Glacier Bay and Ushuaia

Glacier Bay and Ushuaia cloudy 50


During the morning we cruised the Avenue of the Glaciers. This transit is west to east along the Beagle Channel named after the Magellan’s ship, which had sad eyes, and long droopy, but I digress. These rivers of ice don’t have the majesty of the glacial cliffs calving in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, but they’re impressive in their own way. It took close to two hours to pass the glaciers, which were on the ship’s port side; the same side as my cabin. What a treat! I snapped shots of glaciers and stayed warm.

A word about the duty free port of Ushuaia.

Ushuaia, Argentina’s fastest growing city with a population of 60,000, calls itself the world’s southernmost city. Across the channel is the Chilean town of
Puerto Williams which is actually further to the south. “We are the world’s southernmost city.” they claim. “Not quite” is the Ushuaia rejoinder, “You’re but a town.” The government of Puerto Williams countered this retort by giving incentives to convince people to settle there. So far, they are up to 3000, but not yet “a city”. img_1966.JPG


I am not sure what Ushuaia will offer because as we approached the pier, the ship’s Port and Tour information channel was showing all the different tours available — in Punta Arenas!


I took the Beagle Channel Wildlife Cruise and Ride. Our four hour tour started at 3 PM, half hour after we docked. The ride was by bus to a National Park, with a couple of photo stops. The wildlife on this part of the tour included a local bird, the Chimanga, and rabbits, hundreds of rabbits. The foxes and eagles in this area must be terribly overweight. There were so many rabbits at one stop, the ground cover was hardened pellets…..and I do mean cover. We also saw beaver dams. Someone, years ago, introduced a pair of beavers, and today there are twice as many beavers as people. Apparently they’ve been watching the rabbits.


After a coffee house stop in the parks camping area, we were taken to a pier to await a catamaran. We stood in the cold with the air blowing off the water for 45 minutes. The catamaran finally arrived and took us past isolated islands; one jammed with terns, the next equally cormorant crowded, then more cormorants but sharing territory with seals. A highlight of the trip for me was a woman who said I looked like Henry Fonda. I shied away from asking her, “At what stage of his life?”



The ship was scheduled to sail at 8 PM; we debarked the catamaran at 8:30. As I left the catamaran and approached Mariner, I saw a man in uniform next to a long narrow building that paralleled the pier. I nodded hello, and he said something in Spanish. When I reached the end of the building, still plodding towards the ship, another official was waiting and agitated. I realized that this was port security and I had dodged the procedure. The nervous sentry kept motioning for me to “go around”. I figured he wanted me to go back to the entrance and through the building. Next to me was a 4 foot ramp from the structure’s exit to the dock. I nodded OK, and went around….to the top of the ramp and then down, and on my way. The guard said something in Spanish and smiled.


On Mariner, you can eat in your cabin and order from the Compass Rose menu. I did just that and was asleep by 10.


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