Crucero Skorpios, Campo de Hielo Sur, Chile.


The M/N Skorpios III, sets sail every Sunday at dawn from Puerto Natales, located 247 km to the north of Punta Arenas, on a five day cruise through the channels and fjords that border the Southern Ice Field, in the Chilean Patagonia, which is considered to be the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet and crib of the biggest and most spectacular glaciers in the southern hemisphere. There are two options to reach the region of the Magallanes: flying Punta Arenas or of going overland from Argentina.

From this city, passengers must be transferred to the Skorpios Terminal in Puerto Natales. The maritime route commences through the Kirke Narrows, moving towards the north through the Morla Vicuña, Unión Inlet, Collingwood, Sarmiento, Concepción and Wide channels,to anchor in a beautiful area known as the Eyre Inlet.

Monday, along with the early light of dawn, the cruise ship Skorpios III approaches the Glacier Pío XI, the largest in South America with total surface area of 1,263 km2, which is located in the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Around 12:30 the return trip is initiated through the Eyre Inlet, Grappler channel, and Paso del Indio. Debarking in Puerto Eden, which is located some 400 km's to the north of Puerto Natales. Situated on the Isle Wellington, its first inhabitants correspond to the native tribes of the region, the Kaweskar and Alacalufes. Currently there are still some living members of these ethnic groups, tribes that are now on the point of extinction.

Sailing through these Channels and Fjords, we become enthralled with scenery of impressionable contrasts of light and shadows, where the mountains run into the sea which is dotted with multiple Isles, Fjords, Channels, Water Falls, in a labyrinth of beauty that has no equal. These are Channels that were explored by such legendary discoverers as, amongst many others, Ladrillero, Darwin and Fitz Roy. The natural beauty is manifested through an immense variety of flora and fauna. Lilly Ducks, Mud Hens, dolphins, cormorants, cypress and lenga trees, hardwood trees, and gigantic ferns, etc., all of which amaze those who love ecology. Sailing through the Paso del Abismo and Wide Channel we reach the Amalia Glacier, which is located in the central zone of the Southern Ice Field. Its white silhouette appears to hang precariously from the craggy mountains so as to deposit its ice in the waters of the Peel Inlet.

Glacier Pio XI

The Pío XI is located in the northern part of the Southern Ice Field, at the end of the Eyre Inlet. This is the largest glacier in the Southern Hemisphere, with a total surface of 1,243 km2 (more than the land surface of Santiago, the Capitol of Chile). Its humongous size transforms it into a truly colossus of ice, it has a frontal face of approximately 6 kms, towering higher than 75 mts, with an overall length of 64 kms.
This is one of the few glaciers that is found in its maximum neo-glacial position, registering advances towards the sea of up to 10 kms in recent years. The age of the Pío XI Glacier is millenarian; it is one of the 48 glaciers that are born of the Southern Ice Field, which has a surface of 13,000 km2 and a length of more than 350 kms over the Andes Mountains.

Here, the M/N Skorpios III sails close to the Glacier to navigate amongst icebergs of different sizes and shapes, of varying colors, light blue and white, an impressive sight for the passengers.