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Sail Ushuaia to Punta Arenas or vice versa on the Stella or Ventus Australis, past beautiful fjords, glaciers and wildlife.
This cruise takes in the iconic Cape Horn National Park, where you have the opportunity – weather permitting – to set foot on the final land mass before Antarctica.
The sailings follow in Charles Darwin’s footsteps, and the modern Australis cruise ships means comfort and fine dining are your companions all trip.
More on Beagle Channel and Cape Horn cruises
There are daily shore excursions and informative evening lectures to enjoy, too, making your expedition cruise a great and pleasurable adventure.
Keep an eye out for penguins, leopard seals and more wildlife in this pristine environment, replete with icebergs and mountains.
The sailing season is from September to April and these cruises are a great way to move between Argentina and Chile while enjoying a fabulous tour.
Wonder at the majesty of Patagonia nature with its spectacular glaciers, fascinating wildlife and imposing scenery.
Beagle Channel and Cape Horn cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia.
Takes in Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel and Tierra del Fuego.
See remote glaciers, wildlife and sub-polar forests visited by fewer than 1,000 people every year.
Extraordinary wilderness that is untouched over millions of years.
Expert guides bring this incredible region to life - the flora, fauna, glaciers and geology, as well as human histories.
Gourmet cuisine on a ship of real comfort with a balance of exploration and relaxation.
Beautiful, cosy cabins from which to enjoy spectacular views, plus lovely social areas.
The cruise was great – fantastic organisation, very professional staff and all very interesting.
D. Rowell, Beagle Channel and Cape Horn Cruise
Check in at Magallanes 990, Punta Arenas, from 13.00 to 17.00. Cruise ship boarding at 18.00.
The Captain and crew give a welcome cocktail reception on board. Immediately afterwards, the ship departs for “the uttermost part of the earth”.
Our excursion takes us through the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel to explore one of the most breathtaking wilderness regions in the world: Southern Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego.
At dawn, we continue navigating through Almirantazgo Sound, arriving at Ainsworth Bay, inside the Alberto De Agostini National Park.
From a distance we may see the Marinelli Glacier which descends from the Darwin Mountain Range, and we learn how life begins after the retreat of the ice.
We also take a walk to discover a beaver dam in the marvellous sub-polar Magellanic forest.
On the beach, we look for elephant seals, but we cannot guarantee this as the precise location of the colony is unpredictable.
Back aboard to relax and for lunch, while we sale to Tuckers Islets.
In the afternoon, we board the Zodiac boats to view Magellanic Penguins (which only live in the southern hemisphere), and Cormorants.
(Note: In September and April this excursion is replaced by Brookes Bay, where we land for a short walk to approach a glacier.)
We navigate along the main part of the Beagle Channel to reach Pia Fjord, where we disembark near Pia Glacier.
We take a short hike to a look-out point with a spectacular view of the entire glacier tongue, stretching from high in the mountains all the way to the sea.
After this unforgettable experience, we continue sailing along the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel through majestic “Glacier Alley”.
From the boat, we look out for many of the incredible glaciers that descend from the mountains into the sea.
We sail through the Beagle and Murray channels to reach Cape Horn National Park, where we disembark (weather permitting) at one of the iconic landmarks of South America.
Cape Horn, is a sheer, 425m/1,394ft-high rocky promontory, and in the past it was the only entrance to the Pacific Ocean.
This place is known as the “End of the Earth”, and it’s the last territory before Antarctica. The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2005.
In the afternoon, we go ashore at the historic Wulaia Bay, once the site of one of the region’s largest Yamana aboriginal settlements.
Charles Darwin landed here on January 23rd, 1833, during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for the mesmerising beauty of its vegetation and geography.
We walk through a Magellanic forest of Lengas, Coihues, Canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation to reach a look-out point.
Arrival at Ushuaia, Argentina’s most important city on Tierra del Fuego, and the southernmost city in the world.
We disembark at 08.00, enabling you to get an early start on visiting the city and national parks, and on continuing your trip through Patagonia.
Check in at the Australis travel centre between 10.00 and 17.00 on the day of your cruise departure.
Board the ship at 18.00.
Welcome drink and set sail.
During the night we traverse the Beagle Channel and cross from Argentine into Chilean territorial waters turning into the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands.
By early morning, we are cruising across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes CapeHorn National Park.
Weather and sea conditions permitting, we shall go ashore on the windswept island that harbours legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos).
Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition Cape Horn is a sheer 425m/1,394ft high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage.
