Northern Patagonia & Chilean Fjords
CHILEAN FJORDS: Birdwatching, Wildlife & Photo Expedition
Ever imagined waking up surrounded by untamed nature, then exploring rivers, lakes, fjords and imposing glaciers and finally anchoring every day in a different calm and protected cove with only the sound of birds altering the silence of a placid summer night?
Our ship “Noctiluca”, with a capacity for eight passengers and a crew of five will become your mobile home and shelter while discovering the magical Guaitecas Archipelago (declared biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2008), that will blow you away with its magnificent natural beauty. A trip through the inside sea passages of Chilean Patagonia, that will stay with you forever.
• Guaitecas Archipelago, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
• Native southern beech forest birds as Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeet and Thorn-tailed Rayadito.
• Up to 20 patagonian endemic birds, including: Ashy headed Goose, Chucao Tapaculo and Patagonian Sierra-Finch. Specialties like: Pink-footed Shearwater, Red-legged Cormorant, Chilean Flamingo, Flightless Steamer-Duck, Kelp Goose, Andean Condor, Dolphin Gull, Green-backed Firecrown, Des Murs Wiretail, White-throated Treerunner, Black-throated Huet-Huet, Magellanic Tapaculo and Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, among others can also be seen.
• Mammals like Marine Otter, South American Sea Lion, Leopard Seal, Peale´s and Chilean Dolphin.
• Magellanic Forest, the southernmost forest in the world, including three species of Nothofagus.
• Pristine, untouched and diverse landscape with forests, mountains, fjords and rivers where few people have set foot before.
Embark yourself on a unique experience discovering the unexplored fjords of Chilean Patagonia.
Prices: US$ per person. Included: Lodging on board, all meals, Ornithologist and Wildlife/Birding guide, entrance fees to national parks.
Meet and depart: Balmaceda airport.
Dates: all year.
Next trip: November 5 to 10, 2013.
Optional extension to "Lake District & Chiloe Island" and/or " Torres del Paine & Tierra del Fuego".
Our guide will meet you at Balmaceda airport to take you to Puerto Aisén, our port of departure. This road trip takes two hours through the scenic and mysterious Patagonian landscape where you might be able to spot several bird species, like Upland Goose, Chilean Flamingo, Black-faced Ibis, Andean Condor and Southern Caracara, among others. This trip will end when we arrive to Puerto Aisén and board our floating lodge, the Noctiluca. Once on board, we´ll get to see our assigned cabins, meet the crew, get familiar with the boat and get to know our way around it, and attend an introductory lecture about our upcoming journey. After this we’ll start sailing along the majestic fjords with their snow-clad peaks and evergreen temperate forests. Here we’ll find birds like Imperial Cormorant, Red-legged Cormorant, Magellanic Penguin and Brown-hooded Gull. Then, as we go further off shore and reach open waters, we’ll start noticing the presence of pelagic seabirds like Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel and Southern Fulmar, and some marine mammals like South American Sea Lion and Marine Otter. We end the day with a briefing about next day’s activities before enjoying our dinner.
This day we’ll visit Quitralco fjord, where we’ll land and devote ourselves to explore the terrestrial environments like old-growth Southern Beech forest and Patagonian bogs and grasslands, framed by spectacular mountains covered in evergreen woods. Here we’ll find specialties from these particular habitats, like Green-backed Firecrown, Black-throated Huet-Huet, Chucao Tapaculo, Des Murs Wiretail, White-throated Treerunner, Thorn-tailed Rayadito and Patagonian Sierra Finch, among many others. We’ll also explore the rich miniature rainforests present in old-growth and decaying dead trees, made up of primitive plant forms like mosses, liverworts, lichens and fungi, and inhabited by their own micro fauna, like frogs, lizards, insects, spiders, millipedes and other invertebrates. These minute habitats can be explored with a magnifying glass and render themselves perfect for macro photography. We end the day with a briefing about next day’s activities before enjoying our dinner.
Today we’ll horseback ride through the woods and up into the piedmont to a pond to see birds like Ashy-headed Goose, Yellow-billed Pintail, Crested Duck, Cocoi Heron, Silvery Grebe, Chilean Hawk and Black-chested Buzzard Eagle. We end the day with a briefing about next day´s activities before enjoying our dinner.
This day will be devoted to the riparian ecosystem, the river banks which, with their open shores close to the forest edge, are a very particular environment used by many birds such as Cinclodes, herons, ibises, different species of waterfowl like Ashy-headed Goose and open-space raptors like Southern Caracara and Variable Hawk, and scavengers like American Black Vulture. We´ll also find aquatic birds in the rivers flowing into the fjords, among them Flying Steamer Duck, Cocoi Heron, Ringed Kingfisher and Grey-flanked Cinclodes among others.
This day will be the turn for seabird colonies, including several species of cormorants and gulls, with one of the largest reproductive rookeries of the Imperial Cormorant, the beautiful Dolphin Gull and places where you can find four species of cormorant in a single rock, something quite unusual anywhere in the world. During the trip we´ll focus on seabirds and marine mammals, like Peale´s Dolphin, Chilean Dolphin, South American Sea Lion and we´ll also look for the elusive Flightless Steamer Duck, and Pink-footed Shearwater, a Chilean breeding endemic. One of the highlights of the trip is Kent Island, a pristine island where you can find many different land and seabirds. Back to the ship, expedition recap, night on board.
This, our last expedition day, will find us sailing back into Aisén Fjord, once again we´ll be escorted by seabirds like albatrosses, petrels and cormorants, a chance to watch these and other open-sea species. Finally, we´ll anchor at Puerto Aisén, thus ending these six-day expedition to the wild and virgin nature of the Guaitecas Archipelago.