of lower Patagonia - Tierra del Fuego - and the route the cruise ship, the M/V Terra Australis traversed through the fjords, glaciers, and other wonders along the way.

Please click on the following links to view information about Chile: The map and the geographical statistics for Chile and the statistics for Tierra del Fuego.

Discovery of Tierra del Fuego

Hernado de Magellan's sailed in 1519 towards the Finis Terrae and adventured into the strait that bears his name.

This is the region where the American continent breaks into pieces, submerging itself into the sea that in 1577 the English corsair Francis Drake had to navigate through during one of the most exciting episodes of his trip around the world. This is an area of wooded mountains, deep valleys pierced by channels and fiords, with islands of virgin vegetation, where the Coastal Mountain Ranges disappear under the sea and only the majestic Cordillera de los Andes remain.

This is the place that astounded Charles Darwin in 1831, who on board the Beagle, was making one of the most renowned trips in history. The Patagonia was an important site for his research which would give rise to a large portion of the ideas that would shake the world's scientific notions of natural selection.

Expedition Cruise of the M/V Terra Autralis

Sailing on the expedition cruise of the Terra Australis allows one to become immersed in the magic and fantasy of the southern most scenery of the American continent.

Our adventure begins on Saturday, the 2nd of April, 1999 in the Chilean city of Punta Arenas. It only carries 114 passengers and we started our seven day journey with a welcome dinner and introduction to the crew, then castoff to cruise through the Tierra del Fuego islands which included the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel around the island of Tierra del Fuego. Of course as soon as we were seated at our respective dining room table the 'Table Politics' began as we sorted out which people we wanted to sit with!

On April 3rd we sail the Admiralty Fjord and Brooks Bay with the center of attention the Darwin Mountain Range. We then have a safety drill with life jackets just to be safe!

April 4th found us anchored next to the Agostini Fjord where we could take pictures of the Serrano glacier that dislodges from the Darwin Mountain Range. We then took a zodiac boat and had an up close look at the Serrano glacier and also had a beach side whiskey on the rocks - made with Millenary ice! Our first toast to the new millennium! We then sailed through the Magdalena and Cockburn channels.

The sailing continued on April 5th through the Beagle Channel and the Avenue of Glaciers along with the help of our trusty Navigator! Next we disembarked for a horseback ride through the hills surrounding a deserted ranch, the Yendegaian Estate, and then arrived at Puerto Williams , the southernmost city in the world! There a bunch of us found the local 'Yacht Club' and partied the night away until we had to leave in order to catch the ship to Ushuaia!

On Wednesday the 6th, we docked in Argentina at the remote city of Ushuaia where there again are several alternatives in visiting the area. We decided to take the train and visit the Tierra del Fuego Park in Argentina.  See the Argentina link for some great pictures of the park!  Some people like myself, did the entire trip from Chile to Argentina and back again.  Others only did a one way trip so we picked up some new passengers who would take a very short, two day trip.

We left Ushuais Argentina and on Thursday the 7th, we and sailed to the Garibaldi glacier and then through the Brecknock, O'Brien, Whaler, and Occasion channels.

On Friday the 8th, we arrived at Fort Bulnes, founded in 1843 to take possession of the Strait of Magellan, and then onto Bienvenido Mounumento Natural "Los Pinquinos" Park, where there is one of the biggest penguin colonies in the southern hemisphere. That evening a farewell dinner for all and on Saturday a ride to the airport and Santiago where my adventure would continue there and in Easter Island!

A team of multilingual guides accompanied us in our daily excursions throughout the journey, giving lectures on the history, geography, flora and fauna of the area, as well as setting up activities and evening parties on board the ship.


Return to the World Travels of Charles Walter Buntjer

  Charles Walter Buntjer

San Francisco California
Created on: 1999.04.05   

Updated on: 2015.03.25