For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the “End of the Earth.” The park was declared a World BiosphereReserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a lightkeeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.S
ailing back across Nassau Bay, we anchor at fabled Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain Fitzroy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle.
This area is also renowned for its mesmerising beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station – which is especially strong on the Yámana people and European missionaries in the area – passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the heavily wooden mountain behind the bay.
On all of these you will be strolling through an enchanted Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns,and other endemic fauna to reach a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the bay.
Before leaving Wulaia Bay, drop something into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travellers – an ancient mariner tradition revived by Australis.
Casting off from Wulaia Bay, we retrace our route to the Beagle Channel and sail westward along the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego into a section of Alberto de Agostini National Park called Glacier Alley or Avenue of the Glaciers.
Flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet are a number of impressive tidewater glaciers, most of them named after European countries – Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France. In amongst this frozen league of nations we enter the narrow Pia Fjord and board the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier.
No one knows for certain how the hulking glacier got its feminine moniker, but one theory says it was named for princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.
After disembarking we take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountain-tops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
Making our way further west along the Beagle Channel, we enter another long fjord and drop anchor near Garibaldi Glacier for another shore excursion. Garibaldi is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia gaining mass rather than staying the same or slowly shrinking.
This time we hike through virgin Magellanic forest to a glacial waterfall, a towering wall of ferns and moss, and spectacular viewpoints looking down on the glacier and fjord. The walk is demanding – very steep, negligible trail, rough footing – and not for everyone. For those who choose to stay onboard, our captain will point the bow towards the beautiful sky blue Garibaldi Glacier so everyone can enjoy the panoramic view from the upper decks.
Early in the morning, we will sail through the Cockburn Channel and enter Agostini Sound. From there it is possible to see the glaciers that descend from the middle of the Darwin Mountain Range – some of them reaching the water.
This morning, we disembark and go for an easy walk around a lagoon, which was formed by the melting of the Águila Glacier. We reach a spot right in front of that glacier with stunning views.
In the afternoon, we will approach the Condor Glacier via Zodiac – and hopefully see some of the abundant Andean Condors in the area.
After an overnight cruise that takes us back into the Strait of Magellan, we anchor off Magdalena Island, whichlies about halfway between Tierra del Fuego and the Chilean mainland.
Crowned by a distinctive lighthouse, the island used to be an essential source of supplies for navigators and explorers and is inhabited by an immense colony of Magellanic penguins. At the break of dawn, weather permitting, we go ashore and hike a path that leads through thousands of penguins to a small museum lodged inside the vintage 1902 lighthouse. Many other bird species are also found on the island.
In September and April – when the penguins dwell elsewhere – this excursion is replaced by a ride aboard Zodiacs to Marta Island to observe South American sea lions.
After a short sail south along the strait, disembarkation at Punta Arenas is scheduled for around 11.30.
Prices From $2,478 / £1,982 per person
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Accommodation on board, sea transportation, meals as listed (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner), open bar when on duty (without additional cost for wines, beverages, and liquors), shore excursions, and onboard entertainment and lectures.
International flights, port taxes USD 50, transfers, optional tours, gratuities, extra services onboard, hotels in Ushuaia/Punta Arenas
Decks and cabin types (from top to bottom of ship)
Cabo de Hornos: 2 x AAA Superior, 23 x AAA Cabins
Tierra del Fuego: 2 x AA Superior, 36 x AA Cabins
Magallanes: 34 x A cabins, 3 x B Cabins
All cabins have private facilities, large windows, safety deposit box, independently controlled heating, closet and hair dryer.
Superior cabins: 20.5 m2 / 220 sq.ft
All other cabins: 16.5 m2 / 177 sq.ft
Passengers have access to a library with extensive literature on Patagonian flora, fauna and history, as well as board games and other onboard entertainment activities.
English-speaking guides and guest lecturers deliver presentations and slide shows on various aspects of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.
Through their constant study of glaciology, flora, fauna, history and traditions of the region, the guides will help you to understand all that you observe while visiting Patagonia.
The crew and sailors aboard are mainly Chilean, but also draw on sailors from around the world.
Eating is a treat on board the boats. You are served in the dining room with buffet breakfasts and lunches plus four-course dinners that blend continental and Chilean cuisine.
Some meals are buffet type, some are cooked to order, depending on the day. You are sometimes asked at lunch to select your dinner menu.
The galley also caters to special dietary requests – please ask for more information.
The all-inclusive bar features a wide selection of liquors, excellent Chilean wines and local craft beers, as well as the boat’s trademark Calafate Sour.
Shore excursions are carried out in Zodiac boats that can easily navigate remote bays and shallow water. You are helped in and out of the zodiacs by staff.
