It’s the End of the World (and I Feel Fine)

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NOTE: The following was written in 2006 during David Kralik’s trip to Antarctica.  This is a re-print.

Greetings from Ushuaia, Argentina! The Blogger-in-Chief has graciously allowed me to veer off topic (yet again) and write a daily travel entry on the blog. Similar to last’s years travel report from Australia, where this humble blog was the first to post a blog entry in 2006, we are making yet another historic first. Today begins the first of ten blog entries on our voyage to Antarctica.

We arrived today from the Buenos Aires (EZE) aeropuerto (airport) to Ushuaia.Ushuaia is flanked on one side by the Andes Mountains. A town of about 60,000 people, it looks like something out of the TV show Northern Exposure.

It is here where the Pan-American Highway (Route #3) begins and ends (the other terminus is at Fairbanks, Alaska).
Some people have been known to ride their bikes or motorcycles for six to eight months to travel the Pan-American Highway’s entire distance. The highway ends where Tierra del Fuego National Park begins. At that spot, a sign reads, “End of the road. No more roads south.” For that reason, and because the city is the southernmost city in the world, it is often known as the “end of the world.” In Tierra del Fuego, you can visit Bay Insada Post Office where for $1, you an get your passport stamped that says, “End of the World.” I always imagined the end of the world looking different, but alas, here we are.

Ushuaia is also called the city of four seasons because one can experience all four in the same day. Currently, daylight hours are from 6 AM to 9 PM, and in another month those hours will extend from 3 AM to 11 PM.

We had another briefing when we got to our hotel, where, among other things, our $400 local payment plus an additional $250 fuel surcharge was due. Geeze. The Blogger-in-Chief was right about energy costs having a major effect on the economy…globally too!

We boarded the boat at around 3:30 PM and I put on my Transderm Scope patch (to protect against sea-sickness). The Crew aboard the M/S Explorer is amazing. Many are PhD scientists with degrees in biology, botany, geology, etc. Aboard the boat, we had an orientation to the crew followed by a safety evacuation drill. We later had dinner and proceeded to sail through the Beagle Channel and onto the Drake Passage.

Tune in tomorrow for the first full day of our voyage through the Drake Passage.

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