Strait of Magellan, Between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans54S 71W
The Strait of Magellan, visible at the bottom, comprises a navigable sea route immediately south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego. The eastern opening is a wide bay on the border of Chile and Argentina between Punta Dúngeness on the mainland and Cabo del Espíritu Santo on Tierra del Fuego. Here, the strait is mostly free of sediments, as opposed to the shoreline of Argentina to the east.
The waterway is the most important natural passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, but it is considered a difficult route to navigate because of the unpredictable winds and currents and the narrowness of the passage.
The strait is approximately 570 kilometres (310 nmi; 350 mi) long and about 2 kilometres (1.1 nmi; 1.2 mi) wide at its narrowest point (Carlos III Island, west of Cape Froward). The northwestern portion of the strait is connected with other sheltered waterways via the Smyth Channel. Southward from Cape Froward, the principal shipping route follows the Magdalena Channel.