Puerto Natales, Chile
At the northernmost tip of Santa Maria Canal are the imposing White Narrows. With only 80 meters (260’) clearance on either side of the vessel, the narrows provide access to Almirante Montt Gulf and the gateway to the southern Andes, the town of Puerto Natales. South American sea lions and dolphins can be seen alongside the ship.
Situated 112 kilometers (70 miles) to the north stands the monolithic icon of the southern Andean Mountain Range, Torres de Paine National Park. The three granite monoliths of the world-famous ‘Towers of Pain’ soar 2,850 meters (9,400’) above. Named a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, the park is home to hundreds of different species of birds and mammals, as well as the third largest ice field on Earth. Camel-like guanacos are the most common mammal in the park. Foxes, and cougars as well as the endangered Andean deer known as the huemul can be found here. Some 15 bird of prey species breed in the area.