Scenic cruising Sarmiento Channel

Canal Sarmiento, or the Sarmiento Channel, is a protected inside passage that runs generally north-and-south along Chile’s Pacific Coast between the mainland and Esperanza, Vancouver and Piazzi Islands. It is in the Magallanes y Antárctica Chilena region. Although the native Kawésgar people routinely navigated the channel for 6,000 years up until the 20th century, it was named for the first European to do so, the Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, who sailed it in 1579-80. The channel begins at the Guia Narrows on the north end, and runs general south-to-southeast for approximately 64 miles, passing Esperanza Island on the west with mountain peaks of 300 to over 1000 meters, before turning eastward into the Farquhar Pass. It then turns southward again, merging with the Collingwood Strait for approximately eight miles, at which time the Cordillera Sarmiento rises on the eastern side, crowned with snow-capped peaks, several tidewater glaciers, and a number of shipwrecks on the shore. Finally, the channel turns westward through the Victoria Pass the join the Smyth Channel.