Rev Neal Reports from South America and Antarctica
Aboard the ms Rotterdam
January 24 -- February 18, 2008
Dr. Gregory S. Neal
After a lovely, calm, enjoyable crossing of the Drake Channel from Antarctica to the South American Mainland, we enjoyed an hour or so of scenic cruising by Cape Horn.
The seas were lovely and calm, so we spent more time there than we might otherwise have, before sailing on to Ushuaia, Argentina.
In Ushuaia I took a tour of the National Park and Beagle Channel tour. This highly scenic tour is worth the time and the money.
Ushuaia is the southern-most city on the planet. Or, at least, that's how they bill themselves. It is only a few hundred miles from Antarctica, and even in the middle of summer this far south on the South American Continent still has ice-capped mountains and the temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. It's impossible to imagine how beautiful this place is. The scenery is lovely, the wildlife is amazing, and the people are warm and welcoming.
The Beagle Channel is filled with low, Barren, ice-carved rocky islands which provide birds and seals a place to congregate.
The city of Ushuaia
Ushuaia huddles along the shoreline on the Huge mainland island of Tierra Del Fuego, with large ice-capped mountains towering over the town. It's a picturesque setting, as well as being inviting to those who prefer colder-weather environments.
At the end of the Beagle Channel tour our boat docked within a short walk of the lovely Rotterdam and, after 15 days aboard ship, I finally had a good view of my ship:
The Rotterdam docked at Ushuaia.
Punta Arenas, Chile:
We set sail early that afternoon and cruised through the Cockburn and Beagle Channels on our way to Punta Arenas, Chile, where I took the "Sights of Punta Arenas" tour.
Here are some views of the city ... a nice, fairly clean and quiet town of about 100,000 people.
And, of course, the obligatory stop at Magallane's Statue!