El Fin Del Mundo

Trip Start Nov 07, 2012
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Trip End Nov 20, 2012


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Where I stayed
Cilene Hotel

Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Friday, November 9, 2012

Ushuaia is  former penal colony whose name is a Yamana Indian word for "bay that stretches into the sunset".  Today, it's a small but busy port with a frontier atmosphere.  The snowcapped Andes rise on one side of the town, while the Beagle Channel extends from the other.

This was our second visit to Ushuaia, the first being a stop on our Antarctica Cruise.   The intent of flying here was to join our cruise on the Via Australis.  However, before we boarded we were able to shop in the small town, purchasing walking sticks and waterproof jackets for our upcoming voyage.  Additionally we were able to explore some of the surroundings of Ushuaia aboard rugged 4 x 4 vehicles, journeying into the surrounding mountains in the area of Garibaldi Pass.  Beautiful views and countryside!  On our way back to town we visited the Sanctuary of Gauchito Gil.  Gil is a figure out of Patagonian folklore, a mixture of Robin Hood and bad guy.  His story is an interesting one and a look at the interior of his "sanctuary" (it isn't a burial site) will reveal tobacco, religious statues and icons, and bottles of booze...empty, full, you name it!  It was a fun place to visit and towards the end of our trip, in a totally different locale (just outside of El Calafate) the  group stopped at another, much smaller sanctuary, and left a beer to thank him for a wonderful Patagonian adventure.

Early in the evening we transferred to the pier and embarked the M/V Via Australis, our home for the next four nights as we cruised to Cape Horn at the tip of the South American continent...explored the channels and fjords that border the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the mystical "Land of Fire"...and sail through the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel, named for Charles Darwin's ship, which sailed through its waters in 1834...and encounter ancient glaciers on part of the Darwin Mountain Range. 


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