Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SA Cruise: The end of the world: Ushuaia, Argentina, Cape Horn Chile:

December 13 Saturday Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia, is a town of 60,000 on the island of Tierra del Fuego and looks out over the Beagle Channel, named after the HMS Beagle, the ship Charles Darwin sailed on in the 1800's.
Here we took the second and last ship run tour. (We can often get much, much cheaper tours by just stepping on shore. There are usually lots of independent guides waiting to pick up cruisers.)
We took a 4-wheel drive (jeep) tour on a very very primitive old logging trail, up a hillside. We dropped down to a ski resort, one of seven on the island....six, including this one, were for cross country skiing. At the resort, we walked among the pens and pens of sled dogs that are being trained to haul sleds in the wintertime. Because there is no snow in the summer, the dogs are trained by pulling 4-wheelers. The owners like the dogs to be around people to they can learn to socialize. We hopped back in the jeeps and headed into a wooded area where we hiked to an old logging hut. The snack we were promised looked like a small slice of sausage on a cracker plus a little Pepsi or wine. Then the real food came out....stewed beef, oranges, deserts, etc. The best snack I have ever had. We hiked through some really beautiful territory, woods, swampy areas, etc. at the southern end of the Andes. It was well worth the money.
December 14 Cape Horn, Chile
We are at the end of the world. The landscape is wild and beautiful. There are glaciers on the rugged mountains here and although it is the middle of the summer in the southern hemisphere, there is still snow on the mountain tops. These mountains are the souther end of the Andes range. From here, the mountain range goes down into the sea and re-emerges in Antarctica, not so very far from here. We are lucky to be able to sail around Cape Horn at the southern end of the world. The wind blows hard here 200 days of the year. Waves can be up to 100 meters high and the seas too rough to navigate. Two weeks ago this ship traversed the Cape in very bad weather...everyone was sea sick. Another large cruise ship, the Norwegian Sun following the same route at the same time was unable to make the passage. We were very blessed, though, because the weather was perfect and we had smooth sailing all the way. We don’t have a good horror story to tell, but that’s OK.

December 15, 16 Monday, Tuesday At Sea

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