In the morning some of us went down to the harbor for a boat cruise in the Beagle Channel. The cruise lasted approx. 4-5 hours and took us to some islands with marine life and to the lighthouse of Ushuaia.
After boarding we enjoyed a complimentary coffee or tea and I had an apple pie with it. As the boat started to move we had a beautiful view at Ushuaia and the mountains in the background. Ushuaia is really a scenic spot but also very far away from any kind of big city and modern life. Quite a number of people living in Ushuaia are actually not from the area but came here for business. You can see this in the cities architecture since there is a large variety of different house styles.
The first stops of our cruise were some small islands covered with cormorants and sea lions. From a distance cormorants look very much like penguins and since I’m not an expert in marine life they could have easily sold me the cormorants as penguin colony. Sometimes there were so many of them that it was hard to see the island underneath their feet. I would probably go crazy if I would need to spend my life on such a small island with hundreds of other people around me. Probably these birds are much more social than I am.
Next was another small island with Ushuaia’s lighthouse on it. It looks very cute and probably due to modern technology it’s not really used anymore and kept as tourist attraction. From here it was a 1.5 hour ride to another island which is home to a colony of the Magellanic Penguins. I saw many of this type of penguins before why I wasn’t too excited. What I really want to see are King Penguins because they can get quite large and have an interesting yellow color on their head and neck. I would like to stand right next to a colony of them and feel overwhelmed by their size and beauty. But I learned for seeing them I better travel to sub-antarctic islands such as South Georgia which is mostly included in trips to Antarctica.
When we were back from the boat cruise, my fellow travelers Jurie from Japan, Sue-Ann from Australia and I went for lunch in town. Afterwards we took a taxi to the aeronautics club of Ushuaia who offers light plane flights over the Beagle Channel. It was really a small plane with only four seats, one for the captain and three for us ladies. The flight took half an hour and had a fair price of 80 USD. We had wonderful views of the channel, the mountains and the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Our captain was briefly explaining the area to us and pointed out specific points of interest such as the passage which the smaller boats to Antarctica are taking.
Back in town we ran into a special exhibition regarding the Falklands War in 1982. Tomorrow will be its 30th anniversary and the Argentine president will come to Ushuaia. The Falkland Islands are actually British Oversea Territory but Argentina is still claiming them. Especially in the Tierra del Fuego you can find many signs stating “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (“The Malvinas are Argentine”). Also British travelers sometimes notice they are not really welcome in this part of the world. Some immigration officers stamp their passport in the middle of the page to use as much space as possible which they don’t do with passports of other nationalities or people approach them saying “Go Home”.
On the way back to the hostel I saw a stand selling Frankfurt type of sausages. As a German I simply needed to try them. They were kind of small, had an interesting fatty taste and were covered with spicy salad. Not really a delight.
Last but not least it was April Fools’ Day and I was playing jokes with some of my fellow travelers. At breakfast I made some of them believe I heard from people, trying yesterday to go on the same boat cruise as we were planning, the engine of the boat blew up and the cruise got cancelled, same as ours today. I told others they will need to leave our truck in Santiago and continue to travel with another truck which is less comfortable than ours. Funnily, with the exception of one guy, everybody believed my jokes.