Day 25…Cruise to South America…Ushuaia…”End of the world, beginning of everything”…

Ushuaia is a seaport and resort town.
We were bundled up in Ushuaia in the cold air. 

The sign reads, “fin del mundo,” the end of the world.

 Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

In Ushuaia, this was the first loon we’d seen since our old lives in Minnesota.

In 37 days, we’ll be returning to Ushuaia to board Ponant’s Le Soleil to begin our 17-day journey to Antarctica.  As we perused the colorful and unusual city known as the “end of the world” we found ourselves particularly interested in the seaport community.

An expedition ship preparing to set sail to Antarctica.  Soon, we’ll be on such a ship.

We couldn’t stop smiling as we wandered through the town, entranced by its unique beauty and charm.  At times, I found myself squealing with delight while Tom reveled along with me in a more sedate manner.  Guys don’t usually squeal.  But, I found doing so irresistible.

It’s almost summer in Ushuaia but it was cold and the mountains are still snow-capped.

We didn’t need a specific ship’s tour to get the flavor of the port city as we walked the level and hilly streets of the town, stopping to peer inside unique shops, restaurants, and businesses.

“Construction of the national penitentiary in Ushuaia began in 1902 when there were already a dozen prisoners living in wood and tin huts. The convicts sentenced to the penitentiary in Ushuaia were dangerous repeat offenders and political prisoners sent down from jails in Buenos Aires province.”

The local people are friendly, never failing to nod and smile when passing us on the street.  The workers at the port were equally friendly and accommodating while passengers walked passed, often interrupting their work in loading and unloading food and supplies for various seafaring ships preparing to set sail.

Mountains surround the town.

With both of us possessing an affinity for the sea, this outing was of the utmost interest. For a moment, I fantasized about staying in this town for a period of time but the winters are bitterly cold and snowy.  Even now, with their summer looming in a few days, it was outrageously cold.  I guess this type of weather isn’t for us for the long haul.

Most of the town is centered around seaport enterprises.

Here is information about Ushuaia from this site:

“Ushuaia (/ˈʃw.ə/Spanish pronunciation: [uˈswaʝa]) is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range, and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 9,390 km2 (3,625 sq mi). It was founded October 12 of 1884 by Augusto Lasserre and is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel surrounded by the mountain range of the Martial Glacier, in the Bay of Ushuaia. Besides being an administrative center, it is a light industrial port and tourist hub.

Country  Argentina
Province  Tierra del Fuego
Department Ushuaia
Founded 12 October 1884
Founded by Commodore Lasserre ARA
 • Type Municipality
 • Mayor Federico Sciurano
 • Total 23 km2 (9 sq mi)
Elevation 23 m (75 ft)
Population (2010 Census[1])
 • Total 56,956
 • Density 2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)
Time zone ART (UTC−3)
CPA Base V 9410
Area code(s) +54 2901
Climate ET

The word Ushuaia comes from the Yaghan language: ush and waia (“bay” or “cove”) and means “deep bay” or “bay to background”. The act creating the subprefecture in 1884 cites the name “Oshovia”, one of the many orthographic variations of the word.[4] Its demonym is “Ushuaiense”.

Another ship, preparing to head to Antarctica.

The name is often pronounced “u-sua-ia” (Spanish pronunciation: [uˈswaʝa]), an exception to the orthographic rules of Spanish, since the ‘s’ forms a syllable with the following ‘u’ despite the intervening ‘h’.The pronunciation”Usuaía” (accented on the ‘i’) is erroneous: the prosodic accent is on the first ‘a’, which is why the word is written without an accent mark.”

Ushuaia’s motto reads: 

“Ushuaia, end of the world, beginning of everything.”

An exquisite albatross sculpture.  We especially enjoyed seeing many albatross in the port.

The above-listed website has considerably more information should you desire to learn more than we’ve listed here.

A totem pole depicting distances to various cities in the world.

