Ushuaia, Argentina Day 11
Another long day today with sunrise at 5:11 AM and sunset at 10:08 PM. We arrived at Ushuaia at 7 AM and I had a long day in store with a trip that included a catamaran sail to several islands to see wildlife, the Lighthouse at the End of the World, and to finally head to Tierra Del Fuego National Park. Ushuaia is the largest and southern-most city in the world. It is also a gateway city to some incredible land and sea adventures, including excursions to Antartica.
My day started with a quick breakfast, then off to get ready for my tour. Once we were loaded on the catamaran, we headed out into the bay for a trip to Sea Wolves Island – basically, this is just about any island where you can find sea lions and other associated birds. We saw them in the water before we got to the different islands! WOW … there were so many terns (birds). They look like penguins until they spread their wings and fly! Then there were the sea lions themselves. There was one creature that was completely different than the rest – much larger in size than even the male sea lions. At first, I questioned with it was even an animal – it was so still and blended a bit with the colour of the island rocks. But then I saw her eyes and I knew I was seeing a lone sea elephant. The guide mentioned her – no one knows why she is here or why she is alone, but she seems to be ok living on this island with the rest of the sea lions and birds. It seemed sad since sea elephants normally live in very large colonies, but she had a bit of the beach all to herself and probably all the fish she would like to eat. We then headed further out to see the lighthouse before coming back and passing by a few more islands with sea lions and birds. Then we headed to Lapataia Bay. On the way, the scenery just kept getting better and better. I also met some new friends.
I kept seeing this guy on the ship that looked like Pagan. He was on the catamaran and I got a picture of him so I could show everyone – then I noticed his jewelry and some of it looked familiar. So, I decided to tell him that he looked like a friend – and I used a few words that he might catch onto – and after a few minutes of “dancing around topics” we identified some people that we know in common from Sacramento and Ireland. He introduced me to his wife, who was taking a lot of pictures just like me – and we had a great time enjoying the scenery. He laughed when I noticed the horses and told “Rhiannon” that yes, I would get a picture of Her horses.
Ushuaia sits at the southern tip of a island called Tierra del Fuego which is half Argentinian and half Chilean. The name “land of fire” comes from how the explorers first saw the island – the native people, Yamanas, kept a fire burning all the time so it looked like the land was covered with fire. Most of Tierra de Fuego is a National Park managed by both countries. It has interesting trees and plant life and it was nice to get out and see nature. This park also has some great areas to camp, so it is popular by locals and backpackers.
One of our stops in this park took us to the post office at El Fin del Mondo – the “end of the world” – where you can get your passport or postcard stamped with an “El Fin del Mundo” mark. I had seen this little post office that sits on a pier overlooking Lapataia Bay on a travel show that I watch – and it looked exactly like the show!
We ended our tour in the centre of Ushuaia where we could do some shopping. I had seen a lot of pieces made from a stone known as the “Rose of the Incas” and so I looked at a few pieces for possible gifts. As the name suggests, the stone is pink in colour – so maybe I was looking more for myself.
Back on the ship, I started downloading the latest collection of photos and discovered I am running out of room on my computer for pictures! It just happened to have a couple of flash drives tucked into my purse, so I spent a little time shuffling files so that I can download files. I may have to purchase a flash drive to ensure I have everything!
We had another formal night dinner, which included (for me) oysters Rockefeller, spicy avocado soup, Steak Oscar, and a chocolate Bombe. We also took pictures of our dinner family before rushing out to see the glaciers of the Beagle Channel. These glaciers are named the Holande, Italia, Francia, Alemania and Romanche Glaciers. I think I liked the Romanache Glacier the best as it reminded me of the shape of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, but there were surprises through this passage!
The theatre show was “Boogie Nights, based on the show playing on London’s West End and featuring disco. It was a lot of fun.
I ended this perfect day dancing and an end to a perfect day. This really had to be one of the most perfect days. The sea was not too rough, the temperature was not too cold, and the wind was there – but not bad. Again, the last cruise through here was not able to dock due to 60 knot winds. We have been very lucky!
On to Chile and Puerto Arenas!