Along the Beagle Channel - Day 443
Our afternoon was spent along the Beagle Channel. Six hours! Could I keep my eyes open? Well, the sea lions didn't!
After a lazy morning in our lovely, modern and clean Airbnb, with a glacier in the background, we walked down to town for lunch and then onto our trip on a catamaran. When we booked this 6 hours trip, I was amazed that it started at 3:30pm, but of course, the sun doesn’t set until 9:30pm here in Ushuaia.
The trip took us down the Beagle Channel, the strait in Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, named after HMS Beagle that was captained by a young Robert FitzRoy when he sailed here in 1833.
Thousands of years ago this whole area was 1,200m deep in ice, with just the jagged tops of the Martial Mountains range poking out. Now, this 150 miles long channel divides the bottom parts of Argentina and Chile by the width of 5km with Chilean Isla Navarino on the south and The Grand Isle of Terra del Fuego on the north. Part of the wonderful thing of travelling is my geography is significantly improving; I didn’t realise that Terra del Fuego was an island, with Argentina owning 38.6% and the remaining 61.4% on the west side owned by Chile.
Anyhow, getting back to our trip, we had four stops, first to see a tiny island covered with cormorants, the next island with some adorable (from a distance) “bear” seals, on to the Les Eclaireurs lighthouse. This is an archetypal red and white striped lighthouse which was built in 1920 and now controlled remotely with its electricity supplied by solar-panels (oh, the benefits of the 21st century). On the side of this small island was a cluster of sea lions but they were all having an afternoon nap, something we were longing to do. I’m not sure if it’s the oxygen level here, but both Tim and I feel exhausted by the late afternoon as if we are drugged!
Our last island was to see a colony of Magellan and Gentoo penguins on Martillo Island. Oh, they are such comical creatures. Among the crowd of penguins standing around or lying on their bellies, full of anchovies, were three Gentoo penguins with their bright orange beaks and feet, chasing one another. They really looked as if they were having such fun, and being 1 of three girls, reminded me of my two sisters and me, not that we go chasing one another around these days! We stayed watching these wonderful birds for some time and heard how they spend most of the year at sea, coming back to land just for mating and breeding.
Eventually, we got back to our Airbnb after picking up some food for dinner, but after laying on the bed for a short rest, we remained there until the morning. Phew, it’s tiring being a #grownuptraveller!