I joined Al Esther on a trip through the Francis Drake passage and out to Cape Horn. While not a trip on Wild Matilda, it was a trip I would like to make one day on my own boat. The portion of the trip from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas was on a small cruise ship. They are still making that trip with few changes 11 years later - See them Here.
I flew to Buenos Aires to join Al for a planed trip to Terra del Fuego, the Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and other areas in northern Patagonia. After a few days of getting organized, we flew to south to Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world.
The flight down from Buenos Aires is five hours heading south. You begin to appreciate just how far south Ushuaia is. We landed in the early morning and had the day to kill until we could board the ship in the early evening.
Ushuaia is a starting off point for voyages to Antarctica and other extreme south destinations. I found the town interesting but with far too many tourist shops. We boarded our ship and set off in the evening.
After an initial rainy start the weather was great. Our first stop was in a deep bay were we went ashore and climbed several 100s of feet up a hill to get a panoramic view of the region. This is one of the only places of settlement in the islands south of Ushuaia. The views were spectacular.
The next morning we approached Cape Horn. We anchored and started to disembark, however the winds prevented us from setting foot on Cape Horn itself. The winds started at 30 knots and were 70 knots by the time the captain called off the landing. It got exciting as he turned the boat beam to the wind and waves to return to the shelter of the Drake passage. We sailed in the protected waters for the remainder of the day and that night much to the relief of many of the passengers.
The following day we stopped to approach an active glacier. it was still in the process of caving and we picked up some ice for drinks when we returned to the boat.
Very early the last day we visited a penguin colony Some 30,000 jackass penguins. The smell was something else. The penguins were friendly but we did not approach them to closely.
Following our visit to the penguins, we made a short sail to Punta Arenas. We saw little of the town as we were rushing off to get our flight to Purto Montt.
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After leaving the ship in Punta Arenas, Chile, we flew north up the coast of Chile to Puerto Montt. We spent the night there and the next morning we set off on the next leg of our journey.
From Puerto Montt, Chile we took a combination of several buses and boats over the Andes to Beriloche, in Argentina. The scenery along the trip was spectacular. We passed the volcano Osorno in southern Chile. It is a near perfect cone and is still one of the most active volcano in Chile. It seemed to dominate the scenery for much of the trip.
We arrived in Beriloche in the early evening and settled into a nice inn on the shore of the lake. Beriloche looks for all the world like a village in Switzerland. This is no accident as many of the early settlers came from Germany and Switzerland. We spent several days exploring the town and the local area before having to return to Buenos Aris.
That summer, I set out north from Miami to the Chesapeake Bay. I stopped at Charleston and Beaufort along the way. Spent a lazy summer and fall on the bay before heading south with the annual migration in the fall.