Cruising Chilean Fjords
Torres del Paine National Park

Bernal Glacier and White Narrows

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Most glaciers we cruised past simply fell into the ocean, but the Bernal Glacier is back from the shore a short distance....

...giving us an opportunity to check it out up-close-and-personal.


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My bestest travel buddy...

 

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So we climbed into the Zodiacs...


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...and cruised to the shoreline in front of the glacier.


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A short walking trail to the glacier itself...


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Surely Crayola has a crayon color named "glacier blue"...if they don't, they should! These waters are stunningly beautiful...very clear (and cold!) and an amazing color of blue, not bright turquoisey like gorgeous tropical waters but an icy turquoise.

 

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Lovely pair of oystercatchers hanging around.

Yes, it was drizzling the whole time....but makes for an interesting photo!


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We had to do the occasional touristy shot...


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One of my favorite photos from the day...

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That's the National Geographic Explorer sticking up behind the trees...


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The stones we were walking over were abundant with pink quartz.

I may or may not have picked up a couple of pink quartz pebbles to share with my rock-loving grandsons...


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So peaceful and serene...and so, so quiet....

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Pretty little Patagonian sierra finch...

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A steamer-duck taking a stretch...


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After we got back on the ship, the fog and mist moved in to surround us. Incredible, beautiful layers...looks like a painting...

 

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But that mist and fog created a beautiful rainbow over the mountains. As we were "ooh-ing and aah-ing" over the rainbow, our guide Santiago spotted some black specs just beyond the rainbow.

 

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Andean condors!!! Kim and I thought we might have a chance to spot one on this trip, so we were very excited about the condors.


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Andean condors are one of the largest birds in the world that can fly and they have the greatest wingspan of any bird, over 10 feet!

They are massive birds, a monstrous glorified vulture that eats both live prey and carcasses. But watching them gracefully soar on the wind currents (there is no shortage of strong ones in Patagonia!) is an experience I'll never forget.


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Across their backs is a strikingly beautiful white pattern that you can see when they bank.

We had hoped to maybe see one condor on the trip. As it turned out we saw probably 40 or so spread out through different days.

 

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That afternoon the Explorer had to navigate through some very narrow channels called White Narrows, which required a very slow speed and carefully staying in the deep part of the channel.

 


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We saw several kelp geese feeding on, you guessed it, kelp.


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We were all excited when we rounded a corner of the narrows to see this group of Chilean sea lions resting on the rocks.

 

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Big old grumpy-looking daddy right in the middle...



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'Twas misty day in Chilean Patagonia...

...checking out a glacier and navigating the narrows.

 

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