I made it to breakfast today and have no headache, perhaps I’m better at last! We were out and about by 10.30 and decided to check exactly what our Beagle Channel cruise was that we had booked from the UK. It turned out that someone from the tourist agency should have met us at the airport or our hotel to give us all the blurb. No harm done and we booked for this afternoon.
We wanted to see if we could change our flights to El Calafate. We were having to fly to Rio Gallegos and then drive 200 miles on unpaved road, in the dark, to El Calafate. If possible we wanted to fly from Ushuaia to El Calafate and then from El Calafate to BA. It’s just as well we asked as the Rio Gallegos flight for tomorrow has been cancelled! This works out better for us but means we now only one day and a morning to explore BA.
We found the post office to buy stamps, ones with pretty pictures rather than normal ones, and then headed to the maritime museum. This is based in Ushuaia’s prison. The prison was set up as a penal colony designed as a way to populate Ushuaia. In some ways it was very similar to Alcatraz but it had a very different feel. Each cell was enclosed and the prison itself had five wings spanning out like octopus tentacles. The maritime museum had lots of stories about the boats used to found and populate this area as well as stories of wrecks and boats trapped in the ice of Antarctica.
With one hour to go before our cruise we set off in search of lunch and went to Tia Elvira, a fish restaurant on the sea front with a huge king crab sign over the door. It was quite a small place and was full, mainly a big group of French people. By the time our food arrived we had to gulp it down and run which was a shame as it would have been good to linger.
Our boat for the afternoon was the Barracuda, the first tourist boat in Ushuaia (1970’s). It had been built in the 1950’s and had real character about it. Hopefully this will shine through in the pictures. Our cruise lasted three hours and took us out of Ushuaia Bay into the Beagle Channel. Along the way it stopped at a white island, its colour due to the colony of king cormorants that populate it. Next stop was the sea lions, very calm and very very quiet compared to their San Franciscan cousins. We rounded the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse area of the wreck of the … All passengers and crew survived except the captain who stayed on board until it sank and went down with his ship. On board we ran into a couple of Belgian lads who are in Argentina on their stagiaire. Stef also had a go at steering the ship on its way back into port.
Back on dry land we went to the museo del fin del mundo, a small museum with artefacts from the local Indian tribes, a replica early general store and bank and lots of stuffed birds!
From the museum we headed back to the hotel, packed and started a mammoth post card writing session. Tomorrow is our last day in Ushuaia and we’re aiming to do the tren del fin del mundo. This is dependent on us being up and out by 9am. After so many early starts everywhere else we’ve relaxed and enjoyed lie-ins here so being out by 9 could be a bit of a challenge!
Just remembered, the scenery here is very similar to Scotland, lots of moss and heather colours and rugged sky lines.