Seven-night Patagonia cruise to follow Magellan's route

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HELENA, Ala. -- International Expeditions is offering a special departure to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego aboard the Terra Australis, following in the wake of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan's voyage around the tip of South America in 1521.

Departing Jan. 27 and March 9 to Santiago, Chile, aboard LanChile, travelers will spend a night in Santiago before heading south by air to Punta Arenas, Chile, to board the 110-passenger ship, which cruises for seven nights through a natural wonderland of glaciers, fjords and wildlife reserves in Chile and Argentina.

"We have just begun to work with the Terra Australis on special programs that cater to the natural history lover," said Richard Ryel, president of International Expeditions.

According to Ryel, the focus of the ship has been glaciers, with such features as Zodiac excursions that serve "whiskey on the rocks" (ice cubes, if you will).

"We do natural history trips," he said, "and we have worked with the ship to enhance its program on wildlife and botanical aspects for our departures, which will be offered again when we charter the ship for sailings Feb. 8 and March 1 in 2001."

Ryel said he is excited about his company sailing into a new cruising ground, one that offers a voyage that is unique in the Americas in history, scenery and wildlife.

"We intend to provide a highly informative experience, tracking the best populations of sea lions, fur seals, dolphins, regional bird species and adding special features such as a full day in Tierra del Fuego National Park outside Ushuaia, [Argentina]."

Cruise highlights aboard the Terra Australis include transiting the Strait of Magellan; exploring the Marinelli and Serrano glaciers; cruising the Beagle Channel; visiting the Yendegaia Ranch for birdwatching and a barbecue; spending a day at Ushuaia, with a park visit, and shore excursions on the Garabaldi glacier and at Magdalena Island National Monument, home to more than 60,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins.

The cruise ends in Punta Arenas, and after a tour, passengers return to Santiago for connecting flights to the U.S.

Priced from $2,998 to $4,498 per person, double, the cost includes international air from Los Angeles, New York or Miami.

An optional post-cruise extension for three days and two nights is available to Chile's Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park. It is priced at $698 per person, double.

For additional information, agents can contact International Expeditions at (800) 633-4734. The fax number is (205) 428-1714.

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