From Ushuaia around Cape Horn
I am back in Ushuaia in Argentina! I can hardly believe it. (Zum deutschen Blog.) Twice within 13 months in the southernmost city in the world. What am I doing here? This time I do not go to Antarctica. This time, I travel with customers on Celebrity Infinity from San Antonio in Chile, around Cape Horn, to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Almost half the distance and time is behind us. Very early in the morning, with freezing temperature and rain we pass some interesting glaciers in the Beagle Channel, before we dock at the pier of Ushuaia late in the morning.
Opposite us lays the much smaller expedition ship “Ortelius”. To my great pleasure, I meet Sara, in 2016 she was a guest on the “Sea Spirit” and now works as an Antartic guide there. We have to go to the end of the world to meet again. I also could go right back …
It’s raining, nothing unusual here on the southernmost tip of South America, in Tierra del Fuego. The wind also blows heavily. The surrounding mountains are snowy. Midsummer in Patagonia.
My clients would like to take a trip. We decided together for the replica convict railway that goes into the national park.
“The end of the World Train”
First, a bus picks us up and takes us to the small train station outside Ushuaia. Everything at “El Tren Del Fin Del Mundo” is lovingly reconstructed, old photographs show the hard and depriving life of the prisoners who have boarded this train 100 years ago.
They had no weather protection and certainly not as comfortable upholstered seats as we now. They were thinly dressed in their striped suits. Only the felling of the trees, the reason they were driving out here, could warm them up a bit, even if they were exposed to the elements of the weather. Almost all who tried to escape were found dead. Because of the high mountains and the icy cold weather, they were not only locked up in the prison walls at night, there was hardly any escape from here. The perfect place for a huge prison.
It was abandoned about 70 years ago, the area not much later protected. Only the many weathered tree stumps tell of the depletion, which was once done here with nature.
The train ride with the historic locomotives on the narrow, about 60 cm wide rail track is only 7 km long, but takes about 90 minutes. You could almost walk alongside. On the way, it makes photo stop at a small waterfall and the locomotive gets filled with water.
At the small terminal station, the buses await us again. On a gravel road they take us deeper into the National Park “Fuego del Mundo” until we arrive at the seashore.
There is a small post office, who wants, can post his postcards here to get one of the coveted stamps from the end of the world.
I prefer to walk a bit along the coastal path. Soon I’m alone. Gorgeous peace, only the wind whistles a little and the waves hit the rocky shore.
Now the gray cloud cover opens up and blue sky looks out. On the opposite bank, on the Chilean side of the Beagle Channel, you can now see the rugged, snow-capped peaks of the mountain range. Beautiful!
It’s back, our ship is not waiting, but there is still a bit of time left to discover Ushuaia. Over the past 13 months, a lot has happened, much has been built. The city at the end of the world is growing.
Nevertheless, we set off in the evening. Through the Beagle Channel we head towards Drake Passage and Cape Horn. The sun is still radiant in the sky well after 22 o’clock and shows a very soft light. Here I have already driven along. I did not see Cape Horn then.
Very early in the morning, even before 5 o’clock I am with others on deck, because we arrived at South America’s southernmost tip. Cape Horn. But the weather changed, nothing else did I expect. It is very cold, it is raining and it is foggy. But not so much that at least the contours of this southernmost island on the American continent could not be seen.
The captain circles the island with us. With the rugged rocks, I can well imagine here, that the ships were thrown against the island or on one of the small rocks in much worse weather, that have protruded from the water, run aground and leaked.
Several times he turns the ship, so that everyone has the opportunity to see the lighthouse at the top and the monument on the ridge.
What do I expect in Puerto Madryn after the next two days at sea? In my next blog post you can will see!