PUNTA ARENAS, Chile -- The Mare Australis makes its maiden voyage
from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia, Argentina, on Nov. 30, replacing the
Terra Australis, which for many years sailed this popular
expedition cruise around the bottom of South America.
The ship will sail the waterways of Tierra del Fuego on three
Patagonian circuits -- seven-, four- and three-night cruises --
through one of the world's most pristine areas, including the
Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel, and on its newly
expanded route, Cape Horn.
Built as an oceangoing vessel, the ship offers new levels of
technology, such as roll stabilizers, a bow thruster, a global
positioning system and sonar, that permit it to reach Cape Horn, a
feat not possible when cruising on the Terra Australis.
The four-deck Mare Australis accommodates 129 passengers in 63
cabins, all of which have either twin or double beds and panoramic
window views. Cabins are equipped with such amenities as private
bath with shower, heating and air conditioning, a chest of drawers,
a bedside table, internal phones and 110-volt electrical
Panoramic views continue in the air-conditioned dining room, bar
and forward observation lounge; additional public facilities
include a library and boutique, and the ship carries a crew of
All meals are included, accompanied by free wine, beer and soft
drinks, and on excursions to the glaciers, whiskey and hot
chocolate are served.
According to Kurt Kutay, president of Wildland Adventures in
Seattle (the city in which the Mare Australis was designed), the
ship includes a few small amenities more than the Terra Australis,
but it offers essentially the same experience.
"The reason we have incorporated this expedition voyage into our
programs is because the company has truly changed the program to
become much more 'expeditionary' in nature," said Kutay.
"Gone are the organized parties and enhanced is the
natural-history experience, including better landings, trained
naturalist guides from the region and evening lectures about the
history of exploration around the tip of South America and cultural
aspects of the lands that were once the domain of the Yamanas,
Oanas, Alacalufes and Tehuelches peoples."
The seven-night cruise, departing on Saturdays, sails roundtrip
from Punta Arenas; the four-night sailings cruise from Punta Arenas
to Ushuaia; and the three-night cruises board in Ushuaia for the
cruise to Punta Arenas.
Highlights of the seven-night cruise include the D'Agostini
fjord and Serano glacier; a Zodiac boat trip at Condor Bay and
Glacier; sailing the Strait of Magellan and the glaciers of the
Beagle Channel to Port Williams, Chile, the world's southernmost
town, where passengers have a chance to book flightseeing over Cape
Sailing from Port Williams to Ushuaia, optional tours are
offered to Tierra del Fuego National Park or Escondido or Fagnano
On the return from Ushuaia, the ship sails to Cape Horn, and
passengers disembark at Walaia Bay, a Yamana Indian archaeology
site on Navarino Island, as well as into the Garibaldi Fjord with
its glacier, snowfields of the Darwin Range and colonies of sea
lions. The final highlight is a stop on Magdalena Island, home to
more than 100,000 penguins.
Costs per person, double, for the seven-night cruise during high
season (Dec. 16 through Feb. 28), twin cabin rates, range from
$1,659 to $2,537; mid-season (Nov. 30 through Dec. 15 and all of
March) from $1,452 to $2,052; low season (April) from $1,152 to
Sample high-season costs for the shorter cruises start at $1,244
for the four-night cruise. The high-season rate on the three-night
cruise starts at $1,078.
Air fare from the U.S. to Santiago, Chile, and returning from
Buenos Aires is not included in the price; however, flights within
Chile and Argentina are included.
Many tour operators will be offering this cruise on their South
American programs. In addition, Mare Australis' owner company,
Cruceros Australis, has a representative in the U.S.
Contact Cruceros Australis at (877) 678-3772 or visit the Web at
Journey by land and sea
SEATTLE -- Following the lead of explorer Ferdinand Magellan,
Wildland Adventures is introducing a 14-day tour program, In the
Wake of Magellan, exploring Patagonia overland and traveling by sea
aboard the Mare Australis' four-night itinerary linking Chile and
The tour starts in Santiago, Chile, with a flight to Punta
Arenas, located on the frigid waters of Tierra del Fuego, that
serves as the gateway for Torres del Paine National Park. Day hikes
here are stunning, revealing spectacular views of the Paine Massif
and Grey Glacier as well as sightings of herds of guanaco, a
relative of the llama.
Returning to Punta Arenas, passengers board the Mare Australis
to cruise through the Strait of Magellan and the fjords of Tierra
del Fuego, habitats for cormorants, penguins, sea lions, fur seals
The comfortable and informal expedition ship offers daily
excursions into scenic coves and bays, complemented by evening
lectures presented by naturalist guides.
On the final leg of the cruise, the ship enters the Beagle
Channel, and then makes final anchorage at Ushuaia, Argentina,
where tour members travel overland to hike in beech forests of
Argentina's Tierra del Fuego National Park as well as travel by
Zodiac to Isla Redonda in Lapataia, home to cormorants, sea lions
Following a flight from Ushuaia to Calafate, the next stop is
Lago Argentino, whose massive Perito Moreno Glacier is at the edge
of the Patagonia Ice Cap; hikers will have the opportunity to walk
out over the ice cap before flying to Buenos Aires, where the tour
When not cruising aboard the Mare Australis, guests overnight in
small mountain and forest lodges featuring exceptional views, local
hospitality and regional cuisine.
The inclusive land and cruise cost of the Wake of Magellan
Adventure starts at $4,410 per person, double. The program runs
from November through March.
For reservations and additional information, contact Wildland
Adventures at (800) 345-4453 or visit the company's Web site at www.wildland.com. -- C.H.