Ushuaia, Patagonia, Argentina, 3/13/2022, National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance
We returned a day early to Ushuaia to take refuge at the port before a storm arrived. The storm could have potentially delayed our port call, causing people to miss flights back to the United States. We took full advantage of the extra time in port and explored the beautiful surroundings of Ushuaia.
In the morning, we ventured out to Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. We went on a few walks through the southern beech forests, saw the post office at the end of the world, and visited the Pan-American Highway, which ends in the national park and begins all the way up in Alaska. In the afternoon, we had another excursion to the opposite end of the town, up through Garibaldi Pass, and ending with a walk down to Lake Escondido. We wrapped up the day with farewell cocktails with the Captain.
With an insatiable curiosity, Ezra has been drawn to travel the world and explore from a young age. Ezra pursued a degree in History from Colorado College, which only further piqued his interest to travel and see firsthand the places that he had read...
We woke up to a typical overcast and rainy day in Patagonia, Chile. Yet, the glacier carved fjords, Nothafagus beech forest, and waterfalls make every day in Patagonia one to cherish. We started the morning in a small bay in Seno Martinez where we took advantage of the low winds to send out the kayaks for a calm paddle in the soft rain around the bay. Hugging close to the rocks provided us the chance to inspect blue mussels, barnacles, and limpets along with the various foliage and berries hanging over the water. Those who opted for a Zodiac cruise got to explore farther afield and even ran into a few Magellanic penguins. In the afternoon we cruised out of Seno Martinez and into Seno Agostini passing one glacier after another as we transited an exceptionally beautiful part of Patagonia. Arriving to a sheltered bay, the Patagonian wind increased, and the rain continued, however we were up for anything and got dressed in our waterproofs to Zodiac cruise. We splashed through the water hunting for birds, nosing into waterfalls, and getting a view of the Hyatt Glacier in the distance.
Whether it’s traveling to the end of the road, or the end of the Earth, the idea of finis terrae captured human imagination as soon as the first humans decided to venture out beyond the campfire light to see what was beyond the valley, over the hills, across the waters and around the bend. In modern times it may be a very different experience than it was centuries ago, but the lure of Patagonia as one of those “ends” has brought us all together now. While relatively speaking it is much easier, modern travel does have its own minor complications; overnight flights, abrupt changes in weather by latitude, “hurry-up to wait” in another queue. Happily, most of us had no problems and assembled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a brief exploration of this South American megalopolis, then on to Ushuaia, the southernmost city and our jumping off point for a voyage through lands beyond our personal maps and experiences. A quick trip through the city, the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego, then a fantastic catamaran tour of Lapataia Bay, through sea lion and cormorant colonies, and amongst breaching humpback whales in the Beagle Channel, brought us back to the city pier in Ushuaia. This morning gave us time for staff introductions, safety briefings, ship orientation and a bit of time to settle into our new home, National Geographic Endurance , as we sailed westward towards the Garibaldi Fjord. By afternoon we had navigated the narrow channel past towering cliffs to the face of the Garibaldi Glacier, one of the most active glacier fronts, draining ice from the ice field perched high above in the Cordillera Darwin.