The Beagle Channel, peppered with picturesque inlets and bays, separates Puerto Williams, Chile from Ushuaia, Argentina. 150 miles long and three miles wide, the Channel contains a rare beauty seldom captured in photographs. Located right on the channel, Ushuaia is the southern most city of the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego.
The Voyage of the Beagle, published in 1839 by Charles Darwin, depicts Darwin's adventures aboard the ship the HMS Beagle, which explored the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. The survey, planned to last two years but lasted five and during this time Darwin took this opportunity to explore on land and delve into his research. His unique ground-breaking text of the voyage, includes many of Darwin's theories about biology, anthropology, and geology. Because the book was written during a time when Western Europeans were beginning to explore the rest of the world, Darwin's depiction of the voyage gained him considerable fame when he returned to England. Interestingly, some of the ideas from the book were later developed by Darwin to a greater extent in his most famous The Origins of Species.
Many people attest that sailing is the best way to experience the Beagle (particularly in autumn). There are several options for boats that leave from Ushuaia-- including catamarans, motorboats, or sailboat -- and many companies that offer exciting half or full day tours. The channel is surrounded by the Martial Mounts to the west and the Cinco Hermanos (Five Brothers) to the east, which makes for a spectacular view of sea, sheer rock and glaciers. Most boats head southwest to the center of the beagle channel for a view of the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse, where you can observe parts of the shipwrecked boat Monte Cervantes, which met its fate in 1930.
Try and find a tour that travels to the island of Los Lobos (Sea Lion's Island), where you can hear the barking calls of the sea lions at the end of the world, and experience seabird and Antarctic fur seal sightings. Another island worth viewing is Los Pajaros (Bird Island), where more than 20 different species of seabirds reign, including cormorants, petrels, sqaus and albatross. You can also visit the Penguin Rookery on Martillo Island. On your way back to Ushuaia you can pass through the Paso Chico (small passage) with a view of the Martial mountains.
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