The end of the world

Trip Start Jul 02, 2009
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Trip End Jun 28, 2010


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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Thursday, October 1, 2009

It takes about ten hours to travel from Río Gallegos to Ushuaia by bus.  I'd been thinking of taking the plane but I had got all the way from Buenos Aires without getting on a plane so it seemed a shame to spoil it so close to the objective.  As luck would have it, the last leg of my journey south was the most enjoyable one.  First we had to cross the Straits of Magellan




Tierra del Fuego is shared by Argentina and Chile and it's necessary to pass through Chilean territory to get to Ushuaia.  This means two border crossings during which all the bags have to come off the bus.  Whilst the border crossings were tedious the officials were always courteous and occasionally friendly.  There were a couple of stops and at one of them it was very clear that we were back in Argentina.




Here are a couple of pics looking out towards the Beagle Channel on the first day in town.  The Beagle Channel is named for the ship on which Charles Darwin sailed around the world while making the observations that would form the basis for his theory of evolution.  Darwin was originally recruited as a companion for Robert Fitzroy, the Beagle's commander who was a Creationist.  Somewhat ironic and definitely worth mentioning the next time you have a chat with a Creatonist.


                                                                                                              
I stayed to the East of the town centre for a couple of nights.  Here are some pics taken from near where I was staying and on the walk into town.



                                                                                                                        
I moved closer to the centre of town.  Here are pics of the local beer and the view from my room at the excellent Casa de Tere.  Almost as soon as I moved in the weather deteriorated but at least the the living room had a huge window and I was able to get an excellent view of the horizontal snow outside.  I got the laptop out and wrote the second post in a series on design of compound libraries for fragment screening (the weather really was that bad). 



The Beagle Channel cruise was a real highlight despite taking two attempts, the first of which had us in the boat before the weather turned nasty.  The next day the weather was glorious and the postponed cruise went ahead.  Jimena and Daniela, who had been there the day before as well, almost missed the departure due to a late night and can be seen in the pic recovering with an energy drink.  There are a number of cruise operators and I chose one with a small boat which really enhanced the experience. 


 
 
The cruise goes out past a light house and looking at the pic makes it very clear that I should have taken a shave that day. The cruise route goes past a couple of sea lion colonies and the following pics are from the second one.  I had always wondered how sea lions got their name until seeing the alpha male from this group.   Avifauna was also on offer and there was a distinct correlation between odour and whiteness of the rocks.  The two man crew were very friendly and here's a pic of the skipper who I believe is called Pablo (I showed the pic to Tere back at her place and she made the ID).  




                                                                                                                                  
I always find it amusing to take photos of people taking photos and Daniela is concentration personified (I recall that she's a lawyer) as she frames her shot.  The other photographer (a Spaniard and I remember his name as Geraldo) appeared greatly distracted by low flying birds.  Maybe he was looking for Exocets?
   
                                                                                                                        
We stopped at an island and I got this pic of one of the larger boats.  Were the lady on it to kill her hairdresser, I'm sure that she could claim self defense.  While ashore I also got a pic of the Skipper which will give you a feel for the scale of the scenery.  Then it was back to Ushuaia with the obligatory 'Argentine drinking mate' pic taken en route.

 
  
                                                                                                                          
The Martial Glacier is in the mountains to the north of Ushuaia.  I rode the chair lift and then climbed up for a while without getting to the top.  I'd never before been on a chair lift from which you can see the sea.

  
  
  
                                                                                                                  
I did a day trip to Lago Fagnano.  The these pics were taken at the place where we stopped (on the way there and on the way back).

 

One of the stops was at a lookout where I enjoyed the graffiti.  'Piratas' is a bit harsh and I think most English people would prefer the term 'empire building'.  However, I do believe that Argentina would have a much better chance of getting the Malvinas back if they'd be prepared to accept Macclesfield, Stoke and Gordon Brown as part of the deal.  
 
  
  
  

The Tierra del Fuego national park lies to the west of Ushuaia and was definitely worth a visit.  We saw a steamer duck (they paddle with their wings) at full speed on the canoe trip.  In the last pic I'm posing with the sign at the end of the road.  I'd got here from Buenos Aires without taking a plane.

 
  
  
   



   



 







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