Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finis Terre

Everywhere you walk down here in Ushuaia, you see signs saying either the subject line, or "Fin del Mundo," which mean "End of the World." We are in the southernmost city in the world, according to all the signs, although standing on the Beagle Channel, it's possible to look southeast and see a small settlement on the Chilean side of the Channel. So, who knows. I do know that it's possible to get a "Fin del Mundo" stamp in my passport in a local museum here, so while, cheesy, it's pretty cool.

We're at nearly 55 degrees south latitude, so we're further from the equator than any point in the US outside of Alaska, and nearly any major city in Canada, unless you count Yellowknife or Whitehorse. The mountains down here are gorgeous, and due to the cold year-round climate, they are covered with snow down to about 1000 feet above sea level. We got snowed on quite a bit during a hike yesterday (beats the heck out of rain!), and the temperature today has struggled to get out of the 30's, with a biting wind. Yesterday, as the front came through, the wind was blowing (not counting gusts) to nearly 40 mph, making for a pretty chilly couple of days.

One cool thing down here is the fact that because we're so far south, we're getting well over 18 hours of daylight each day. Even at midnight, it's not completely dark on the southern horizon. Certainly beats the short northern hemisphere days at this time of the year. Maybe we'll have to come down here every year...

We'll post more on our time hear later, but that's where we are. We're only about 500 miles or so from Antarctica as the crow flies, and numerous boats are getting ready to leave from here in the coming weeks. Tickets don't come cheap, of course, as the cheapest thing we've seen has been for about $4000 US per person, and these ships aren't exactly cruise ships. Maybe some other time. I'll need to get there eventually, but that will have to wait until I have a bit more money.


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