A Travellerspoint blog

Day 14 - Ushuaia

The city at World's End

sunny 8 °C

Ushuaia is located on a wide bay with the Martial mountain range to the north and Beagle Channel to the south. This part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago is also called the End of the World.
We walked along the seafront and had our picture taken with the End of the world sign.

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There were snowy peaks all around the town, so we walked up the hill behind the town, and found a walking trail which gave good views across the city.

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The town is mostly full of tourist shops ready for the cruise ships and people waiting to go to Antartica. Rob got tired of shopping very quickly and went for a run along the seafront.

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We didn't have long as the ship was leaving at 3pm so we could cruise through the Beagle Channel and view the Avenue of Glaciers. The Beagle Channel is a narrow strait named after HMS Beagle, a British ship that first surveyed the area during its world circumnavigation (1826-1830).

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Posted by JenBuckley 15:19 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Day 13 - At Sea - Rounding Cape Horn

storm 9 °C

Cape Horn (where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet) was named by William Schouten after his home village Hoorn in the Netherlands. He was the commander of the Eendracht on a private exploration voyage in January 1616. Sailing around this remote point and then through the Drake Passage was (and is) one of the most challenging nautical routes on the planet.

Our route only took us past Cape Horn and then we turned around and sailed back into the archipelego

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't very kind to us and the ship battled 21 feet high waves in a force 10 gale to get around Cape Horn. Standing towards the back of the boat on Deck 10, you could see diagonally across the ship as it tipped downwards so you could see past deck 12 and quite a lot of sea and then it tipped upwards so all you could see was sky.

A tray of plastic tumblers got thrown across the restaurant floor by the ships movement when we went in to get a drink. One hardy soul was trying to carry a bowl of soup back to his table!

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Posted by JenBuckley 17:36 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Day 12 - The Falkland Islands

overcast 12 °C

This is our first port where we have to get tender ships to the docks - the crew lower 4 or 5 of the life-rafts into the water and shuttle the passengers backwards and forwards.
We'd been asked to get the 1st or 2nd tender to shore which meant joining the queue for tickets at 06:50. We took turns to queue and have breakfast and managed to get the tickets we needed.
We'd booked a tour online before we left with Patrick Watts - former head of Falklands radio - he coordinates several vehicles and drivers. We got paired up with Steve and Kumiko from California.

It's approximately a 2 hour drive to Volunteer Point. All of Patrick's vehicles stop at a half-way spot for a bathroom break. There is a cake box where a local lady leaves cakes she has baked and a donation/honesty pot.
The second half of the journey is across moor land, so Jeff our driver switched into 4WD. The bumping and shaking about fooled my Fitbit into counting steps and over 100 flights of stairs.

As we get close to Volunteer Point, we start seeing groups of penguins on the grassland. These are Megallanic penguins and you can see the burrows that they dig.

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At the point, we walked down onto the beach and then back round to the colonies - king penguins first with quite a few chicks and some eggs and then onto the Megallanic and Gentoo penguins who are moulting at the moment.
Lots of penguins together create quite a lot of mess and they also smell!

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On the journey home 2 or 3 vehicles got stuck and had to be towed out by the other vehicles.

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We past a Chinook helicopter left after the conflict.

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Coming back into town we passed the Governers house and visited the Falklands conflict monument.

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Posted by JenBuckley 15:34 Archived in Falkland Islands Comments (0)

Day 11 - At sea

semi-overcast 20 °C

As we sail further south the temperature is dropping - we sat out on deck for a bit today but I had to put a pair of socks on! - the first time since we left home.
We are now heading south-east towards the Falkland Islands.

Posted by JenBuckley 15:02 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Day 10 - Puerto Madryn

The Weston Super Mare of South America

semi-overcast 20 °C

Although the forecast was for 20 degrees the skies looked very gloomy. We walked off the boat and along the seafront. We noticed a few people staring at the sky and one lady was taking a picture of the clouds. We looked up and realised there was an eclipse! - it was an annular eclipse where the moon covers the sun's centre, leaving the sun's visible outer edges to form a “ring of fire” or annulus around the moon.

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No wonder it had seemed so gloomy.

We continued walking along the seafront in the direction of Punta Cuevas where a group of Welsh travellers were ship-wrecked and where the first people to start a colony . A K21 race (half marathon) race was in progress - the last stretch across the pebbly beach was quite harsh..

It started to rain so we sheltered in a little shrine area with another couple from Argentina - they offered to share their hot drink with us. Lots of the shops sell ornamental cups that have metal straw - the couple put the yerba mate mix (like loose tea leaves) in the cup and poured in hot water. It tasted like a sweet tea.

The caves themselves were a little disappointing - they are fenced off and look like small hollows in the rock.

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We walked on a little further along the coast and curved back round into Puerto Madryn. We stopped at a coffee shop for a drink (and free wifi).

Posted by JenBuckley 13:11 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

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