Sunday, March 31, 2019

Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel

As far as I can tell, the reason you go to Ushuaia is that it is the southern-most city in the world.

The main street is pleasant enough. It's a block away from the waterfront.

The jetty with the Beagle Strait behind. The mountains to the south belong to Chile.

Closeup of the channel. My boat ride went to some of the islands in the middle of the channel.

A wider view. The furthest south island is Horn Island where Cape Horn is the closest to Antartica.

Ushuaia's main street is not the reason tourists come here. Most of the locals have come from other parts of Argentina to live.

This is one of the main reasons why tourists come, ticket booths for boat rides on the channel. I booked online with Tripadvisor and it included a pickup from my hotel which was convenient.

The other main attraction in the area is the National Park and the 'End of the World Train'. Yes, I love trains, but after reading about it, the train did not appeal at all. It looked like a fake toy.

You get your ticket and then go to the blue roof building to get access to the dock.

I was there relatively early so got a good seat by a window that was clean, Another catamaran was tied up to our boat but moved away to allow us to depart.

Still relatively empty. By the time we started, it was jam-packed.

The other catamaran.

For a few fleeting moments, this cruise ship was brightly lit. A few seconds later, the sun was gone.

Naval base.

Soon we were out in the channel. The waves caused a lot of spray.

A spray from the waves was everywhere. All passengers were inside.

Those passengers who thought they would have a good view up front couldn't see a thing because the windows fogged up.

Our first island was covered with birds which I believe are cormorants.

They look something like penguins but they aren't.

Plane coming into land at the nearby airport. The wind is always from the west.

While most of the passengers went outside, I stayed inside in the warm and guarded my good seat. It would have been cold, wet, windy and miserable out there. Yes, I am getting old. Most of the passengers appeared to be Argentinian.

Wet window again.

We were supposed to land on this island and take a walk but unfortunately, there was a female elephant seal in the way so we could not land. These seals can be very large.

A hut on the island. Delux accomodation, I'm sure.

Looking back through the gloom to Ushuaia.

Sea lions.

Because we could not land, the captain took us further east to another island that has a lighthouse.

More sea lions.

Its name is Les Eclaireurs and it was built in 1920.

We returned to port after a ride of about three hours. The last two cruise ships of the season that go to Antartica had docked. This was the smaller of the two.

It belongs to the One Ocean Expeditions group which specializes in smaller ship voyages.

I returned to the spot where I had been dropped off by the van and was instructed to get on a larger bus. It turned out I was the only passenger.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't ideal, but that is normal in this region. I never thought I would see this part of the world so I am gald I came.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Flight from El Calafate to Ushuaia

Ushuaia is the southernmost big town in the world, so I decided to go there after Marianne encouraged me. By the way, it seems like they pronounce it 'yoush wire'.

The distance is about the same as Sydney to Brisbane, or Washington to Atlanta. Part of the trip is over Chile.

The plane leaves at 8:35 and the sun gets up late in the west of Argentina, so it was a before daylight trip to the airport on the shuttle bus.

The 737 plane was full and we were soon over hilly territory.

Andes in the distance.

Curious craters.

I wondered if it was a river, but it appears to be a mostly dry river bed. See the Google Earth view below.

I think this is part of the Strait of Magellan. Until I looked it up on the map, I did not realize it was so far north.

The plane was descending and the mountain tops seemed to be getting close.

Disturbingly close. I would not fly this route at night.

Finally, the Beagle Channel. You can just see a small part of Ushuaia at the lower right.

Navarino Island to the south of the channel. It belongs to Chile.

So an interesting flight. I never expected that I would ever see this part of the world.