Before I dive into my experience in Ushuaia, I have to tell you about what it took to get there. Travelling in a foreign country can often be frustrating, or even disastrous, but these elements all add to the overall experience.
I arrive at the Iguaçu airport at 5am with plenty of time before my 7am flight. As I wait for the boarding call, I hear the first delay announcement over the intercom. And then they announce a second delay. And then another. Every thirty minutes they inform us of a new delay until I find myself still at the airport three hours after my originally scheduled flight time.
Besides causing me frustration, this creates issues for my connecting flight in Buenos Aires that would ultimately take me to Ushuaia where I had planned to cast off to Antarctica the next morning.
My flight out of Iguaçu finally departs, and I arrive in Buenos Aires where I have 20 minutes to make my connection in an airport that is in utter chaos. I watch as people jump over counters trying to get their tickets.
As I make it through security, I look at the screen to find my flight and it starts blinking. Every flight that is on-time suddenly goes to cancelled or delayed, and a bit of panic starts to set in. I am in a foreign country where I do not speak the language, and I am late to meet my dad to cast off to Antarctica. I know that this is one of my final trips with him, and I cannot fathom how disappointed I will be if I miss that boat.
I start running from airline employee to airline employee trying to figure out what to do, when all of sudden, I bump into my dad? Our flights weren't scheduled anytime near each other, and yet, crazier things have happened while travelling so I chalk it up to good fortune. Four hours later, we board a plane together and finally arrive in Ushuaia.
This is what travelling is all about. It is a bad situation to be in, but these situations are the ones that show you your resolve. Do you panic and give up? How do you adjust? How do you solve this problem?
This helps develop you as a person, and continuously keeps you out of your comfort zone.
Welcome to the southernmost city in the world. It is December and summer in the southern hemisphere, but it is cold in this town. The temperature is a stark reminder of how close you are to the edge of the world.
The town of Ushuaia itself is quaint. There is a town center that includes most of the town's shops and restaurants. These businesses generally cater to tourists, but the items to see are surrounding the harbor. You can do day trips here to the Glacier and to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park if you are there for a couple of days.
The bay itself and the surrounding mountains are what make Ushuaia mysterious. The Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel essentially blind the town so that it appears tucked away from civilization.
Without tourism, this town would not have many other options for its residents to make a living. It is the cast off point for most vessels to Antarctica, but it was originally used by British settlers, and later became an ad hoc prison center for extremely dangerous criminals from Buenos Aires.
- Make sure you leave enough time between travel transitions. Travel never follows the exact itinerary you will initially start with. You will need to be able to manage the bumps along the road
Photography Gear Recommended
- 24-70mm lens
- 70-200 lens
The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition works on a wide range of antarctic environmental issues that can roughly be divided into three categories: environmental protection, wildlife conservation, and governance. Their current three high-priority focus areas are preservation of the Ross Sea, krill conservation, and climate change.
They focus on the Ross Sea as it is one of the last remaining stretches on earth that has not been harmed by human activity. This place can help lead scientists to understand how our oceans worked prior to human interaction, and can give us clues on how to get these bodies of water back to where they once were.
Krill are a high-priority focus as they prop up a large portion of the sea food chain. The demand for krill has increased drastically in the last couple of decades to make feed for farmed fish, nutritional supplements, and other products. This increase in demand has started to put pressure on the population and if not checked, will start harming everything that depends on krill as a food source.
Their final focus is, of course, climate change. The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas on Earth, and the Coalition is working to track and predict fluctuations in sea ice cover across the continent. As the world continues to warms and the sea ice reacts, the world is going to look significantly different in a century. Wars over resources, destruction of species, and countries like Maldives will cease to exist as they will be swallowed by the rising oceans.