What’s on the agenda for today?  With only six days remaining until the end of the cruise, today, we’ll continue to socialize with people we’ve already met and others we’re yet to meet.  As always, the cruise has been an ideal venue for us to make new friends.

Lupine flowers are commonly seen in spring-time in Ushuaia.  Soon, on December
21st, summer will begin in this part of the world.

Of course, our new friends Lisa and Barry with whom we spent the first 15 days on the cruise are staying in touch as we’re all anticipating being together again in the near future.

Bust statue of Argentina’s beloved Evita.

Tonight, we’re dining in Qsine, an upscale specialty restaurant for which we’ll be writing a review and sharing photos tomorrow.  After meeting with Chef Chantal a few days ago, I have no doubt the meal will exquisitely perfect for my way of eating.

The long walk from the ship to the town was highlighted by the many sights and sounds of the bustling port.

See you tomorrow, dear readers and our heartfelt thanks for you continuing with us through yet another 30-night cruise.



Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2016:

Wildflowers blooming along a country road in Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Day 24…Cruise to South America…Cape Horn…The End of the World…How exciting!…Ushuaia…

This rock formation connotes where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet at Cape Horn.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Evening photo last night.  The sun didn’t fully set until almost 11:00 pm.

It was only around 6:00 am that we were situated in Cafe al Bacio.  The ship is humming with announcements over the loudspeaker with the enthusiasm of the passengers palpable as we sail from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean via Cape Horn, South America.

Tom said he was nearly blown away by high winds when he took this photo early this morning as we approached Cape Horn.

It’s hard to believe we are currently in Cape Horn that explorers discovered long ago, an uninhabited weather dominated acclaimed “end of the world,” known as the last visible land mass before reaching Antarctica.

Rock formations at Cape Horn.

This is of particular interest to us based on the fact that we’ll be heading to Antarctica in a mere 38 days.  Taking this particular cruise prior to the upcoming cruise has proven to be highly beneficial to our understanding and appreciation for this remote part of the world.

Here is a map of this area from this site:

Map of the most southerly tip of South America, Cape Horn, where we’re currently sailing.

 From this site, more on Cape Horn:

“Cape Horn (SpanishCabo de Hornos) is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile and is located on the small Hornos Island. Although not the most southerly point of South America (which are the Diego Ramírez Islands), Cape Horn marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage and marks where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet.

Cape Horn was discovered and first rounded by the Dutchman Willem Schouten, who named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn in the Netherlands. For decades, Cape Horn was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. The waters around Cape Horn are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents, and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious as a sailors’ graveyard.

The need for ships to round Cape Horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. Sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting. Thus a few recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation of the globe. Almost all of these choose routes through the channels to the north of the Cape. (Many take a detour through the islands and anchor to wait for fair weather to visit Horn Island, or sail around it to replicate a rounding of this historic point). Several prominent ocean yacht races, notably the Volvo Ocean Race, the VELUX 5 Oceans, and the Vendée Globe, sail around the world via the Horn. Speed records for round-the-world sailing are recognized for following this route.

Many rock formations are named but with the slow Wi-Fi right now we’re unable to do much research.

Cape Horn is located on Isla Hornos in the Hermite Islands group, at the southern end of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.  It marks the north edge of the Drake Passage, the strait between South America and Antarctica. It is located in Cabo de Hornos National Park.

The cape lies within Chilean territorial waters, and the Chilean Navy maintains a station on Hoorn Island, consisting of a residence, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse.  A short distance from the main station is a memorial, including a large sculpture made by Chilean sculptor José Balcells featuring the silhouette of an albatross, in remembrance of the sailors who died while attempting to “round the Horn”. It was erected in 1992 through the initiative of the Chilean Section of the Cape Horn Captains Brotherhood.[ The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush owing to frequent precipitation. Cape Horn is the southern limit of the range of the Magellanic penguin.

