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Agostini Fjiord, Chile, March 19, 2016

Waterfalls, Vegetation, and Rocks, Agostini Fjiord

Waterfalls, Vegetation, and Rocks, Agostini Fjiord

As we entered the Agostini Fjiord on the Sea Adventurer midway through a Zegrahm expedition I just returned from that went from the Falklands to Argentina around Cape Horn and up through the Chilean Fjiords in Patagonia, we were met with this stunning sight.  There had been a fresh dusting of snow the night before, making the scenery even more beautiful.  If I believed in bucket lists, this would be at the top on my list.  After working on water in Florida for so many months, it was the perfect antidote to venture to the end of the earth and experience what it is like to be in a place unspoiled by man, though even in the uninhabited reaches of Patagonia receding glaciers tell the story of human impact through climate change.  In Darwin's time, most glaciers came down to the water's edge like Agostini Glacier still does, though it is melting as all the ice in the water indicates.

Kayaking in the Agostini Fjord

Kayaking in the Agostini Fjord

The image above is the view looking away from the Agostini Glacier. Never have I experienced such utter quietude, except for the crunching of ice as my kayak passed over small chunks of ice.  Larger ones I had to avoid, so I wouldn't get hung up on them or potentially flip into the freezing cold water.  The mountains towered around me and everywhere I looked I saw unspoiled beauty, with no visible pollution of any kind.

Below are the images I took from my kayak of the rocks and vegetation lining the fjord.  The colors and textures were so vivid and lush.  It was such a treat to be in my own boat and investigate areas that called to me.

Agostini Landscape Up Close

Agostini Landscape Up Close

Agostini Fjord Rocks and LIchen

Agostini Fjord Rocks and LIchen

Agostini Fjord Cliff Face

Agostini Fjord Cliff Face

Colorful Rocks, Agostini Fjord

Colorful Rocks, Agostini Fjord

Waterfall, Agostini Fjord

Waterfall, Agostini Fjord

Our Guide, Mark Dalpes, Kayaking Among the Ice

Our Guide, Mark Dalpes, Kayaking Among the Ice

Rocks and Subarctic Vegetation, Agostini Fjord

Rocks and Subarctic Vegetation, Agostini Fjord

Below are a couple of images of Agostini Glacier from water level.  As we got closer, the ice chunks were more plentiful, both thicker and closer together, making kayaking more challenging.  To get back to the boat, one of our expedition leaders made a path with the zodiac.

Agostini Glacier from the Kayak
Ice Floe in front of Agostini Glacier

Ice Floe in front of Agostini Glacier

Before we went back to the boat, we spotted this leopard seal below, which should not have been this far north. How this seal and the one some other zodiacs spotted closer to the glacier ended up so far from their arctic habitat is unclear.  Perhaps they got lost.  Whatever the case, they were magnificent  creatures to behold.  This one was so large that one of my fellow kayakers thought it was another zodiac from far away.  Our guides, Mark Dalpes and Dan Olsen, knew what it was right away.  We had to keep a safe distance, since if it decided to plunge into the water, the splash might have tipped over our kayaks.

Leopard Seal on an Ice Floe, Agostini Fjord

Leopard Seal on an Ice Floe, Agostini Fjord

Leopard Seal Yawning

Leopard Seal Yawning

Leopard Seal Portrait

Leopard Seal Portrait

On our way out of the Fjord on the Sea Adventurer, we were able to pass by the sea lion a little closer and I was able to make this portrait with my 80-400 lens.