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Whales and glaciers from the Southern tip of the Americas


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I am not very good at all to write reports, I have very littlef time to go on writing, but the truth is that I am not really motivated at the idea to select and then edit my RAW files...


We went to Punta Arenas in Southern Patagonia, Chile, to go on a cruise in mid january within the channels and sounds of the Southern tip of the Americas. Luis Bertea from http://www.patagoniaphotosafaris.com probablyoffers the best trip ever in Continental Patagonia. The Forrest M/N which was a former cargo boat in the Falklands, has been rehabilitated for ecotourism cruises. It can receives about 18 passengers, has 3 sea kayaks and 2 zodiacs to discover the channels, glaciers and whales that live in the fjords of the South of Chile.


I will try to write a short trip report, and use a video recently published by Luis Bertea on vimeo to give a better idea of the place.



The cruise brings tourists and more especially photographs in 4 major protected areas of Chile: Agostini National Park, Cabo de Hornos Biosphere Reserve, Alacalufes National Reserve, and Francisco Coloane Marina Park.

The 4 areas are full of ice fields with huge glaciers flowing directly in the sea. The Darwin range from Tierra de Fuego island is certainly the most powerful mountain range of the region.


A small recovering elephant seal colony is growing year by year in Jackson Bay, at the end of the Almirantazgo sound, just South to the large Karukinka Park, privately managed by the WCS (http://www.karukinkanatural.cl).

Very close to the colony, can be seen a most Northern black-browed albatross colony from Patagonia, critically endangered by one species devastating the Patagonia unique wildlife, the mink. In fact the two last years no chick survived, the WCS is currently working to try to eliminate this threat of the small island.

The Almirantazgo sound has rich nutrients waters formed by melting glaciers from the Parry and Marinelly sounds. On the first one can sometimes be seen leopard seals.

Tucket Islands, on the Eastern side of Dawson Island, is a great place to observe Magellanic penguins, rock and imperial cormorants. Two species of sea lions can be found in this area.

On the Western side of the Darwin Range can be found one true jewel, the Agostini Sound, with no more than 8 glaciers flowing inside the sound. On Hyatt Sound is another small population of leopard seals. Monte Sarmiento do Gamboa, the most beautiful summit South to Punta Arenas, is not very far from the sound.


But the real star of this trip is without any doubt the humpback whale, that use to stay in summer in the waters of the Magellanic channels, avoiding traveling 2000 km South to Antartica. This population, according to scientists, is part of the Stock G population, that breeds in the tropical waters of Panama and Colombia. About 180 whales have been recorded in the waters around Carlos III island, inside the Francisco Coloane National Park, which is rich in krill formed by the convergence of strong currents and melting glaciers of Santa Ines Island.

On the coast, wonderful sub-antartic forests (southern bleech forests) and peatlands, everywhere. Huge water falls, amazing sunrise and sunsets, strong winds and perhaps storms, this is the true Patagonia.

I live in Chile for 6 years, and I can tell you this is the most impressive place I have ever visited in Patagonia.


This trip can easily be combined with puma safaris with Roberto Donoso from Patagonia Journeys (http://www.patagoniajourneys.com). He works for many important international agencies.

Natphoto, another chilean photography agency, also guides tours over there. Rodrigo Moraga has been guiding different BBC teams in the last decades in the region. (http://www.natphoto.org/?expediciones=torres-del-paine-pumas)

I was in Torres del Paine last week and have seen two pumas over there. Another guide at the same time had 20 different observations in just 5 days!

I have never finished my trip report over there (and will probably never finish it, it takes me a lot of time to edit pictures…), but get sure this is a remarkable experience, THE best place to see pumas in the world.

Another amazing experience would be to travel to South Georgia, Antartica or the Falklands where I have been traveling in last november (no trip reports unfortunately :( ) with Natphoto. I am actually the guy really close to the king penguins chick on the picture:






Edited by jeremie
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@@jeremie Thank-you for this - I went to the Torres for a few days in 2014 and loved it. Saw lots of guanaco and condors but no puma. Can we persuade you to share just a few photos? :)

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For whales in the Magellan Strait, I will share some flickr album of two friends of mine, Yelena Pegova and Fernando Rosselot:




For Pumas, I will share the flickr album of Fernando Rosselot:



For Falklands, I will let a small selection of my pictures on flickr, as well s pictures from Fernando Rosselot:



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Wow! those sceneries are just breathtaking! and the photos of the fox, the condors and the puma cubs are just amazing. was the taillless puma the mother of those cubs or was it another puma?


incredible that you were so close to the penguin chick.

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@@jeremie Thank-you for the links. The photos are superb. I particularly enjoyed your picture of the surfing penguins.

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I let you more pictures, most of them belongs to my girlfriend.


