February 3, 2012 – Ushuaia, Argentina
This map is interesting from a couple of aspects. First, it proves that the iPhone GPS works no matter where you are, and that by emailing it myself I can move something from the iPhone to the PC without the cable.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly it helped to educate me and correct some of my misunderstandings on the geography and history of this area. I had always assumed that Cape Horn, and the Straits of Magellan and the Drake Passage were all pretty much the same thing – going around the tip of South America. Oh not so, geographically challenged one! If you look on the map above, near the top, you will notice a continuous water passage from the Atlantic, past Punta Arenas, and exiting on the west, near the middle, proceeding to the Pacific. This is the Strait of Magellan, discovered in 1520 by Magellan, a Portuguese sailing on behalf of the Spanish, on the first circumnavigation of the earth. He assumed that there was another continent to the south of his strait, and for many years this assumption held up. Depending on whom you believe Cape Horn was either discovered by a Dutchman, Le Maire on an attempt to find an alternate trade route to the Spice Islands, or in 1578, by Sir Francis Drake. Cape Horn, is shown on the above map as the southernmost of the little islands, it is not as most assume the horn shaped land further north and east. There is no argument that Cape Horn was named after the Dutch city of Hoorn and the Ship of the same name.
Ushuaia, Argentina lies on the Beagle channel (another transoceanic route) and was a frequent stop over point for ships making the difficult transit between the oceans. The community boomed during the 1800s and early 1900s until the Panama Canal was opened greatly reducing ship traffic in this area and destroying their economy. Ushuaia is a community of about 60,000 people.
We first took a catamaran boat ride to see some wildlife: South American Sea Lions and South American Cormorants.
Note that this sign lays out Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands, which they refer to as The Malvinas, and claim the British have illegally occupied them since 1833. You won’t find anyone in the Falklands who agrees with this!
John at the end of the world Ushuaia Lighthouse with Andes Mountains
We walked into town for a little shopping and then headed back on board.