Beagle Channel

Home to the world’s two most southern settlements, Beagle Channel is the first place biologist Charles Darwin beheld glaciers

Beagle Channel

The Antarctic-bound Beagle Channel

Most Antarctic travelers can’t help but be familiar with the Beagle Channel, being one of only a few ways to reach the continent by ship. Beagle Channel is a strait 240 km (150 miles) long, running through the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago at the southern tip of South America and emptying into the Drake Passage, the gateway to Antarctica.

Beagle Channel terrain and wildlife

Thanks to the healthy flora and wildlife diversity of the Beagle Channel, it’s not uncommon for Antarctic travelers to see a decent selection of bird life and marine mammals there: rare dolphins and pygmy right whales are sometime seen, along with Magellanic penguins if you arrive in Beagle’s principal town, Ushuaia, early enough to visit Martillo Island.

History of the Beagle Channel

Some 10,000 years ago, the Yaghan people inhabited lands near the Beagle Channel, which was (much, much) later named after HMS Beagle, the ship on which the first survey of the area was conducted. Darwin spoke glowingly of the Beagle Channel glaciers, saying, “It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful than the beryl-like blue of these glaciers…”

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