Walks are generally short albeit with some slopes, and the cruise is open to all fitness levels.
Read our blog about a day on board.
Is there Internet connection onboard?
We do not have Internet or Wifi service aboard our ships.
Do we always disembark at Cape Horn National Park?
Shore landings at Cape Horn National Park is subject to weather conditions. The disembarkation success rate for this excursion last season was 70%.
Are there additional charges?
Yes. The cruise cost does not include visa fees, national park fees or Chile and Argentina port fees.
Total port fees per person for 2017-2018 bookings are as follows (subject to change)
– Punta Arenas to Ushuaia route: US$50
– Ushuaia to Punta Arenas route: US$50
– Punta Arenas to Ushuaia to Punta Arenas route: US$60
– Ushuaia to Punta Arenas to Ushuaia route: US$60
These fees may change at the discretion of port authorities. They are not included in the cruise rate and must be paid along with your final payment.
Should we tip on board?
Tips are at the discretion of the passenger. But we suggest US$15 per day per passenger for the staff and crew, handed in at the reception desk on the last day of the cruise.
How can I pay onboard?
Items from the onboard shop (such as souvenirs, books and sportswear) can be purchased with Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Diners credit cards, travellers checks, U.S. dollars, Euros, Chilean pesos or Argentinean pesos.
Can you use drones or camera extension poles?
According to the provisions of the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF), in the Protected Wild Areas of the Magallanes Region, the use of drones or any RPAS technology is prohibited.
On Magdalena Island the use of Selfie Sticks for cameras is prohibited, since they disturb the wildlife.
On Board Lectures
During the cruise there will be interesting lectures on the wildlife, history and geography of this legendary region given by the Mare Australis and Via Australis Expedition Group. The lectures will take place both on board (with audio-visual support) and on land.
Geography and Navigation Route
You will learn about the geographic environment where our expedition cruiseship sails and each one of the channels, fjords and glaciers making this route a unique and mysterious place at the end of the earth.
Patagonia Ice Flowers
You will enjoy a beautiful audio-visual exhibition of the different species making up the Magellan forest. You will know trees and bushes that are characteristic of the region, such as Coigüe, Lenga, Ñirre, Maitén or leña dura, Canelo, and some fruits such as Calafate, Myrtleberry, Zarzaparrilla and Chaura, as well as one of the most delicate flowers in the world, the Orchid.
You will learn about the importance of Captain Fitz Roy, who carried out the first expedition to this region, exploring the islands near the Navarino Island. In 1830, he discovered the Beagle Channel, which owes its name to the brig called “Beagle”, which took them to these remote lands. You will also discover other adventurous voyages and the colonisation south of Tierra del Fuego.
Penguins are one of the most characteristic birds of this region. You will be amazed to know the different species inhabiting the Patagonia, their reproduction process, how they feed, why they emigrate and come back to the same place every year and many other peculiar characteristics of this seabird.
The Native People
You will learn about the ethnography and some theories on the inhabiting of the American continent and the first contacts with the aborigines: Tehuelches or Aonikenk, Onas or Selknam, Alakalufes or Kaweskar, Yaganes or Yámanas and Haush, their customs, their way of living and their mythology.
For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.
The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.
Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.
For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.
Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.
As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.
Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.
At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.
Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.
Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.
The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.
The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.
It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.
Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:
This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.
The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.
Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.
UK and USA citizens do not require a visa to enter Argentina or Chile as a tourist.
Please ensure your passport has at least six months remaining validity.
On presentation of a valid UK or USA passport you will be granted a 90-day stay in either country. Please keep any tourist card you are given safe – you need this to leave the country.
Australians have to pay a reciprocity fee to enter Argentina, and this must be obtained before travelling to Argentine.
Australians entering Chile at Santiago International airport must also pay a reciprocity fee, paying cash on arrival.
All non-UK nationals should check with their nearest Chilean/Argentine consulates for the latest visa and fee information.
All requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.
Patagonia, the very southern tip of South America, has a four-seasons-in-one day climate.
Summer (Nov-March) see temperatures reach up to 20°C, when glorious light pours over the region for up to 18 hours. This is the best time to visit, nevertheless, spring and summer is also when the central and southern Patagonian regions sometimes get buffeted by strong, westerly winds.
Summer days in national parks can also bring sunny, windless conditions, and you may well find yourself hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Afternoons can be warm with lots of sunshine. (Note: Patagonian UV rays are very strong).
It is usually cool and windy all year round but seldom does the temperature fall below freezing point. Some days start with snow and end in balmy sunshine. It is always interesting, and can range from 10°C-20°C in the summer, although the wind can make it feel chilly.
