Today we flew from Buenos Aires to meet our ship in Ushuaia. For someone who is NOT a morning person (Nancy), having to get packed, dressed, and in the hotel lobby by 5am was definitely a challenge! We got on the bus to the airport, then took a charter plane to Ushuaia, a 3-hour flight. As the plane descended through the clouds to land, we saw rugged mountains, some with snow, and green valleys dotted with lakes. Absolutely breathtaking! We are in the middle of the summer in the southern hemisphere. In Ushuaia summer means temperatures in the 40s and 50s, very windy, and long days. Locals explained that the snow and glaciers have always partially melted in the summer, but in recent years there has been much more melting away and less building back up in the winter than there was in the past.
Ushuaia is in Argentina and is the southern most city in the world. And, we got a certificate to prove that! Because it is so far south, it is one of the most popular places for cruise ships to stop on their way to Antarctica. Ushuaia is also the gateway to Tierra del Fuego (the land of fire) and is part of the Patagonia region of South America (which extends into both Argentina and Chile). Patagonia is known for its steep and rugged mountains which are part of the Andes mountain range. The Andes are part of the same mountain range as the Rocky Mountains in North America. That range of mountains traverses the continents of North America and South America, then goes under water and re-surfaces in the white continent (Antarctica). This amazing mountain range was formed by tectonic plate movement.
After a brief tour of Ushuaia, we boarded the Polaris Expedition Ship for our trip south to Antarctica. To get to Antarctica we will have to sail through the infamous Drake Passage. Wish us luck!