Seabourn Antarctica & Patagonia Dispatch

published

December 2, 2013

Our voyage down the Beagle Channel into Ushuaia was stunning. Tall, snow-covered mountain peaks glistened in the bright sunlight. The water was as smooth as glass. Although we have lost the teeth-chattering cold of Antarctica, there was still a chill to the air --- only helping us to remember that we are still very far south. Breakfast outside of the Colonnade was “refreshing.” Some of us enjoyed eating our cereal, fresh berries and scrambled eggs outside and in the fresh air.

Ushuaia is the capital city of Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina. Its claim as the “southernmost city in the world” brings a lot of tourism. Ushuaia is also the jumping- off point for many expeditions to Antarctica. The city spreads out over the hills surrounding the Beagle Channel. It’s reminiscent of a European ski town.

Once we arrived, there were several excursions for us to choose from. Some of us went on a catamaran tour of the Beagle Channel. While sailing, our expedition team members pointed out birds, including kelp goose, rock shags, snowy sheathbills, and sea lions. Another group of us went on a train trip. We started at the End of the World Prison where some of the first inhabitants of Ushuaia lived (the city was originally set up as a penal colony along the lines of Australia). Our train took us along the End of the World Railroad into Tierra del Fuego National Park. We had views of Ensenada Bay and a chance to snap some photos of the beautiful surroundings. Other excursions that were offered today included a 4x4 Safari Down the Lumberjack Trail, a horseback riding adventure and a trek.

“El Trén del Fin del Mundo” the train to the end of the world.

“El Trén del Fin del Mundo” the train to the end of the world.

Some of us decided to skip the excursions and to, instead, wander on our own. Ushuaia has lots of cute stores and restaurants. Tante Sara is a particular favorite: the café’s chocolate milkshakes are fantastic. We also wandered through the outdoor stores and souvenir shops. Items being sold ranged from postcards to stuffed penguins to sweatshirts that read “Ushuaia, Fin del Mundo.”

Eventually, it was time to return back to Seabourn Quest. It was a great day, and we are all now looking forward to glaciers. Our voyage from here to Punta Arenas will no doubt bring us close to some ice spectacles.

(Top: Ushuaia, Argentina sprawled at the base of its mountain wall.)

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