Day 33 – In the Drake Passage to Antarctica – Find Insignia on CruiseMapper
(NOTE: The following Partout was written four days ago as we were entering the Drake Passage, where we lost internet until Day 37. All day/date references below are five days prior to this post.)
We said goodbye to the South American continent last night in Ushuaia, Argentina, and are now fighting our way through cross-currents across the fabled Drake Passage. The appearance of barf bags scattered for instant access in random public spaces is a clue to the ambience.
Because Penguins Don’t Need Internet
Because penguins don’t need internet, communications satellites are scarce in these parts. Our next reliable internet connection will be in Port Stanley, the Falklands, where we have only a 50-50 chance of getting good-enough weather to make port next Tuesday.
In hopes of squeezing a message through our tiny wifi window before it closes, this edition of Partout (pronounced parr-two, for those of you new to the blog) will be our day at the end of the world (mostly) in pictures.
Ushuaia is the jumping-off spot for 80% of Antarctic voyages, and yesterday was its busiest day ever, according to a bunch of locals. Eight ships were in port, and the city of 80,000 was hopping. Doris felt like she was in a ski resort – a cold place filled with people dressed like Michelin tiremen excitedly waddling in and out of stores and restaurants that look like they were shipped from Bavaria. You can see from the picture above why the ski-resort association was not totally improbable. It is summer down here, folks! It snowed on us!
We spent most of our last day on Cape Horn sightseeing by catamaran, bus and train. First, we visited Les Eclaireurs, an area of the Beagle Channel named by a Frenchman.
From a distance, the rock outcroppings looked overrun by penguins.
To the disappointment of (and even denial by) some of the viewers, however, they turned out to be albatrosses and a few random sea gulls.
The birds shared the beach with sea lions, which threw around their weight much like the big cats themselves.
The albatrosses also shared the skies with all manner of other birdlife, which did their best to fly close enough to Louis’s lenses for beauty shots like this one.
Casting Off the Continent
From the catamaran, we transferred to “the train to the end of the world,” a refurbed steam-locomotive train from the days when Ushuaia was mostly a prison colony. Prisoners cut the trees to lay the tracks to carry the train they rode back and forth from their cells to the forest, where they logged. We are suckers for trains. How could we miss one “to the end of the world”?
And then it was it all aboard and out to sea, infinitely grateful we were not sailing these waters in ships like the one Ferdinand Magellan sailed his namesake straits in. We explored this replica of the only one of Magellan’s five ships that made it around the world while we were in Puntas Arenas, Chile.
Insignia, it was not.
But for all the remoteness and wildness of the region, are not alone out. A few tens of thousands of cruisers travel to the Antarctic Peninsula during Southern Hemisphere summer, which ends in little more than a month. This was the traffic pattern on CruiseMapper today with each little wedge representing a cruise ship of some kind.
It’s a big ocean and a grand continent. There is plenty of room for all of us.
Another Question Answered
Ken (and many others, including Louis) asked this about the unnamed, overpacked item referenced in “1 Month Down, 5 to Go,” “What is the secret toiletry item you can’t discuss? Depends? Deodorant?”
To which Doris answers, “Patience!” Only time will tell whether the unnamed item was overpacked or perfectly packed. With five months to go, there is plenty of time to find out.
3 thoughts on “To the End of the World”
I especially enjoyed the image of Les Eclaireurs lighthouse with the bird’s fully extended wings.
I am loving your photos and wonderful descriptions, and forwarding them all to our Natalie. Ok, I had forgotten about the secret toiletry but now ready to cast a guess. Thinking top to bottom I stopped at the top, wondering about hair salons onboard and how they work. Also wondering if your unknown item is indicative of whether you will be a redhead when you leave the ship in five months. The picture you sent of the two of you on deck , in the cold and wind, looking ecstatic said it all. So happy for you.
That is what is so fascinating of the Cruise Mapper; to see all those (cruise) ships world wide.
Thank you for the wonderful photo’s and looking forward to Unprepared for Antartica!
By the way, what happened at the end of the world?