Patagonia & the Total Solar Eclipse

Patagonia & the Total Solar Eclipse

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Those who have a passion for the wilder places on our planet usually have Patagonia on their must do list. Shaped by fire and ice, this rugged, yet hauntingly beautiful land of windswept pampas, hanging glaciers and cloud piercing peaks, remains today as enticing and fascinating as it did to Magellan, Drake and more latterly Darwin.

Chile is made for cruising. Its shape and geographic location is just perfect; thousands of miles of coastline that you can of course explore aboard one of the many huge cruise vessels calling at the major cities of South America, or alternatively join us aboard the MS Island Sky and enjoy the wonders of this magical country, some of which only small ships have access to. With our fleet of onboard Zodiacs we will be able to explore deep into the fjord system away from the larger cruise vessels which may be in the region.

Whilst an undoubted highlight of the cruise is the opportunity to experience a total solar eclipse, there is much more included to occupy us. Wildlife abounds and the skies are filled with the cries of seabirds. Albatross and petrels wheel overhead and sea lions bark from their rocky outcrops. Helping us understand all the wonders we shall encounter will be our experts and expedition staff who will accompany us ashore and our highly adaptable Zodiac craft will allow us to enter tiny inlets and explore fjords and stretches of magnificent coastline.

Trip Name
Patagonia & the Total Solar Eclipse
Vessel Type: Luxury Small Ship Length: 90 metres Passenger Capacity: 116  Built / refurbished: 1992 / 2010 / 2017 Sister ship to Hebridean Sky. Island Sky and Hebridean Sky are truly sisters. Built in the same Italian Shipyard, both boast spacious, well-appointed suites, stylish common areas, and redundant core technology that allows them to operate smoothly, even under the most challenging of conditions. Both ships are all-suite, all-inclusive small expedition vessels with touches of elegance throughout. The Island Sky is scheduled for additional upgrades in 2017, including the addition of tinted sliding glass doors to all cabins on the Promenade Deck. Services: World-Class Cuisine Complimentary Wine or Beer with Dinner Live Entertainment Complimentary Coffee/Tea station Voyage Photographer On-board MD and Facilities Dedicated Passenger Service Manager Pre-voyage hotel night Complimentary Expedition Jacket Facilities: Elevator serving all passenger decks Upgraded WIFI Internet Library with computers Panoramic Top Deck Observation Platform Bar/Lounge with Live Entertainment Lounge with Audiovisual Facilities DVD Movie Library Tinted sliding glass doors in all cabins on the Promenade Deck World-Class Cuisine: Great expeditions require great food! Our team of world-class chefs offer breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that change daily. They have boat-loads of creativity, so you are sure to experience a variety of remarkable cuisine throughout your voyage. Accommodations: All Suites Feature: Exterior views Your choice of queen-sized or two twin-sized beds Sitting area with sofa and side chair Flat Screen TV with DVD/CD player Telephone Independent temperature controls Mini-Bar Marble-appointed bathroom with fine toiletries Hair dryer 220 square feet or more Sofa can be converted to bed for third person PLEASE NOTE - DECK PLANS CAN VARY.


