Day 6 snapshots

It is Thursday, February 2, 2006

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National Park hiking

We started our introduction to Tierra del Fuego by joining a tour organized by our tour company. It started out by going to a nearby National Forest. We had seen the crumbling infrastructure in Buenos Aires, so our expectations were not high. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised by the preservation of a natural area by the local peoples. Ushuaia seems to generate a good amount of tourist income that seems to spread out in the area. Taxes are low or non-existent and it is an area that seems to be growing.

Pan American Highway

Inside the park is the terminus of the two-continent spanning Pan America Highway. We took a bus to the southern end. Here, we found a souvenir shop, post office, and a dock—in case you want to go beyond the end of the highway. Incidentally, the land in the distance is Chile.

Orlova at dock

Late afternoon, we headed back to Ushuaia and got ready to board the Orlova for our journey to Antarctica. You see the bright white cruise ship? The Orlova is on the other side of the dock. Dark blue hull and white upper. There is a full complement of passengers on board—120 guests.

We are not out numbered by staff and crew, but there are a goodly number of both to cater to our whims.

casting off

We didn't leave at the exact time that the Russian captain had planned. It became quite windy in the afternoon and the Orlova was on the windward side of the dock. The wind was jamming the boat against the dock enough so that we could not even move away. The men in this picture are helping with the ropes. We waited through several negotiation sessions as the captain tried to get some fishing boats to act as tugboats so that he could move his ship away from the dock. You can see the wind whipping up a froth in the harbor on the lee side of the dock.

Instead of leaving at around 6 PM, the wind subsided enough so that we finally got underway around 9:30 PM. We settled in and watched the lights of Ushuaia come on as darkness fell and we headed east out of the Beagle Channel.

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