JGO Karina Y elefante marino 2



KA DSC6017salto ballena

KA DSC5173 zodiac senohelado

KA DSC5173 JK Fco glaciar helado

KA DSC4157 Ballena Y forrest

KA DSC3792 Foca leopardo

KA DSC3352 elefante rascandose

KA DSC3159 Albatroz frente

JG DSC4369 Meditacion

KA DSC3134 Albatroz ramitas

Edited by jeremie
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  • 2 weeks later...

For those interested in visiting this remote and wild corner of Patagonia, there is further information here:



25495924153_6476723443_k.jpgBalleine a bosses, Isla San Carlos III, Détroit de Magellan by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr


25493789594_2948014b5a_k.jpgBalleine a bosses, Isla San Carlos III, Détroit de Magellan by Goulevitch Jérémie, sur Flickr

Edited by jeremie
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  • 3 months later...

Looks fantastic...

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  • 10 months later...

One more fantastic videos from this amazing trip!



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those videos are epic!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Absolutely fantastic, wow!.....I can't wait to go to Patagonia now. 

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  • 6 months later...

We went back on the Forrest in early 2018. This was the third trip for Karina and my second journey onboard. The plan was a bit different with a stress on exploration of new areas such as the Brooks and the Martinez sounds.


The trip was a complete success, Hugo dived with the humpback whales, Alex and Luis took amazing videos with their drones of one whale that jumped 30 times. We here really happy to see albatros chicks back again, after three years of failure due to the invasive mink that led to a strong collapse of the small colony of Almirantazgo sound.

On the last day, we went kayaking with dolphins, what a fantastic an epic journey!


Here are some few pictures:


Bahia Aguila, Brunswick Peninsula



Antarctic giant petrel, Magellanic Strait



Black-browed albatross, Almirantazgo Sound



Southern Elephant Seal, Karukinka Park, Almirantazgo sound




Tundra landscape at Martinez Sound



Leopard seal at Hyatt sound, Agostini National Park_LBR8880.thumb.jpg.3c30467436f27932904205fb9f282b67.jpg


Humpback whale at Francisco Coloane Marine Park



Black-browed albatros in the Magellanic Strait



Black-browed albatros in the Magellanic Strait



Humpback whale at Francisco Coloane Marine Park_DSC8568.thumb.jpg.79eadcfd2ed46de96230a4ee3eec3b8a.jpg


Kayaking at Martinez Sound



Black-browed albatros in the Magellanic Strait_DSC6717-2.thumb.jpg.8973d77d84bb68775d391138e3adaacf.jpg


Humpback whale at Francisco Coloane Marine Park



Canal Gabriel



Leopard seal at Hyatt sound, Agostini National Park




Black-browed albatros in the Magellanic Strait (Credits: Karina Abarca)



Imperial Shag at Canal Gabriel



Black-crowned night heron at Ballena Sound, Kaweskar National Park



Black-browed albatros in the Magellanic Strait (Credits: Karina Abarca)_KAU9223-pollito-albatros-KA.thumb.jpg.83a48e5dccdc887d9c6e6a7a197e0f80.jpg


Leopard seal at Hyatt sound, Agostini National Park



Humpback whale at Francisco Coloane Marine Park_DSC8460.thumb.jpg.9337df4ebf26831f84eae899da9fd0c2.jpg

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Wow- these photographs are mind blowing. Just beautiful.

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Here is a fantastic video of our whale that jumped out of the water during half an hour at Paso Shag, that connects the waters of the Pacific Ocean with the Magellanic Strait through the Canal Barbara.

We have been very lucky to withness this moment. I am very grateful to Alex Baus who grabed this shot and the excelent profesional photographer Rodolfo Soto who mounted the caption.



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To say that’s amazing is an understatement.  How lucky you were to capture that!

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@Game Warden: That would be a pleasure! You should seriously take in consideration Patagonia as a next safari, there are plenty of great spots: The Magellanic Straits for whales, The Tierra de Fuego fjords for glaciers, albatros, leopard seal and elephant seals, Torres del Paine for pumas, the Valdes Peninsula for orcas, whales and elephant seals. the Patagonia park for pumas and guanacos, Pumalin Park for its majestic landscapes and active volcanoes...


And do not forget the Falklands and South Georgia with massive sub-antarctic colonies of penguins, albatros and elephant seals!

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Traveling in the Magellanic Strait is not only limited to wildlife, landscapes are majestic. Here are some fantastic pictures from the very talented Chilean photographer Rodrigo Soto:




2Z7A3829-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

2Z7A3841-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

2Z7A3858-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

2Z7A6811-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_1788-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_1789-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_2343-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_2953-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_3293-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

IMG_4872-Quick Preset_2500x1666.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

Here are couple of videos in 4K from our trip taken with drones in January 2018 onboard.


Humpback whale jumping in the Magellanic Strait:






A short trailer from our epic journey onboard:





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