Two lighthouses are located near or in Cape Horn. The one located in the Chilean Navy Station is the more accessible and visited, and is commonly referred to as the Cape Horn lighthouse. However, the Chilean Navy station, including the lighthouse (ARLS CHI-030, 55°57′48.5″S 67°13′14.2″W) and the memorial, are not located on Cape Horn (which is difficult to access either by land or sea), but on another land point about one-mile east-northeast.

Views of Cape Horn from the ship’s bow.

On Cape Horn proper is a smaller 4-meter (13-foot) fiberglass light tower, with a focal plane of 40 meters (130 feet) and a range of about 21 kilometers (13 miles). This is the authentic Cape Horn lighthouse (ARLS CHI-006, 55°58′38.3″S 67°15′45.5″W), and as such the world’s southernmost traditional lighthouse.  A few minor aids to navigation are located farther south, including one in the Diego Ramírez Islands and several in Antarctica.

The climate in the region is generally cool, owing to the southern latitude. There are no weather stations in the group of islands including Cape Horn; but a study in 1882–1883, found an annual rainfall of 1,357 millimeters (53.4 inches), with an average annual temperature of 5.2 °C (41.4 °F). Winds were reported to average 30 kilometers per hour (8.33 m/s; 18.64 mph), (5 Bf), with squalls of over 100 kilometers per hour (27.78 m/s; 62.14 mph), (10 Bf) occurring in all seasons. There are 278 days of rainfall (70 days snow) and 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) of annual rainfall.

Cloud coverage is generally extensive, with averages from 5.2 eighths in May and July to 6.4 eighths in December and January.  Precipitation is high throughout the year: the weather station on the nearby Diego Ramirez Islands, 109 kilometres (68 mi) south-west in the Drake Passage, shows the greatest rainfall in March, averaging 137.4 millimetres (5.41 in); while October, which has the least rainfall, still averages 93.7 millimetres (3.69 in). Wind conditions are generally severe, particularly in winter. In summer, the wind at Cape Horn is gale force up to 5% of the time, with generally good visibility; however, in winter, gale-force winds occur up to 30% of the time, often with poor visibility.

Ship in the area heading further south to Antarctica.

Many stories are told of hazardous journeys “around the Horn,” most describing fierce storms. Charles Darwin wrote: “One sight of such a coast is enough to make a landsman dream for a week about shipwrecks, peril, and death.”

Our plan had been to post the story of yesterday’s visit to Ushuaia but based on today’s sailing to Cape Horn, we decided to postpone it until tomorrow which will be a sea day.  We’re excited to share the photos from Ushuaia as well

Cape Horn is not one single spot.  Its a series of islands and rock formations.

Last night, at the Captain’s Club party from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of another new couple.  We continue to enjoy meeting travelers from all over the world on this cruise, especially during the relaxed and easy environment of the Captain’s Club.

I took a break from the group at around 6:30 while management staff from the specialty restaurants stopped by to ask me to meet the chef from two of the specialty restaurants where we’ll be dining over the next few days subsequently preparing stories here with photos of the special dining experiences.

Albatross statue at top of a hill in Cape Horn by Jose Balcells as a memorial to sailors who lost their lives at Cabo de Homes, Cape Horn Chili.

At dinner, we sat at a round table for 10, again meeting more passengers we’d yet to meet.  Later, several of us danced at the silent disco party in the area of the solarium pool.  It was freezing cold in that area and we both had to bundle up to stay warm, even with our rambunctious dancing to the music.

Today, we’ll need a nap.  We’re both a bit sluggish after getting to bed at midnight and arising by 5:00 am.  Tomorrow, we’ll be back with our fabulous photos of Ushuaia, one of the most interesting towns we’ve visited during this 30-night cruise, which ends one week from today.

Lighthouse in Cape Horn.  For this Cape Horn lighthouse fable, please click here.

May those of you who celebrate, enjoy holiday festivities safely and with much merriment.



Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2016:

Fran and Terry hosted our evening ou at a local cafe. During our evening we met other locals in Penguin Tasmania.  For more details, please click here.

