Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The City at the End of the World (Nov. 8)

Tonight I'm writing from our new home on board the National Geographic Explorer. We embarked ship this afternoon and are now on our way the Falkland Islands.
This morning we rose early to say our goodbyes to Buenos Aires. Greg and I agree that it's a very interesting city and that one day simply can't do it justice. We then got on a plane and flew South (I'm sure you're sensing the theme here).

After four hours, we landed at the city at the end of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina. As I left the airport, I was immediately reminded of Alaska by the sharp peaks with a dusting of snow above the sea. We then drove through Tierra del Fuego National Park to Lamanaia Bay, which is the official southern end of the Pan-American highway. Greg and I had visited the northern end at the Arctic Ocean in Deadhorse, Alaska in 2008. I couldn't help but be struck by how different this was. At the Arctic Ocean, it was the culmination of a very long journey. We were in the wilderness, and we were well aware how small we were. Here, we had just gotten off of a plane and been in a city of over 10 million people. It seemed strange and actually a lot like cheating that we had gotten there so easily.

We then took a catamaran ride and saw some interesting wildlife. Today's South American sea lions will be the only ones of our trip. They don't like the cold seas further south. I also saw a few birds which I'm sure would only interest me, so I won't bore you with the details.

The good news is that this is only the beginning of this journey. We have many incredible places yet to visit, and the Explorer seems like the perfect ship to take us there. I can't even begin to tell you how well equipped it is for this kind of expedition. It's ice reinforced, stabilized and has more technology aboard than most state of the art airliners. I'll have more on the ship tomorrow as it is a day at sea on our way to the Falklands.

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