We flew into Ushuaia mid-day and toured around the national park. This is where I learned of the failed 1940’s experiment in which Argentina introduced Canadian beavers to the country to start a fur trade. I guess they found out 2 things; the fur was not popular and the beavers populated! In fact the guide said there are around 100,000 of them now and they are trying to find ways to control the population. With temperatures moderate temperatures all year long and no natural predators it is beaver paradise.
Then we boarded the cataraman and toured around. We stopped at a few rock outcroppings to watch the birds. We came across of group of seals sunning themselves. Now imagine the most disgusting smell you have ever had the mis-fortune to smell and that might come close to how these little stinkers smell. I was however told that a whale burp is worse. Hopefully I’ll get to see that for myself.
At 5pm we embarked on the boat. It is a lovely vessel. It is about the size I anticipated and nicer than I thought. It was totally gutted and re-done from a working ice breaker to become the expedition vessel it is now. I can really feel the boat moving but no one is sick yet. I guess we get to go start going through the drake passage tonight. The Drake Passage is known to be the roughest part of the sea. We did hear that on their last trip through it was quite smooth. Time will tell. The extended sun light is wrecking havoc with my mind. It is about 10pm now and it is bright out. I guess the sun sets at 11pm and rises at 4:30am, and the day keeps getting longer as we get closer to south pole. The room on board is nice and compact. It reminds me of what I hope Myrtle, my motor home, turns out like. All the drawers and doors latch so they don’t fly open in rough sea. The food on board is really good so far and we’ve met some super nice people.
Tomorrow the agenda reads; eating, some films and lectures, digital photography class (maybe helpful with Jason’s new 5D Mark 2 Cannon, that shoots HD movies as well!), tea time, cocktails, watching the sea go by, and the like. It is a few days travel until we start hitting land. We went through the safety drill today so I feel all prepared to evacuate on the life boats, which of course won’t happen. They run a great vessel.