Beagle Channel

After 3 weeks navigating, finally we are in Chilean waters. Everybody is happy to see some green colours around, and is the first time that we see trees in this voyage, so it s feels special. A pod of Dusky dolphins came to welcome us, and they shelter us while we were getting close to Navarino Island, that its’s used to be home to Yagan People. They were the first inhabitants of this waters, using the bark of nothofagus trees (that means “seems like an oak”, name given  by the European) to cross the numerous channels rowing against the cold wind, and just dressing a couple of sea otter furs, fact that is  making us feel  quite privileged on-board of the Tecla. This nomads of the sea, unfortunately were displaced by the arrival of the white man, but some of its culture is still alive in the locality of Villa Ukika, next to Puerto Williams.

Mountains surround the Beagle Channel and the evergreen forest dominates the landscape. Over here, the Andes mountains range receive the name of Darwins montains and it´s taking the whole water from the clouds  that kicking up the mountain picks with help of the strong winds that come from to the Pacific Ocean. So, precipitations over here are quite normal and keeps this incredible environment wet, making it  possible one more time that life can thrive.

The highest points on the mountains hide several glaciers, that happens  because there is a constant friction again the rocky walls, support all the nutrients through sediments for the whole marine life. Patagonian fjords also are the  home for several species of sea birds and sea mammals, including Sei and Humpback whales that we hope to find on our way to Punta Arenas. All of them are feeding with Lobster krill, which seems to be the key specie in these waters, like on Antarctic the krill at Antarctica. These little crustaceans are like sheep in a microscale, that feed on Phytoplankton, tiny unicellular algae’s which it seems to work like a huge underwater grass fields that support the Patagonian food chain at sea.

Written by Jonathan Poblete guide and biologist on the Tecla

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