Welcome! Thank you for joining me, Sharon K. Schafer, on my journey to one of the most remote, beautiful, and truly wild places left on our planet: The Antarctic. I am an artist and naturalist from Nevada, USA who will be photographing, sketching, and journaling my experiences in Antarctica for two weeks in November 2007.

04 November 2007

Ushuaia, Argentina

Look at a map of South America and you will find Ushuaia on the very tip of Cape Horn -- just about as far south as one can get in the world. In fact, Ushuaia touts itself as the southernmost city in the world. It’s a modern tourist town of 60,000 people that has become the major jumping off spot for Antarctic expeditions.

Ushuaia is the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra Del Fuego. Spectacular to fly into, the town is on the southern edge of the island and is wedged between the Martial Mountains on the north and the Beagle Channel on the south.

The town was originally settled by the British as a site for a penal colony. The place was remote and wild and escape impossible. These “forced colonists” built many of the town’s original old building.

Absolutely spectacular to fly into, the area is a rugged landscape of jagged snow covered peaks that drop abruptly to the Beagle channel. The plane is forced to do a gradual descending spiral over the Beagle channel then lands neatly on the runway next to the water. Looking up to the mountains you see dense dark green of the Megellanic subpolar forests where you can find endemic trees of the area: Winter's bark and hard log mayten and several species of Nothofagus.

I’m staying at Posada del Fin del Mundo (hotel at the end of the earth) a fine old world style bed and breakfast that is heavy on the friendly manner and exceptional service. Located in the residential part of town it is a welcome respite from hustle of the main tourist area.