As much as we longed to get ashore after almost a week on the boat, the land did not want us today. We knew the sound of the wind good enough, so I did not even have to leave my warm bed to know what was going on outside. Wind, wind, wind. We had been anchored since midnight in the bay at the Estancia Harberton, looking forward to go ashore, to explore some of the green hills of Tierra del Fuego, to walk on land again.
But there was a backdoor which served us well. Up went the anchor and we set course for Ushuaia, making the last miles of this trip on board Anne-Margaretha. Once alongside, we went to get the paperwork (immigration) done and enjoyed a cosy evening on board. Next morning, we took to rental cars for an excursion to Harberton. Cars and – to some degree – roads are available in Tierra del Fuego, we were not in Antarctica anymore, so let’s take advantage of that! And that included being able to stop wherever we felt like it during the trip out, a good 90 kilometres on the road. And there is some great landscape in Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia! Mountains, wide valleys, wetlands, wild rivers, and … trees! We had almost forgotten that trees exist, after 3 weeks at sea and in Antarctica. Amazing trees. Wind-beaten, bent double and triple, knaggy and knotty, awe-inspiring beings. Very impressive, very photogenic.
A great appetizer for a lot more of Patagonia’s amazing landscape (if you want more – we have still got some space on our Patagonia trip with Anne-Margaretha in March!
Click on thumbnail to open an enlarged version of the specific photo.
Harberton itself also turned out to be a very interesting place. Founded in 1886, it is the oldest farm in the Argentine part of Tierra del Fuego. The founder, Thomas Bridges, must have been a bit of a character. He was found as a 2-year-old on a bridge (hence the family name) in England and later became a missionary. He learnt Yamana (Yahgan), the indigeneous language of Tierra del Fuego, and wrote a dictionary (30,000 entries) and grammar without which we might not know much, if anything at all, about this lost language. Sheep farming had always been important for Harberton, but was abandoned in the mid 1990s after severe winters, so today’s inhabitants of the farm, which is still owned by Thomas Bridge’s descendants, are focussing on tourism to make a living. As a result, we could enjoy the Casa de Te (tea house) and an interesting guided tour to see the colonial-style historical buildings, remains from the times of active farming, the old, picturesque cemetery on a hill within a little forest, lichens hanging down from the trees. Blue skies, white clouds, blue water, white horses. A beautiful day.
The next day would not bring more than saying goodbye and farewell, so this was in a way the end of our great trip to Antarctica. Something that we celebrated duly in one of Ushuaia’s fine restaurants. What an adventure! Referring to the whole trip, of course, Antarctica under sails. Big thanks to those who were part of it, and thanks for reading! Travelling in the south and the blog will continue in a few weeks from now in Patagonia.