Strait of Magellan-Glacier Alley

Trip Start Feb 14, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  , Tierra del Fuego,
Monday, February 27, 2012

We were up early for our arrival at Ushuaia, Argentina.  Oo-shoo-AYE ah is a Yahgan Indian word meaning "a bay proceeding eastward."  Then disbelief took hold at 7:15 AM when the captain announced that our ship as well as another one were denied entrance to the port.  Our entry was blocked by the local governor due to the ongoing dispute between England and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.  How short sighted this politician was because many tours were booked and lots of money would have been spent by the 5000+ tourists denied entry on the last day of the tourist season.  Imagine how the 80,000 people in this city at the "end of the earth" felt!  We had planned to take an enclosed catamaran tour on the Beagle Channel where we would have visited the sea lion breeding rounds and various rookeries.
Usually, the ship would reach the glaciers just as the sun was setting, making it difficult to see the beauty of the many ice fields.  The captain decided to use the day to really observe the various glaciers and to explain the different kinds.  He did a fantastic job of 360* turns in front of different glaciers so everyone could get the best view. The glacier covered mountain tops are gorgeous, but the ice fields are melting due to global warming.  The melting is quite shocking and alarming.

The weather was very cold, but the seas were unusually calm.  We sat up on deck for a while, but due to the cold we took refuge in our stateroom. Once again, thanks to our balcony we were able to periodically dash outside to take in the entire ambiance, only to return to the warmth of our stateroom.  

We spent hours observing this cold desolate area.  The views and wind and water shaped rocks were incredible.  This was an experience of a lifetime.

We played bridge in full view of the glaciers.  Wow, what a day.
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