Day 1 - Day 1 - Buenos Aires.
Arrive this morning and transfer to the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel (or similar) for a two night stay. Rooms will be available on arrival and the remainder of the day and evening are free to relax and explore independently.
Day 2 - Day 2 - Buenos Aires.
During our guided morning tour we will visit the Plaza de Mayo, the Cathedral and the Cabildo (Old City Hall) before we continue towards the most traditional neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, San Telmo which is characterised by its old colonial houses and the cobblestoned streets. We will continue to the neighbourhood of La Boca to look around the colourful zinc houses which used to be the refuge and home for the first immigrants and popular artists. We will see the woods of Palermo with 741 acres of gardens and artificial ponds surrounded by elegant buildings. This afternoon is free to relax before we meet this evening for a tango show and dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3 - Day 3 - Buenos Aires to Ushuaia.
Enjoy breakfast in the hotel before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Ushuaia. On arrival, transfer to the MS Island Sky and sail this evening. Enjoy the scenery as we enter the Beagle Channel, named after the HMS Beagle which Robert Fitzroy piloted through this extraordinarily beautiful channel with naturalist Charles Darwin in the 1830s.
Day 4 - Day 4 - Cape Horn.
We will make our way around Cape Horn, one of the best known maritime landmarks in the world. Magellan was the first European visitor here in 1520 and prior to the opening of the Panama Canal it was an important staging post. Weather permitting, we hope to use our Zodiacs to land and enjoy a walk to the monument. This afternoon we return to the Beagle Channel. Here the mountains, still partly unmapped, drop as sheer, densely wooded cliffs into the channel and six glaciers flow from the 8000- foot Mount Darwin into the sea. Penguins, dolphins and the South American sea lions abound here in the channel.
Day 5 - Days 5 to 11 - Chilean Fjords, Punta Arenas & Torres del Paine National Park, Chile.
During the next seven days we will enjoy some of the most stunning scenery imaginable. This vast area of mountains, glaciers, islands, lakes and waterfalls is untouched by man except for a few fishing villages which perch at ‘the end of the world’. We will make good use of our time exploring the beautiful protected waters, enjoying the renowned fjords of southern Chile which rival those of southeast Alaska in their raw beauty and prolific wildlife. Crystal clear reflections of vertical walls and hanging glaciers are broken only by the ripples of dolphins and whales, whilst overhead, the sky is alive with seabirds. See how quickly you run out of suitable adjectives to describe all you are witnessing. Our route will be managed by our experienced Captain and Expedition Leader alongside the local pilots. As well as stunning scenic cruising, the area is ideal for Zodiac forays. From Punta Arenas we will travel to Magdalena Island to see the Magellan penguins that return each year to mate and live in large groups on the beach. This is now a protected area and the colony numbers are up to 10,000. As we continue our journey we hope to navigate the Kirke Narrows, a remarkable channel leading between lush, forested shores, so narrow it can only be sailed at low tide. Dropping anchor at Puerto Natales, we enjoy a full day in South America’s largest national park, the Torres del Paine. This is one of the most spectacular places on earth, a vast uninhabited wilderness of glacier-draped mountains, windswept pampas, turquoise glacial lakes and verdant valleys. Look out for herds of guanacos (a smaller version of the llama), rheas, Patagonian hares, foxes and rich birdlife and see the stunning rock formations of the Horns of Paine. We also hope to operate Zodiac excursions ashore in some of the remote fjords we pass on our journey. As we leave the fjords we may stop at the town of Melinka where colourful houses cover the hillside down to the harbor, home to the town’s important fishing industry. Well off the usual cruise route we will have time to explore the town, see the mermaid statue “La Sirena Chilota”, the guardian spirit of the fisherman, and enjoy a pisco sour in the local bar.
Day 6 - Day 12 - Valdivia.
After a morning at sea we arrive in Niebla, the port that serves the nearby colonial city of Valdivia, one of the oldest European settlements in Chile. An afternoon excursion will include time visiting Niebla Fort, one of the largest strongholds in Valdivia it played a vital role in the city’s defence thanks to its strategic positioning and unhindered views of the Pacific Ocean. Learn how Lord Cochrane expelled the Spanish troops from the forts on behalf of the newly formed Chilean governments in the 1920s. We will spend some time exploring the anthropological museum and enjoy a beer tasting at the Kunstmann Brewery.
Day 7 - Day 13 - Eclipse Day.
Today we will position the ship or, if weather dictates find a spot ashore, to achieve the best location to view the solar eclipse which is due to start in the late morning. The advantage of our small ship is the ability to find a spot or break in the clouds to increase our chances and maximise our time under a total eclipse. With our onboard experts on hand to provide commentary we will remain here until the end of the eclipse’s passage.
Day 8 - Day 14 - Puerto Montt.
After a morning at sea we arrive in picturesque Puerto Montt, a resort town in the Lake District. Settled by German colonists in the mid-19th century, much of its early Middle- European styled architecture remains, rendering a slightly bizarre feel in such an obviously un- European setting. Leaving the ship we will head to the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park which is the oldest in Chile and contains three commanding volcanoes in Osorno, Calbuco and Puntiagudo. We will see the mighty Petrohue River and the rapids that crash through lava channels creating a series of magnificent waterfalls. We will return to the ship via Puerto Varas which is situated in a stunning location on Lago Llanquihue with a backdrop of the Osorno volcano.
Day 9 - Day 15 - Puerto Montt to Santiago.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for the flight to Santiago. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel for an overnight stay and enjoy the remainder of the day to explore independently.
Day 10 - Day 16 - Santiago
After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport for your onward journey
Day 11 - Please Note:
Flexibility is the key to an expedition cruise; sometimes the whole day’s schedule may be changed to maximise your experience.

Trip Dates

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    • During this cruise we will have the opportunity to experience an incredible astronomical phenomenon – the total solar eclipse. On 14 December 2020, the eclipse will paint a path through the sky over parts of Argentina and Chile and, aboard our small vessel we will be able to best position ourselves to be in the path of totality be it ashore or at sea. Witnessing a total solar eclipse is an incredible experience;
    • Discover Chilean Fjords, Punta Arenas & Torres del Paine National Park
    • This vast area of mountains, glaciers, islands, lakes and waterfalls is untouched by man except for a few fishing villages which perch at ‘the end of the world’.