Still On the High Seas: Tierra del Fuego and the Drake Passage

Greetings and salutations from the beautiful Crystal Symphony. Thought I’d say “hello” and tell you a little bit about what’s in store for us over the next few days.

Before I do, however, here are a few pix from the past couple of days:

AAC - 1st formal night
AAC CPA on our 1st formal night

Family Negronis
Family Negronis in Palm Court (the 4th glass is MINE!)

Formal Shoes
Formal shoes on formal night

At Home Negronis
Our butler, Raja, delivers yummies to us each evening; I make the Negronis

Boys
Pre-dinner entertainment: The Virginia Gentlemen from UVA

Captains Invite
Look where we’re going tonight before dinner

It’s our 3rd consecutive day at sea – a very lazy afternoon – and tomorrow we arrive at our first port: Ushuaia, which will be our portal to Tierra del Fuego which, in Spanish, means “Land of Fire”. It was named by Ferdinand Magellan who, when passing by in 1520, saw a number of fires burning on the coastline.

Tierra del Fuego Pic - 01

Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago at the southern most tip of South America, including Cape Horn, and is divided between Chile on the east and Argentina on the west, but the entirety is governed by the latter country.

The earliest known civilization dates back to 8,000 BC.

Our excursion on Sunday morning will take us from the port town of Ushuaia to Tierra del Fuego National Park, about 10 miles away. This enormous park – measuring over 155,600 acres – has one of the most beautiful cold forests in the world. As we are at the southern-most tip of South America, we can expect to see many areas of the forest blanketed with snow.

We will also witness and admire the flora and fauna of extreme south Patagonia.

Part of our excursion will take us to Roca Lake, from where we will be able to see Condor Hill, the natural border with Chile.

Lapataia Bay, considered one of the most stunning sights on the island, will be included in our itinerary.

Throughout our journey, it would not be unusual to see wildlife.

We are advised to wear layered clothing, as the daytime temperature will be in the mid to high 40s.

When we depart Ushuaia on Sunday evening, our real adventure will begin: crossing the notorious Drake Passage on our way to Antarctica. I used that adjective intentionally, as you never know what you’re going to get whilst in the passage. It can be relatively calm, or you can be in for one heck of a ride.

Drake - Map

Apparently, we can expect one of two things: “the Drake Lake” or “the Drake Shake”. Which would you prefer?

Drake - 02
The Drake Lake?

Drake - 03
Or the Drake Shake?

(We have friends, traveling on an expedition vessel, who attempted to cross the passage 3 times, but we unable to complete the journey to Antarctica and were turned back because of the rough waters.)

We’re pretty good sailors – don’t generally get seasick nor miss meals – but can admit to being a bit intimidated by crossing the passage not once, but twice over the next few days.

So why all the hubbub? Apparently, this body of water marks the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans. The potential (probable?) turbulence is attributed to the passage’s geographic position between the cool conditions of the southernmost part of South America and the frigid regions of Antarctica. Another contributory factor is due to the volume of water traveling through the passage, about 600 times the flow of the Amazon River!!

Anyway, it’s going to be a once (twice, actually) in a lifetime experience regardless of what happens.

Don’t forget that, due to our position, we may lose Internet reception for a few days, particularly once we enter the Drake Passage and throughout our visit to Antarctica.

Don’t worry – we’ll be just fine, and I’ll report back to you once we’re back in range.

 

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