Our Antarctic Adventure – Part XV

Sun, Feb 15th – Ushuaia, Argentina

From the Navigator
Ushuaia-turminal-dock As we sailed north across the 560 miles of the Drake Passage we passed over the Antarctic Convergence. Here the cold waters of the Antarctic meet the warmer seas of the Atlantic & Pacific, and the surfacing nutrients attract a variety of seabirds and whales.

Our passage across “The Drake” went very well. By the time I awoke this morning we were quite a ways into Beagle Channel, and a couple of hours away from the city. This area is so much like the Olympic Peninsula and Port Angeles – from the geography to the weather. Even though this is their “August” it reminded us of the weather conditions in late August at home. We were warned to expect extreme weather conditions; low temps and high winds, the day turned out rather nice – low fifties. The layers that we had been advised to wear turned out to be a bit excessive – but weather can always change quickly and it would have been a long back to the ship.

Ushuaia-street We opted to not take an excursion, but just walk about until we got the feel of the town. Barbara’s research on the Internet turned up an interesting Maritime Museum that she wanted to visit and I was looking for a copy of a book about the Tierra Fuegians that I wanted to try to find. We found the book in a very nice tourist shop that I felt had the same feel as “Jack’s” in Fiji. Before we left that shop I spotted a long sleeve cotton (algodon) shirt – made in Argentina that I liked. Shopping gave us a chance to brush up on our Spanish – which was very rusty, but the clerks were very patient – some even enjoyed trying out their English on us. By the time we left the shop and wandered down Avda. San Marten, we were having a very nice feeling about Ushuaia.

Ushuaia-old-prison We had little trouble finding the museum, which just happens to be in a part of the legendary penitentiary. Here again our Spanish was challenged but successful. The maritime portion of the museum was very small, but it spilled out into the corridors and former jail cells. All subjects of the history of the area were covered especially the exploration of the Antarctic by Argentina. Thoughtfully, most displays included a description in English as well as Spanish.

Before heading back to the ship, we had a light Argentinean lunch in the Tante Sara restaurant, one of the many along the Avda. It was there that I got my locally brewed “Beagle Beer”. Since the “shop” happened to be on the way, and we still had some Pesos left, we stopped in and bought the shirt. It has a very nice small logo, which I prefer.

Ushuaia-shop-keeper When we left the ship earlier that day we spotted a long narrow building where local handicrafts were made and sold, this is where we headed next. Upon entering the first shop, I knew I was going to lose Barbara, so I went on through and found a place to wait. That was my good fortune as there in a small taxi parking lot were five Gaucho (for want of a better word) dancers; three men and two women. I joined several local people who were standing around enjoying the show. I did Ushuaia-dancers take several video clips with my still camera. They were so enthusiastic – it was one of those beautiful and unexpected moments. Too soon we were out of time and out of pesos so we returned to the ship. The ship was to sail at 5:00 PM but due to some unexplained administrative problem we did not sail away until closer to 8:00 PM. I wonder how this will affect our arrival as it was expected to be 10:00 AM.


Till tomorrow, and what surprises it brings ….. JWC

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