When we awoke this morning ant 6:00 am, we were at the dock in Ushuaia. While we slept, confident in our captain and crew, we slipped into port and quietly docked. By 7:15, our bags were in the hall, and we were on our way to breakfast one last time. We were reluctant to end breakfast as that seemed the ultimate finality to an amazing trip crossing the circle into Antarctica. We bid our heartfelt goodbyes to crew and newly-made friends and acquaintances, disembarked, claimed our luggage, boarded a bus to a secure luggage location, and were picked up by our AirBnB host's daughters and taken to the same apartment we stayed in prior to the trip by 10:00 am.
Thank goodness for the "Say Hi" app. If you haven't got this and you have an Apple product (there is probably an Android equivalent). you should get it for traveling. You speak in English, it translates in both spoken and written language of your host, in this case Spanish. Through this app we were able to arrange with our hosts a car rental, taxi pickup, and information about various tour options. It was great!
Russ and I spent the rest of the day, vegging, washing clothes, and relaxing.
Friday, January 29, 2016, Off to Tierra Del Fuego National Park WRTD 21
Tierra del Fuego was named the land of fires by Magellan as he gazed from sea at the many campfires of indigenous people leaving at the end of the world.
Russ picked up our rental car, and we drove out to the End of the World, Fin de Mundo,
where the north south road from Alaska to Argentina ends at the sea.
and enjoyed a variety of scenery and vegetation along the way,
one to the end of the road on a boardwalk,
and one to the Beagle channel where the the low tide provided us with us an opportunity to do some tide pooling and examine the geology of the shore rocks, primarily schist, mussels and limpets.
We also visited the "end of the world" post office on the Beagle Canal,
|Visitors adorn the end of their travels with Stickers.|
|We recognize one of these!|
|Due south from this point is Antaractica.|
and a replica of the logging steam train used by the prisoners.
It is a narrow gauge railroad and the most far south train in the world....at the end of the World. Now passengers can ride it at a very steep price. We were content to take a photo.
We visited one other place while we were in the park, the tourist information building that had an exhibit of the indigenous people of Tierra Del Fuego. The images of these people who were literally naked yet survived in this harsh climate are haunting.
|Clothed by the missionaries|
Saturday, January 30, 2016 - A Visit to the Ushuaia Prison Museum WRTD 22
The weather forecast for today was mostly cloudy, so we decided to spend most of it indoors. We had a leisurely morning in our apartment, and then spent the afternoon walking around town. Our primary area of interest today was the Museum. Just as England sent their prisoners in the late 1800's to Australia, France sent their prisoners to New Caledonia, the Spaniards sent their prisoners to Ushuaia, Argentina. The prisoners sent here, were often put to work in Tierra Del Fuego logging. A narrow gauge railroad was built to transport logs.
|Looks a little different than the tourist train we say yesterday at the park.|
The museum chronicles the lives of some of the prisoners and visitors are able to examine "the 21st century revised cells" along with the dreary remnants of the originals.
|Modern Day Depiction|
|Reality - cold and dreary.|
In addition to prison history, there is an art gallery,
and a maritime history with models of early ships that came to this area, the Trinidad captained by Magellan,
the Golden Hind by Drake, and the Beagle that carried Charles Darwin.
|Treacherous waters. Red indicates ship wrecks sailing around the horn.|
Of great interest to us were the indigenous population that were already here. These were the Yamanas. These are the people who came over the land bridge and traveled furtherst south. They were short statured and made bark canoes to to hunt whales and large fish.
Tierra del Fuego is an unforgiving cold climate in the winter, yet these people were naked, when discovered; men occasionally used pelts to cover their genitals, and to protect their backs in the wind. They covered their skin in heavy fish oil to seal in the warmth and keep out the cold. It is amazing that naked people could endure and survive in this environment. Darwin mentioned in his writings that these people seemed "subhuman" and lacked "spiritual souls". This was a calling to the missionaries.
The missionaries that came here immediately tried to cover the natives for both modesty and humanitarian reasons. Unfortunately, contact with westerners and covering their outdoor adapted bodies, and housing them in closed shelters, ultimately lead to their demise as they contracted disease and became less hardy.
Prisoners and indigenous people are always sad stories.
Sunday, January 31, 2016, A Drive through the Andes to Lake Fagnano WRTD 23
The sun streamed through our window this morning and it looked like a good day for a Sunday drive. We packed a picnic lunch and headed north on highway 3 towards the Andes, Garibaldi Pass, and Lake Fagnano. We traveled about 82 kilometers northeast east out of Ushuaia. Here are some of the photos from our day.
We arrived back in Ushuaia around 2:00 pm, found an unusual geocache at a structure that was developed from recycled materials and is now self sustained with water catchment, and electricity provided by sun and wind. When we returned to the apartment, it was time to pack, finalize our plans, and ready ourselves for the next leg of our adventure.
In the morning we leave by plane for El Calafate in Argentina. We will be in this area known as Patagonia, walking, and enjoying the scenery for about two weeks. Hope all is well at home.