I feel like I shouldn't have a separate link for Argentina but everyone that I talked to has a definition as to whether or not one has visited a country. They are as follows:
  1. You must have your passport stamped by that countries customs agent.
  2. You must be there at least 24 hours.
  3. You must actually leave the airport and do some sight seeing.

Check out the map as to where I went on this trip! As you can see I first visited Santiago and Punta Arenas, then the cruise to Ushuaia Argentina and back to Santiago and on to Easter Island, what a trip! A few years later I went to Buenos Aries and Uruquay and also Peru and Brazil!

On April 6th, 1999 - Wednesday, we docked in Argentina at the remote city of Ushuaia. As we sailed into Ushuaia the view of the mountains was breathtaking!  Clouds were generated from the wind hitting the tops of the mountains and almost looked like volcanoes spewing out smoke!


 Ushuaia Mountains !



 Ushuaia Mountains !


As we left the ship we had to leave our passports on the ship and when we returned and just before departure, the customs agent from Argentina would check our faces against the passport picture to ensure the same people got back on that had gotten off! Ushuaia has a population of about 45,000 people and has had some manufacturing of computer chips move into the area. They are on a building spree and many new houses are being build in the range of $200,000.00! The main shopping area is about four square blocks but the city spreads out over many miles. Chile and Argentina have a quarrel as to which has the farthest south city. Puenta Arenas says it is the farthest south city as it has over 100,000 people, not 45,000! Nationalism runs high here, several years ago Chile and Argentina almost went to war over three islands that are barren lumps of land and are worthless. They had to have the Pope come and decide who's islands they were. The Pope decided they were Chiles so Argentina built a huge cross and placed it on a hill to thank the Pope for giving the islands to Chile, go figure!



We decided to take the tour of the Pargue National Tierra del Fuego of the Argentina Republic and this picture proves I was there!


Tierra del Fuego Sign

Alaska is over 17,000 kilometers away!


We left by bus for a 30 minute ride to the park and boarded a small gage train which took us up over a mountain and let us view a valley where varying types of huts had been reconstructed that the natives used to use.


Small Train!

Small Gage Train originally used to transport prisoners!
Small Train!

Over Looking the Valley.


We then boarded the bus again and began a two hour drive through the beautiful park with many beautiful vistas. They mostly have beech trees and one type keeps it's leaves on the entire winter which was surprising, you would expect the leaves to fall off but they are very hardy! Since it was the beginning of Autumn, the seasons are revered from the Northern regions, The trees were turning a beautiful red color which seems to be the most prominent color there.


 Vistas of Park!


Vistas of Tierra del Fuego Park - Argentina!


The guide pointed out one mountain and said that the top half was Chilean and the bottom half was Argentina! Then she got mad because the sun was shining on the Chilean portion of the mountains and not Argentine's side. We asked her if that wasn't carrying things a little too far but she ignored us.


Autumn Trees!


Autumn leaves!


We also learned that the government thought the introduction of beaver would be a good thing even though the fur trade had dropped. Of course there are no predators so the population exploded and now there are more beavers than people. They are ruining the forest and there are dead trees every where. Then the government decided to import rabbits that bred like wild fire and ate everything in sight. So the government imported the gray fox which doesn't like the same range as the rabbits. So the gray fox is killing off the indigenous smaller red fox. They also introduced some type of disease (anthrax) to kill the rabbits but that caused environmental harm so things are a mess and the rabbits are busy again doing their thing! I asked our guide if the government ever thought any of these things out. She just said that is the way things are done in Argentina.

We then went for an Argentina Barbecue which was held in the most beautiful restaurant like something from Switzerland with a beautiful view of the mountains and alpine flowers outside the windows. We sat by a big fireplace and ate, talked, and enjoyed the view.


Barbecue!


Argentina Barbecue - Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Salad!


Next to the harbor and a catamaran ride through the bay. We boarded the catamaran and left for a two hour cruise of the bay to see seals, cormorants, and a 'light house'. It was cold and windy and it felt like the San Francisco Bay. This was rather a disappointment as there are more seals in down town San Francisco at Pier 39 than there was on the one rock we visited. The light house was in actuality, about 30 feet high with a little light and an electronic beeper on it so that was really a disappointment. People were snapping pictures like there was no tomorrow which seemed rather strange. I did take one photo up close so the lighthouse looked very tall but that isn't the truth. So after a cold and somewhat disappointing cruise, it was back to the dock.


Seals! Seals!


Small colony of seals in the Ushuaia harbor and the Light House!


We took a quick walk around downtown Ushuaia and then back to the boat to have our passport pictures ID by the Argentine official and a very welcomed hot dinner.

New passengers are picked up here for their short two day tour and we were off again for the second part of the Tierra del Fuego cruise, and more glaciers, penguin(s) hopefully, and adventures on the high seas!


Sailing out of Ushuaia!


M/V Australis sailing out of port!
Seals!


Sailing to the next glacier as described in the Chile link!


Back to Chile and a stop at the Pinquinos Park!


Pinquinos Park!


Los Pinquinos Park Sign and Me!



Overview of Penguins

Pronunciation: 'pen-gw&n, 'pe[ng]-

Function: noun

Etymology: obsolete English penguin great auk, perhaps from Welsh pen gwyn white head (applied to the bird in winter plumage)

Date: 1588: any of various erect short-legged flightless aquatic birds (family Spheniscidae) of the southern hemisphere


Read on to see how to traumatize a penguin - after the picture.


Lonely 'Traumatized' Penguin!


One lonely penguin - 200 Tourists!

W e were told there were 180,000 penguins on the island and of course we had visions of having our picture taken surrounded by thousands of them. As we got closer to the island our guide said that three weeks ago there were 80,000 as they had started to migrate toward Peru and warmer waters. Then they said one week ago there were 40,000, still a reasonable number to take pictures of. Then we heard that another captain of a ship had called our captain and indicated that the last of the penguins were poised on the rocky coast to swim away for the winter season and we had better hurry. Well we got to the island and there was over 180,000 holes in the ground where they nest and maybe 500 penguins over the entire island. So every 400th hole might have one peeping out of it! About fourteen of us were standing at the cliffs and one of the crew crossed into the field which is a no, no but we didn't say anything. He got a penguin, young but just about ready to migrate, out of the nest and started him toward us. He walked down the cliff to the water, hopped on a rock and didn't look happy. He jumped in and the cold water hit his feet and he hopped back on the rock and looked up at his nest. So up the cliff, he was very fat, and to his nest. All fourteen of us chased him with our cameras. As he ran by me I took this picture! I stood there and had to laugh as the rest of the group ran after him. He ran for over a quarter of a mile along the pathway with people in hot pursuit. Ian had his video camera and later I asked if he got good shots of the penguin and he had to laugh as he couldn't run and keep the penguin in the viewer! Finally the poor thing ran off into the middle of the island and into a hole. One woman laughed and said "That poor penguin is traumatized for life!" So much for having thousands of penguins in our pictures!

Cruceros Australis Diploma


Diploma!


The End!


  Charles Walter Buntjer



San Francisco California
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Updated on: 2020.11.06