The Voyage pt. 14 – Magellan’s Strait – magical fjords and glaciers

Travel and Photography


As we churned through the grey seas the weather remained rough and cold. Rain made the decks slippery and the ship lurched, yawed and pitched which made our daily brisk walks around the deck a little dangerous. By now we had our sea legs and took it in our stride. It was fun to find you walking up and then down in time to the slap of waves against the side of the boat.

After a further day at sea we arrived at the shores of Chile, outside the port of Punta Arenas. The idea was to park up and head off into the interior to sample the Patagonian interior. It was not to be. The seas were up with large swells many metres high. A storm was brewing.


We idled out at sea at the beginning of the Magellan Strait.

Something was up. The rumours circulated.

Eventually the tannoy brought us the official version. The Punta Arenas jetty had been damaged by a cruise ship the day before. We could not moor. We could not go in by ‘tender’ because the ensuing storm would make it impossible to get back to the ship later.

It did not stop the various rumours.


Eventually we dropped our Chilean pilot off and headed off up the strait. We were not going to set foot on Chilean soil. It was a disappointment. Yet it turned out to be a blessing. It meant we were able to head down the Magellan Strait with its fjords and glaciers in the daylight.


We set off in the murky morning twilight. There was light drizzle and low clouds that left the craggy Andes Mountains looking stark bluey grey. Giant Petrels floated around us and were silhouetted against the steep cliffs of rock.


As we moved further along there was more snow on the mountain tops. It looked blunt and cold and this was summer. There were no signs of settlements. The barren rocks were picturesque but inhospitable though the giant petrels seemed to cope. I kept reminding myself, as I pulled my fleece hat down over my ears, that this was mid-summer.


It wasn’t until the middle of the day that the sun broke through. The grey monolithic blocks burst into colour with patches of green vegetation, dark shadows, glistening white snow and blue distant peaks. It was pure magic.


The snow was more prevalent and we began to see huge glaciers flowing down the valleys into the sea. They looked wondrous with their crevasses and blue ice.


It went on and on as we slowly slid along the fjord with the mountains dropping down into the waves on both sides. The scene was breath-taking. You first were confronted with one beautiful panorama and then could see the next sliding into view. There was no end.


Even in the cabin you could watch the scenery glide past through the port-hole.

For the whole day we had travelled through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery I had ever seen.

As the day faded the mountains returned to their silhouettes of black, grey and blue but the magic never stopped.


To think that we might have missed all this!

We were grateful for that damaged jetty and the storm we had left in our wake. This was the highlight of the whole voyage.

Now we were heading out of the strait and out the other side to work our way through the myriad of islands towards Argentina, Tierra Del Fuego and the end of the world.

Journey Pt. 18 – Sigh and it’s Gone – Saigon – Ho Chi Min City Vietnam – Photos

The Journey

Life on the ship is relaxed. There are lectures, time for reading, writing and contemplation, and time to relax in the heat, cool off in the pool and sip a beer while looking out over the sea. The cooks kept themselves amused by making sculptures out of the fruit.

We were not disappointed. There were lots of containers in the container port. I’m becoming an expert on derricks and cranes. We are docked in a commercial dock miles from anywhere so we jumped a taxi and headed off to the city. We have spent the day going around Ho Chi Min City (Sigh gone). In amongst the bustle and grime, the millions of motor cycles and street sellers, there are the remnants of the old beautiful colonial city. It has been knocked about and suffers from neglect and wanton destruction; there are far too many people, too much poverty and too much pollution. It is hot, humid and dirty but the people are friendly. We did our usual walking around, seeing the sights, temples, architectural delights and observing the people. Crossing the road and dodging scooters was interesting even though we had done it before. It still amazes me how whole families all fit on one little moped, how the adults wear helmets but not the kids, the colourful face-masks and shades. Quite unique.

The city is exploding as the population rises – they are planning big expansions but I think the charm is lost in the polluted haze.

It’s the same story the world over – too many people generating poverty and environmental catastrophe.

An interesting place to spend time in though.

Having been here before, we revisited the Post Office and Cathedral but gave the fabulous War Museum a miss. We visited two temples that we missed last time. I find the religious artwork colourful and fascinating, the sacred rocks, pruned trees and flowers have a spiritual pull.

We then strolled through the sculpture park and over to the fish market where live fish are displayed in bowls.

It was fascinating to discover a totally different Hindu Temple in the midst of Saigon.

We went up the tallest building to the Sky View, had a beer and looked out over the expanding expanse. Then we went back to the ship.

As we set off from our wonderful moorings in the Premier Saigon Container Port I was reflecting on the beauty of the surrounds – pylons, silos, derricks, rubbish heaps, wasteland, containers in a variety of colours, oil slicks, muddy brown water, jetsam, flotsam and garbage. Very picturesque.

I try to imagine what it will be like when the population has doubled and the fish have all been gobbled up.

This is how it used to look!

Gonna have an easy day tomorrow – sauna, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a beer!!

It’s a hard life in this 32 degree heat.

Looming is Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phuket – it is going to be a busy four days – then we’re heading for India!!

Today is the halfway point!! Still lots of amazing things ahead!