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We are Birders - We are Leica

We are Birders - We are Leica

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Whales and Penguins of Francisco Coloane Marine Park, Patagonia

This is a short although comprehensive expedition to explore the western branch of the Magellan Straits, right on the protected waters on the newly-established Francisco Coloane Marine Park, in Chilean Patagonia. The aim of this 2-day excursion is to enjoy the company of the imposing Humpback Whales that occur here during the southern summer.

2-night cruise from Punta Arenas, Chile aboard M/V Forrest | See updated dates and rates from December 2017 through May 2018.

Whale-watching in the Magellan Straits aboard M/V Forrest


Book this trip, reserve space now!Together these gentle giants we will discover a varied array of widlife, including Magellanic Penguins and many other seabirds. Sea lions, furs seals, dolphins and condors are usually spotted around these lush fjords. The small yet sturdily-built M/V Forrest will be the perfect base for our expedition of these famed waters, firstly explored by Ferdinand Magellan nearly 500 years ago.



Detailed Itinerary and Activities 


Day 1 • Punta Arenas - Embark the Forrest - Sailing to Francisco Coloane Marine Park 

We will start the trip from your hotel/base at Punta Arenas. Our representative will meet you at 6pm and transfer you in a private vehicle to the embarkation point located at Punta Carrera, just 45 minutes south of Punta Arenas. You will be received by the captain, expedition guide and the crew and brief about safety procedures. Immediately we are going to enjoy a delicious dinner in company of the other guests and receive information about the many activities we will have during the following day. We will sail aboard the M/V Forrest along the Brunswick Peninsula, aiming to Cape Froward, America's most southerly mainland projection. The long days in Patagonia during the southern summer will allow us to enjoy of a late sunset with phenomenal cloud formations. It is just a thrilling, captivating moment while surrounded by pristine and uninhabited wilderness of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. 

Overnight at M/V Forrest (Dinner)(Guide)


Whale-watching in the Magellan Straits aboard M/V Forrest

M/V Forrest, our base to explore F. Coloane Marine Park © Tamara Albarran, Far South Exp


Day 2 • Straits of Magellan: Francisco Coloane Marine Park - Helado Sound & Carlos III Island

We will have an early start to enjoy the fascinating scenery of the rugged fjordland of the western parts Magellan Straits. These waters together with the neighboring archipelago were declared in 2003 as Chile's first marine park and honors Francisco Coloane, a celebrated Chilean author, who wrote many wonderful seafaring tales about Patagonia and Antarctica. Coloane himself was an adventurer, explorer and the son of a whaler during the times where whaling was big business around the Antarctica Pensinsula, South Georgia and Patagonia.


Exploring the fjords around Seno Helado (Icy Sound) © Tamara Albarran

Zodiac cruising to explore Seno Helado, a remote and unknown tidewater glacier of Patagonia © Tamara Albarran, Far South Exp

We will drop anchor a Helado (Icy) Sound, in the southern area of Santa Ines Island. The views are just breathtaking. The imposing tide-water glacier coming down the rugged mountainous island, covered in the lower levels by dense evergreen woodlands. We will board the zodiacs and explore the rugged coastline and land in the proximity of the glacier to fully appreciate this pristine landscape. The zodiacs will allow us good chances to get close to inquisitive Magellanic penguins, Imperial Comorants, Flightless Steamer-Ducks and Southern Fur Seals. 


Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions

Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp

The rest of the day we will navigate between Barbara Channel and Carlos III Island looking for Humpback Whales. These huge cetaceans come to the Straits of Magellan in the austral summer to feast on the abundant food resources found in these cold and productive waters, and can be seen actively feeding on small crustaceans and fish near the surface, mostly by lunging up from the deep into their swarms and engulfing huge amounts of water which is then sifted through their baleen plates, leaving their food inside the mouth cavity. Usually the sightings are of excellent quality as these gracile and gentle giants are also quite inquisitive and approach to the boat allowing outstanding photographic opportunities.


Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae © Tamara Albarran

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae), Magellan Straits, Chile © Tamara Albarran, Far South Exp

In hopes that everyone has a rewarding day enjoying the Humpbacks, penguins, other wildlife and the captivating scenery of the Patagonian Fjords, we will have a late supper and right after we will head back to Punta Carreras during the night.  

Overnight at M/V Forrest (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)(Guide)

Day 3 • Eary arrival to Punta Carrera - Transfer to Punta Arenas 

At 7am we will drop anchor and have breakfast. We will be transferred to land and take our private vehicle back to Punta Arenas. Arrival at approximately 8.30am.



Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae), Magellan Straits, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Exp



Trip Map


Humpback Whales of the Magellan Straits Tour Map © Far South Expeditions



Dates & Rates 


Whales & Penguins of Francisco Coloane Marine Park
Trip Code PAT11
Trip Length 3 days, 2 nights
Rates  Cabin with private bathroon  Double USD 990 p.p.
Quadruple USD 790 p.p.
Cabin with shared bathroom Double USD 715 p.p.
Quadruple USD 650 p.p.
Dates    December 2017 01 04 08 11 15 18 22 27 30
January 2018 03 05 08 19 22    
February 2018 26                
March 2018 02 05 09 12 16 19 23 26
April 2018 02 06 09 13 16 20 23
May 2018 04 07 11 14 18 21 25 28


Available from December through May. Departures from Punta Arenas, Chile. 


What the trip includes/excludes

The above price is per person in US$, based on double occupancy. All payments are in US Dollars.

Single supplement will be added if single accommodations are requested.

The trip price includes: All accommodations, meals and guide services as stated in the itinerary, boat trips aboard M/V Forrest, transfers, insurance and park entrance fees. Tipping for restaurant service is included. 

The trip price excludes: Domestic flights, tipping, entrance tax to Chile, excess baggage charges, private excursions, à la carte dishes, snacks, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.

Tour Registration

To book this tour, please complete our online registration form. We will process your booking form and will send you (within 24 hours) a note with space confirmation and a deposit invoice with payment instructions. The deposit amount is US$ 500 per person.

Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to tour departure.

NOTE: Inquires received on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be replied during the following working day.


Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.


Refunds are made according to the following schedule:

If cancellation is made 120 days or more before departure date, the deposit less US$ 200 is refundable.

If cancellation is made between 120 and 60 days before departure, the deposit is not refundable, but any payments covering the balance of the fee will be refunded.

If cancellation is made fewer than 60 days before departure date, no refund is available.

This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.



M/V Forrest


M/V Forrest © Enrique Couve


M/V Forrest
Length 85,99 ft. | 26,21 m.
Width 21,98 ft. | 6,7 m.
Depth 10,72 ft. | 3,27 m.
GRT 178 tons.
Engine Kelvin TS8 320 HP
Shipyard J. Cook (IEngland) 1967
Crew 11
Bunk beds 20
Accommodations 4 quadruples, 2 doubles cabins
Bathrooms in cabin deck 4
Bathrooms in main deck 2
Heating Central, Hot water
Autonomy 20 days
Liferafts 4 X 25 passengerss e/o
Disembarking  zodiac boats 2 x 12 passengers e/o
Service zodiac boat 1 x 6 passengers e/o


M/V Forrest has 4 quadruple cabins, 2 of which have private facilities. The other two quadruple cabins plus 2 double cabins have shared facilities. 

The following is the layout of the cabin deck.



To see more images of M/V Forrest, click here



The Humpback Whales of Francisco Coloane Marine Park, Patagonia

Aboard MV 'Forrest'

by Tamara Albarran, travel writer and photographer

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Tamara Albarran, photographer and travelerIn this new article you can read all about our collaborator Tamara's trip as she shares her wonderful experience on board MV Forrest during her two-day expedition to Carlos III Island where she enjoyed the company of imposing Humpback whales, diverse seabirds and lots of other wildlife amid the spectacular scenery of the evergreen, lush fjords and channels in Chilean Patagonia!

Join her on this moving, in-depth, first person account that reflects the powerful impressions and emotions that are always part of these nature trips to the remotest and most pristine wild areas of southern South America. Read article.



Photo Gallery


Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaengliae © Tamara Albarran