Even in summer (Dec-Mar) you should come prepared to find cold, strong winds (up to 130 km/hr) and rainfalls. The summer’s average temperature is 11ºC/52ºF (24ºC max, 2ºC min). It has been known to snow in camps in summer!
In general, the further south you go, the cooler it gets and the further west you go – towards the Andes and Pacific coast – the wetter and less predictable the weather is. The further east – towards and across the Patagonian plateau – the drier and more stable.
Winter (May-Sept) visits to these southern areas are possible, but many hotels close and not all trips are possible. Daylight hours can be very short and temperatures typically range from -2°C in the winter.
The lack of visitors can greatly improve chances of seeing wildlife in parks such as Paine. Winds tend to die down.
On the South Patagonian Ice Field (average height, 1,500 metres), the appearance of lenticular clouds – signifying changing conditions – can translate into extreme winds (up to 150 kmh) and heavy snowfall. Here, summer pre-dawn temperatures commonly reach -20°C, with wind chill lowering temperatures even more. However, on sunny, windless summer days, you might get away with wearing just a couple of thin layers.
In Peninsula Valdes, it does not rain much in the region on an annual basis, summers are usually mild, and the temperature sometimes gets very hot (touching 30ºC) and then eases off in the evening. The area does get very windy at times, especially on the peninsula, and warm and water/windproof clothing is recommended.
If you head to Ushuaia, due to its extreme southern location, temperatures may remain chilly during summer (Oct-March) the use of plenty of warm layers of clothing. Winter and Antarctic visits will require extreme clothing.
We strongly suggest that everyone planning to travel to Patagonia visits their local doctor/travel clinic prior to departure for the latest vaccination information.
Good kit is vital for every trip.
Book with Andean Trails and get 15% off Páramo’s fantastic ethical and high performance outdoor gear.
Be nice to your feet! Make sure hiking boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin, Second Skin (or similar) for fast foot treatment and blister prevention.
If you are bringing a camera, include plenty of film or digital cards with enough megabytes for hundreds of pictures and spare batteries. Please note, film and digital cards are difficult to find and often expensive to purchase in Patagonia.
Stuff sacks are great for sorting your gear. Use different sizes and colours to differentiate the contents in your duffel bag/backpack.
Typically, you will be carrying your water-bottle, fleece or wind stopper jacket, rain jacket & trousers, your camera and other small miscellaneous items in your daypack for landings.
Below is a more detailed guide.
Detailed kit list
Official name: Republic of Chile
Country population: 17,000,000
Capital city: Santiago (6 million)
Largest cities: Santiago, Concepcion, Valparaiso
Languages: Spanish (official)
Official currency: Chilean Peso
Major industries: Copper mining, agriculture, fish
Time zone: GMT-5 in winter (Mar-Sep) and GMT-4 in summer (Sep-Mar)
Official name: Argentine Republic Country
Capital city: Buenos Aires (11 million)
Largest cities: Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario
Official currency: Argentine Peso
Major industries: Agriculture (Soy), motor vehicles, chemicals
Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.
We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.
We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.
When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.
You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.
What is ATOL?
The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.
And ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.
Who is covered?
To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).
If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.
If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.
Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.
For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.
I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?
If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.
We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.
If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.
You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.
January 2020 price, per person, shared B cabin
Season: September to April
Twice weekly sailing
M/V Ventus Australis or M/V Stella Australis
Please consult for sailing dates, prices, availability
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What's a group trip?
Join a small group of like-minded travellers on a guided trip.
Prices From $6,995 / £5,596 per person
Dates: From November 2018 to February 2021
Capacity: 112 people
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Prices From $12,395 / £9,916 per person
Dates: From December 2018 to December 2019
Capacity: 71 people
Prices From $4,595 / £3,676 per person
Dates: From January 2021 to December 2021
Capacity: 16 people
Prices From $3,914 / £3,131 per person
Capacity: 20 people
Happy New Year and may it bring us times of hugs and times of travel!
1st January, 2021 1:47 pm
Whale watching is on most people’s bucket list – unsurprisingly! Read on to find out all about the whale watching season in Ecuador, the best places to see whales in Ecuador and get our travel information an expert tips to help plan your trip. Ecuador Whale Watching Guide: Season and Best Places to go Humpback Whales migrate from Antarctica to the shores of Ecuador every year, from June to September. They come in search of warmer currents, and an abundance of food. For 2 months they will feast, creating thick layers of fat before returning to icier waters. Pregnant …
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