Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fin Del Mundo

"At the end of the Earth". Ushuaia is truly an outpost. Set against a natural harbour and surrounded by what is literally, the end of the Andes: towering, jagged peaks, full of snow. Alaska, Twin Peaks, Iceland, Hobart on steroids...get the picture?

Ushuaia was originally founded in in the late 1800's as the Argentinian "Alcatraz", ie, to service a huge prison, housing Argentina's most hardened criminals but when costs got a bit too high the Navy took over the prison in 1950.

Most houses are made of wood with steeply pitched steel roofs to manage tons of winter snow. When I arrrived the temperature was 4C and peaked at 10C. It does not get much warmer than this! There is a snow storm outside right now as I finish writing this! While I was here, the sun rose at 4am and set at 11pm with a faint blue glow in the sky in between!

While jogging, I noticed that this town is swarming with dogs and without leashes or fencing. Did I break a few records! Luckily I did not need to rely on my tetanus shots! The K9 problem is so bad that all household bins are actually metal baskets purched on a pole next to the letter box to stop the doggies from making a mess. Not a good look!

Before the snow storm, I visited the "Tierra Del Fuego National Park" and the "Martial Glacier", both breathtakingly beautiful and only 24km and 7km away. The national park actually borders Chile and even has beavers in it who, like rabbits in Australia, are actually pests and in uncontrollable numbers. The Martial Glacier is not as large as most and the face sits at around 1,000m altitude, however getting there is a killer since we hiked from the 385m car park to get there!

Next blog will be on Antarctica and if the ship has satellite internet then I will broadcast 18-20DEC10. If not, then 23DEC10.