Passage Through Patagonia

December 9, 2020

In our last post we had just arrived to The Falkland Islands in time for Christmas. In the two years between then and now, we sailed the Falkland Island Shores, down through the Straits of LeMaire, and into the Beagle Channel.

We cleared into Puerto Williams, Chile, the most southerly town in the world, in February. Located in the heart of Tierra del Fuego between the harsh meteorological realities of the Straits of Magellan to the North, Staits of Le Maire to the East, Cape Horn to the South, and the Pacific Furious 50’s to the the West, Puerto Williams is a oasis of shelter offering often sunny calm days, a friendly community, and old growth Magellanic forests. In short, a bit of a paradise. Shortly after our arrival we joined our friends for an 11 day whirlwind trip through part of the Chilean Channels, an intricate archipelago of navigable fiords, to Puerto Eden on their 60+ foot steel yacht. It was a great experience, and we appreciated the crash course in navigating the remote waterways of Chile. We had a tense trip back to Dawn Treader, mostly via ferries, in the early days of COVID-19 lockdowns. After that short separation from our boat, we were happy to spend many months aboard in Puerto Williams, enjoying a view of the Dientes de Navarino Mountains from an anchorage in Seno Lauta. We were there all through the winter, and we came to love Isla Navarino. We were part of a small community of sailors on the outskirts of Puerto Williams, and we were fortunate to be there together during confusing times. In September, although it was still winter here in the south, the anchorages and fiords along the Circuito Ventisquero (Glacier Circuit) had thawed of their of ice, and we ventured out for a two month trip. We circumnavigated Isla Gordon, making stops there, in Isla Grande, Isla Chair, and Isla Hoste. Along the route, we saw giant cascades of blue and white ice and sailed between towering mountains.

Now, again just in time for Christmas, we are beginning a new voyage. One that will take us from Puerto Williams, 1,250 nautical miles North to Valdivia. The mostly upwind passage will be through the Chilean Channels in one of the world’s great wildernesses, Patagonia. We feel absorbed by our spectacular surroundings. The sailing, the walking, and the sights have made our lives feel more full and we look forward to the next months of immersion in these tasks and in this place. We stated on our Zarpe, the passage permit issued by the Chilean Armada, an estimated arrival date in Valdivia of June 30th. We hope that we have given ourselves more than enough time on paper. 6 months to cover 1,250 miles would mean making an average of 6 miles of progress per day.

It is our hope that with patience and persistence we will have a challenging but uneventful passage north. There should be plenty of pauses along the way to update this blog, and we hope to use it as an opportunity to document the passage and encourage correspondence. Welcome aboard!

13 thoughts on “Passage Through Patagonia”

    1. So happy to hear all is well, that your still cruising. I had not seen anything for a long time and thought you had stop cruising. Ed Heart and I have talked several times about you all.

      Best Regards


      1. Brian & Deb,
        It is so amazing and wonderful to find your post in my Inbox! Hurray!
        We love to hear about your amazing adventures and the natural world you see and we only read about. Keep the posts coming when ever you can.
        Much love,
        Aunt Susan & Uncle Jim


  1. Thanks for the update! Keep us posted. I am following your progress in my copy of Rolfo & Ardrizzi’s book. Too bad Torres Del Paine & El Chalten-Fitz Roy were closed due to virus.


  2. Hey Brian and Deb,

    I’m happy to hear you are doing good! I enjoy your blog and all the pictures! Enjoy your trip up the coast!


  3. Hi guys!

    It’s great to hear from you. Wow, what an amazing two years you have had. You have visited so many places I have never even heard of. I am eager to read more posts from your upcoming adventures and would love to see pictures too!



  4. Such a well written post. I’m sad I’m just seeing this now but excited to read a few posts at once! Love you and miss you. Stay safe!


  5. Hello, we don’t know each other but I would like to thank you for sharing the story of your fabulous trip aboard Dawn Trader. It is always a real pleasure to read you on the blog or watch your beautiful and inspiring videos. I look forward to your next news. Good winds!
    Rui Fernandes


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