Avenue of the Glaciers (aka Glacier Alley) in the Beagle Channel, Chilean Fjords
As we left Ushuaia the ship set an easterly course and once abeam (at right angle) to the lighthouse Faro Les Eclaireurs the ship altered course and begun sailing west on the Beagle Channel. Where the Beagle Channel splits into two arms the ship took the north one and entered a gorgeous channel known as Glacier Alley (I prefer the more elegant “Glacier Avenue“). Cruising the crystal waters, surrounded by rugged Andes mountains with their dramatic rock formation, waterfalls and spectacular blue glaciers is an awe-inspiring experience.
Glacier Avenue’s five tidewater glaciers plunge down to the edge of the channel from the massive Darwin Ice Field above. Darwin Icefield (a.k.a Cordillera Darwin) covers 2,500 square kilometres of Isla Grande, the largest island in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego whose mountains rises above the Beagle channel. The icefield creates the tidewater glaciers that cascade down to the channel. Tidewater means the glacier flows into a body of water such as ocean or lake into which it “calves” icebergs (break into smaller icebergs). The Beagle glaciers were named after five European countries by the 19th century explorers who documented the region. They named them Holanda (Holland), Italia (Italy), Francia (France), Alemania (Germany) and España (Spain).
As we were cruising through the magnificent channel, the glaciers begun to appear early evening on the starboard side of the ship. Our cabin was also starboard so we watched from our balcony as the grand scenery passed by and stepped back inside to warm up with a pot of hot chocolate between glaciers.
The glaciers flow majestically toward the channel, some reaching it, some stop just short. I stood on the balcony gazing at the unmatched beauty of the rugged, frozen and remote scenery. I hope I captured some of the beauty in the images below.
A thought about beauty
Alain de Botton, in his book The Art of Travel, speaking of John Ruskin, relays Ruskin’s thoughts on beauty this way:
- “Beauty is the result of complex numbers of factors that affect the mind psychologically and visually”.
- “Humans have an innate tendency to respond to beauty and to desire to possess it”.
- “There are many lower expressions of this desire for possession, including the desire to buy souvenirs, to carve one’s name on pillars and to take photographs”.
- “There is only one way to possess beauty properly and that is through understanding it, through making ourselves conscious of the factors (psychological and visual) that are responsible for it”.
- “Lastly, that the most effective way of pursuing this conscious understanding is by attempting to describe beautiful places through art, through writing or drawing them, irrespective of whether we happen to have any talent for doing so”.
This post and my blog in general is my attempt at understanding beauty and possessing it through writing and photography. Talent notwithstanding.
It’s fun taking you along.
Holanda (Holland) Glacier
Italia (Romancha) Glacier
Alemania (Germany) Glacier