Scenic cruising through the Chilean fjords

March 17, 2020 – sailing north through Summer Passage and Sarmiento Channel, Pacific coast of Chile

2020 South America cruise

The captain updates us twice today. At 8:30am, he tells us that we are sailing through Summer Passage where there is only 2 metres sea depth below us, so we slow down to 14 knots as we proceed on a high tide. We then sail through Passo Franco and then spend the afternoon sailing through very scenic Sarmiento Channel before sailing into open waters this evening. Our destination remains either San Antonio or Valparaiso for reprovisioning.

At Noon the captain reports that our course will result in sailing 1,279 nmi to San Antonio. We have 50 kt winds on the nose right now while we are in Sarmiento Channel, which will switch to NW 15-20 kt winds by tomorrow, with 3 metre swells when we emerge into the open Pacific Ocean. He also mentions that passengers who are in need of critical prescriptions should fill in the form and present themselves with their prescription bottles to the medical staff this afternoon in the Atrium.

The Flying Dutchman ghost ship
The Flying Dutchman, a legendary ghost ship

My travel buddy first thought of this, but I agree there is a distinct connection that the Netherlands flagged Zaandam feels like The Flying Dutchman, a legendary ghost ship that never makes port and is doomed to sail the oceans forever. Of course, according to the story the Flying Dutchman’s crew were all dead, but the Zaandam’s crew are a long way from dead – they are very engaged, and very much alive and well!

As we sail through the scenic Sarmiento Channel this afternoon, I spend quite a bit of time on the Lower Promenade deck taking photos with my Canon EOS R, making good use of my zoom lenses, and also take a few panoramas with my iPhone XS. We meet the predicted 3 metre swells this evening, so some passengers disappear for the evening, while the St. Patrick’s Day celebrants party on.