February 5, 2020, Beagle Channel, Chile
Beagle Channel is one of two shortcuts avoiding Cape Horn, the other is the Strait of Magellan further to the North. Beagle Channel was named after the British Survey ship HMS Beagle, commanded by Captain Robert FitzRoy. The second voyage of the Beagle was one of consequence because Beagle carried a young naturalist, Charles Darwin, on board. Darwin would gain fame by publishing his journal “The Voyage of the Beagle.” Years later he took much of what he learned on that voyage and published “Origin of the Species” in which he outlined “natural selection” the basis for the theory of evolution. But as a man in his young 20s Darwin must have impressed FitzRoy before ever publishing anything because along the Beagle Channel there is a Mt. Darwin, the Darwin Icefield and the Darwin Channel. One was named for the naturalist in honor of his 25th birthday.
Today we traveled westward from Ushuaia, Argentina along the channel. We passed by the icefield named for Darwin and saw what it spawned. It was magnificent. The Guide on board, Glenn-Michael gave us running commentary on what we were seeing and gave us tips on what to look for. In an earlier post I wondered if the cruise was going to peak too soon for me, after Rio and Antarctica would it be downhill? No — not at all. This day starting with the wildlife cruise in Ushuaia and finishing with the Beagle was extraordinary. Best to stop with the words and show you the pictures of the Beagle Channel on a beautiful late summer day.