Saturday, December 22, 2018

Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego was a detour that we made the right choice to make. Ushuaia can be dismissed as unworthy or reduced to a starting point for cruises to Antarctica. Kiera (who later dropped out of the trip) voted to include it, and Jay, who likes his extremes (eg., southernmost city in the world), was in. I myself was not blasée to the idea of the end of the earth.

I popped into the tourist info place upon arrival in Ushuaia and got a list of the various Beagle Channel cruises. I was also pointed to the private bus companies (a few people in a stall). I hoped to make it out to Laguna Esmerelda, but it was not to be. There was some kind of futbol game on account of which certain buses weren't running. I was negotiating with the bus “company” when someone else with the same destination in mind showed up. They wouldn’t take us to the Laguna, but now that there were two of us they were willing to catch us up to the another bus that had just left for Tierra del Fuego National Park. We were in. They gave us trail maps and suggested one for the four hours we’d have in the park before the last bus back. They also suggested we hike together, even though you can’t really get lost. The guy, it turned out, was Russian (living in Germany) and was thrilled to have someone to talk to in Russian. I was happy to have a companion for the afternoon.

We set off along the lake

Bordered on the other side by woods

in which we met a woodpecker.

and some other birds

until we hit the Chilean border
At which point we turned around and headed back to the lodge. 

This guy was pretty jaded about the scenery, having already done Torres del Paine, and noted that I was doing things in the right order. We walked along the lake, with snowcapped mountains on the other side, he shrugged and said “you can see that in Norway.” On the way back, I translated back and forth as he negotiated with the bus company to take him to the Laguna the next day and get him to the airport on time. I got back into town not long after Jason got in. We got a late-for-us, normal-for-Argentina dinner.

The next morning, we set off on a Beagle Channel cruise. The boat pulled away from the city and its snow-capped mountains.

 Toward some seals

 and other birds.

Magellanic penguin

Gentoo penguins
On the way back, the wind splashed water over the entire height of the boat. I took some pictures of the water flowing down along the glass.

 Because of the fierce winds, the cruise took longer than expected. We got off, picked up our bags, and hoofed it to the airport for our hop to Calafate.

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