The Chilean island of Madre de Dios has been the subject of several incredible discoveries and today it is a protected area.
The Chilean island of Madre de Dios has been the subject of several incredible discoveries and today it is a protected area. The expedition team sails to Madre de Dios, where they build the whole camp with the half a ton of materials that they have imported. Thereafter, they begin the thoroughly planned research of the island. When the team leaves the island again on March 3, they pack everything and take it home to make sure they do not harm the environment and the protected nature. Bernard Tourte says, “Without teamwork, it would be impossible to build a camp in as few days as we are going to do in 2017”.
A dream for researchers
More than 6000 years ago the island was inhabited by the Kawésqar people and back in 2006 the expedition found cave paintings made by this exact group of natives. Unfortunately, there are not many descendants left of the Kawésqar people and their language is considered nearly extinct.
Cave paintings in a cave on Madre de Dios found on an earlier expedition – The paintings are the small orange figures in the middle.
In one of Madre de Dios many caves, which are very young caves formed by the last ice age, 2600-3500 year old whale skeletons 10-13 meters above sea level have also been discovered. “What makes Madre de Dios a dream for researchers, especially speleologists, is the combination of it being far away and difficult to reach, and where one can explore unique landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world,” says Bernard Tourte. It is the 11th expedition by Centre Terre, which was founded in 1992; it is the eighth expedition to Patagonia and the fifth time going to the island Madre de Dios.