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Published: January 2nd 2020
We sailed though Glacier Alley in the Beagle Channel after leaving Ushuaia yesterday. The weather was misty with a freezing cold wind. Colder than anything we've had so far, although it may have been because the temperature got up to 20 in the afternoon and we all thought we didn't need antarctic clothes any more. We knew there were 5 glaciers, all named after countries so had to stay out side as we counted them off. The first four went past and we had to wait a while for the fifth which was the most spectacular - a hanging glacier with a torrent of water cascading out from under the ice splitting in two as it reached an outcrop and carried on to the sea.
It's a pity it was so misty as the photos are too, but hopefully you can get an idea of the grandeur of them tumbling down from the Darwin range. The Beagle Channel is named after the ship that Darwin sailed in. We sailed along and out to sea before coming back in through the Straits of Magellan.
In Punta Arenas, where we are now, there are replicas of the Beagle and Magellan's ship,
named the nao (carrack) Victoria. We couldn't believe how narrow Magellan's ship was and that it successfully circumnavigated the world leaving Spain in 1519 and returning in 1522.
Punta Arenas was a thriving city before the Panama Canal was finished in 1914. Now it serves cruise ships, fishing vessels and expedition ships bound for the Antarctic. Our guide told us that a lot of immigrants came in the early 1900s from Croatia. Last winter they had hardly any snow, just a few flurries which melted quickly.
The story of the indigenous people is very sad but not unusual.
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