Calvo Fjord, Chile

The history of the maze-like Chilean Fords is one of exploration and discovery. Place names such as Isla Vancouver, Isla Chathan, Beaufort Bay, Estrecho de Nelson and Mount Fitzroy speak to the early days of hydrographic surveying by the British Royal Navy. Isla Jorge Montt, Isla Esperanza and Isla Manuel Rodriguez celebrate the efforts of Chilean sea captains and generals. As we pass beneath the steep walls of 400 meter (1,400’) wide Guia Narrows and enter into Sarmiento Channel, we are reminded of the Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who was here in 1579. The original inhabitants of this area, however, known as the Kawésqar people canoed its waters as early as 6,000 years ago. These hardy people thrived in an area of rugged shorelines interspersed with icy glaciers. Large glacial tongues such as El Brujo Glacier (“The Sorcerer”) descend directly into the sea. The freshly exposed rocky flanks of the glacier revealing thousands of years of scouring and the degree of the glacier’s recent recession.