Day 23…Cruise to South America…Pantagonia…The Straits!!!…Today, we’re officially at the city known as the “End of the World,” Ushuaia, Argentina.

Map of where we’ve traveled over these past many days in the Chilean and Magellan Straits.

Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

Note the snow-covered pointed peak

Of course, we were disappointed to be unable to post the stunning photos we’ve taken in this remote part of the world.  Since we’re far from satellites, the signal is so weak, we can barely write the post, let alone post photos.

Snow covered mountains left us all in awe of the scenes before our eyes.

After considering a number of “workarounds” we’re now able to post with photos and have since gone back to yesterday’s post adding the photos we’d earmarked for that post.

Now, at almost 1:00 pm Friday, December 15th, we’re back in business and able to post properly.  It’s a huge relief!  We were both concerned and frustrated being unable to complete the posts, not only for the disappointment in being unable to stay in touch with all of our readers but also for the fact we’d get behind with backlogged photos and stories.

We imagined how exciting it would be to be on a small boat maneuvering through the fiords.

As of today, we’ll be caught up.  Early this morning, we disembarked the ship to visit one of the most exciting ports of call during this cruise, Ushuaia, Argentina.  Knowing we’ll be returning to Ushuaia in 39 days to board the Antarctica cruise made being here today all the more exciting.

The fiords create their own weather system which was always changing.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the Ushuaia photos but today, we feel its important to share the photos and story of the outstanding passage we made through the Chilean and Magellan Straits, one of the most memorable scenery experience in our five years of world travel.

With the utmost of awe and wonder, for days our eyes were constantly peeled out the windows and decks (albeit in bitter cold) taking in every fantastic scene of the remote and untarnished area of the world, Patagonia, as shown in the above map.

A patch of blue sky at a distance.

There was no port of call stops.  There were no shops, no restaurants, and no trinkets to buy.  There was only the finite remoteness of a land we can only imagine like neither of us had ever witnessed anywhere in the world.

Many of the rock formations have a grayish cast.

I feel breathless in attempting to describe this desolate place near the “end of the world” where one snow-covered mountain and glacier after another caught or attention, leaving us in a state of utter wonder over the magic of the world around us.

We sailed over hundreds of miles (KM) through the Chilean Fiords and The Strait(s) of Magellan.  The views are breathtaking!

Our photos cannot do it justice. How does one take an entrancing photo of a glacier or mountain when “up close and personal” as we were hour after hour? We sailed through it all from morning until dark which didn’t come until almost 11:00 pm each night.

Each snow covered mountain is more beautiful than the next.  Photos don’t do it justice.

A few photos we previously posted of the two of us were indeed taken outdoors around 10:00 pm.  The air is cold and fresh.  We saw no evidence of human intervention; no trash, no debris, no remnants of human life in any form.  

Gorgeous glaciers.

We observed a variety of seabirds but there was little visible of wildlife although we anticipated hidden within the rugged terrain, therein may live a vast array of wildlife we may never see.

We’d heard snippets of the Chilean Fiords and the Strait of Magellan.  Also, we’ve seen similar settings in other parts of the world, for example, the “sounds” in New Zealand.  We’ve anticipated the Norwegian fiords and others.  But, no way can we conceive of those being more astounded than that which our eye beheld over these past days at sea.

A glacier in the straits.

Thus, dear readers, with a bit of trepidation we share today’s photos, knowing full well that there’s no way our amateurish photos can depict what our eyes beheld.  Know that…within our heartfelt words expressed here…it was astounding.  We’ll never forget.

This photo was taken through the glass window in the dining room resulting in the blue tint.

In a mere eight days, we’ll disembark this ship, the Celebrity Infinity, for a month in Buenos Aires, a vast difference from our time aboard the ship but surely we’ll enjoy in an entirely different manner.

Be well.  Be happy.


Photo from one year ago today, December 15, 2016:

This pretty horse caught our attention as we drove through the countryside in Penguin, Tasmania.  For more photos please click here.