January 01, 2018: Ushuaia, Argentina
Partly Sunny / Showers | High: 52F / 11C | Low: 40F / 4C
Sunrise 05:00 am * Sunset 10:12 pm | Evening Attire: Smart Casual
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! and good morning Ushuaia!
We were very fortunate to be able to contact Marcelo Salvini (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be our driver / guide for our short day in Ushuaia. We have read several reviews about Marcelo all over the internet and he lived up to his stellar reputation. Marcelo drove us around the National Park at our own pace and we truly felt that we were on a private tour of the area.
Our first stop – “End of the World” Train Station
Our first stop of the day was at the End of the World train station. Marcelo explained to us that the train was used to transport prisoners from the prison to areas for slave labour to build up the town of Ushuaia. Today, the train is used for a short one way ride through the National Park. We made a very short stop to view the train, the station, and used it as a quick pit stop before proceeding on our way.
Second stop – Ensenada Zaratiegui
The second stop was one of my favourites of the day. The bay of Zaratiegui offers breathtaking view of the Beagle Channel with views of the Chilean mountains in the background flanking the amazing views. We walked a short trail at this point, noting that it could be arranged with Marcelo to walk the entire trail from here to the Alakush visitor centre. If you decide that option, it is approximately 3 hours! We opted for the 15-minute version, enjoying the vistas and then continuing on our way.
Third stop – road side peat bog inspection
Marcelo made a quick road side stop for us to inspect and “feel” the Patagonian Peat Bog. He was quite right – you had to “feel” it to really experience it. It is hard to describe, other than walking on one huge sponge! it really was a cool experience and we were quite appreciative of the roadside stop.
4th stop – ad hoc road side for Magellanic Woodpeckers
5th stop – Alakush Visitor Centre
6th stop – “Trail no. 1”
Final stop – Lapataia Bay
Our awesome driver / guide had more stops planned for us, but as we lost time during Trail No. 1 – we opted to go back to the port without further ado. We highly recommend contacting Marcelo as a private driver / guide for this outstanding port of call.
Back at the pier, we viewed a few more birds before embarking the Infinity. Great photo ops for the Dolphin Gulls and Southern Giant Petrels as they hung around for scraps of food from passing tourists.
Beagle Channel & Glacier Alley
The Infinity left Ushuaia ~ 4 pm and we were treated to spectacular scenic cruising. First off, we cruised the Beagle Channel with the extraordinary backdrop of the Andes.
Glacier Alley, Chile (Beagle Channel) – Orange Pins along shore line = major glaciers
Ushuaia was a magnificent port of call, but apparently the day wasn’t quite over yet! in our Celebrity Today, it was mentioned that “scenic cruising” would begin at ~ 7:00 PM and a list of iconic glaciers were mentioned with approx. times of when we would be able to observe them. The glaciers were located on the north shore of the narrow passageway of the channel [starboard side for our trip], which coincided with the view from our balcony! Anthony and I decided to forego our usual early dinner in order to sit on our balcony, sipping on a glass of Argentinian Malbec, where we viewed some of the most beautiful scenery on earth! Dinner would have to wait 😉
Prior to the glacier slideshow of the Darwin mountain range, we were treated to spectacular scenery within the channel.
Anthony & I kept on looking at the time and compared it to the schedule within the “Today” sheet. The anticipation! we didn’t know what to expect and then it happened!
As we continued along the Beagle Channel the string of amazing tidewater glaciers that tumbled down the channel from the massive Darwin Ice Field began to present itself. This amazing stretch of breathtaking views lasted for approximately one-hour.
We observed six (6) major glacial formations in the following order: Hollanda (Holland), Italia (Italy), Francia (France), Alemania (Germany), Romanche, and Españia (Spain). Most of these glaciers were named after European countries by 19th century explorers who originally mapped the region.
One of the most gorgeous glaciers was Alemania with its amazing waterfall.