Week 1 of the Ventisqueros (Glacier) Loop

R: Italia Glacier🧊
D: guanacos 🦙, collecting ice
Jon: guanacos 🦙, glaciers
Megan: condors 🦅, imperial cormorant nests

We have had an excellent first week out and easily settled into the slower life at anchor. There wasn't much sailing but that was expected moving west, which is into the prevailing winds. Our first day out, we motor sailed west using the north winds to help our speed for the big mile day. After that we have had pretty light winds when moving, making for easy motoring on our 2 short trips to new anchorages where we were greeted by dolphins in both cases inside the bays.

We first learned of guanacos a little over a year ago. We have been on the lookout for these shy, wild camelids ever since. D was particularly excited to find them. We had heard that some could be found near Caleta Olla, our first intended stop. 15nm before the anchorage as we neared the edge of the contiguous land mass, D was bouncing off the walls. Megan sent D out to start looking for guanacos. Not 30 seconds later, we hear a deadpan "I see some guanacos." "Really?" "Well, I think they're guanacos; they could be rocks." "Maybe you should get the binoculars." "Yep, they're guanacos." So we found our first guanacos hanging out by the water's edge. We swear that D can literally conjure up animals! In Olla, we would find guanaco tracks all over the shore and hillsides.

Overall the weather (for the first week) was quite beautiful. We enjoyed 2 excellent hikes out of Caleta Olla where we saw guanacos - we were hiking on trails cut by the guanacos. They make interesting warning sounds to the others in their herd - a bit of a bray, mixed with a bird like cawing. The first hike gave us a view of Hollanda Glacier from across the lake for our lunch stop, and the second hike gave us views of the canal and the top of another glacier the next day.

After 4 nights in Olla, we moved to a new anchorage in amazing weather. We hung out at the Italia Glacier, with Zephyros, for lunch and to collect ice off the recently calved glacier. Evening drinks were enjoyed with ice in summer-like weather. We hadn't had ice in our drinks since we last collected glacial ice back in February, so it is quite a treat.

The next day we watched condors flying around the anchorage and landing at their nest on the cliff. They put on a nice long show. We also enjoyed another hike where we could see the Romanche, Aléman (German) and Italia Glaciers across the canal. It was a steep walk up and most of our legs were a bit tired from the previous two longer hikes. When we returned to the boat we took turns taking kayak trips around the bay and discovered a large number of imperial cormorant nests on the same cliff that the condors use, but around the corner a bit.

The weather forecast then showed some wind and weather coming so we decided to continue on and moved up to Seno Pia which is a beautiful fjord with 2 arms and at least 3 glaciers feeding into it, one of which we can see from our favored anchorage.

An excellent start to the glacier loop tour of the Beagle Canal.