Like I said previously, I joined two boat trips today. My roommate in the hostel showed me photos of the lighthouse boat trip that she went on so I decided to go.
I wanted to visit the ‘H’ Island as well. The guy who tried to sell me yesterday told me about that island and it sounded very attractive. They limited the number of visitors to that island to 10 in one trip.
I booked the H island tour before I got on the cruise to the lighthouse. I didn’t know that I had to pay 10 peso tax for crossing the harbour. The boat if I remember correctly was even bigger than the one I got on in Galapagos.
I sat with an American couple. They were travelling on a cruise ship run by MS expedition which also offered trips to Antarctica but I couldn’t get their good last minute deal.
Our ship went to an island where we could enjoy a panoramic view of the islands around us. There was an old house on the island. There were a stove, an oven, some empty water bottles and a piece of bread on a table. The staff on the boat said people came on a boat and barbecued here for an afternoon.
Then we went to an island to see Southern Seals and birds. The American couple said this area was very much like Alaska. I wanted to go to Alaska now. 🙂 And Hawaii too. The marine life was like that in Hawaii, they said. I don’t know. They were from Colorado.
The boat cruised to the lighthouse. The guide told us the lighthouse was not really a lighthouse. The colours red and white were actually international marine code indicating the depth of the water. This one meant it was shallow starting from the west so big ships were not allowed to pass. The name of this lighthouse was in French because this place was discovered by the French.
After I finished this boat trip in the morning, I went to pay for my H island tour and then to buy the bus ticket to Punta Arenas. The travel agency said there was no bus so she asked me to go to another agency to get the bus ticket as a connection. I went to the other one. No availability. And then that bus company asked me to go to another company to check. So I did. Nothing either. I went back to the first agency. The girl who was in charge of my case was off duty so her colleague took care of my case. I told her my situation. She looked it up on the network and found one direct bus from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas. ‘Huh? why did your other colleague asked me to run around to other agencies?’ She apologized. Anyway, I got my ticket in the end.
I quickly went back to the hostel and made my lunch. I got coupons from the tour companies. I enjoyed two very nice hot chocolate from two different shops and there was a coupon for free beer. I decided to eat there and have the beer that night.
I cooked my last portion of the spaghetti and the mixed veggies. Some people from the hostel offered me their pasta with tomato sauce (leftovers). I was happy because I didn’t have any sauce left.
I then rushed to the pier for the H Island tour.
It was worth it.
There were only 5 of us which was good. The guide Mariano explained where we would sail, the route. It was a sailing boat not a cruise. That made it different and not so touristy. He showed us the map of Ushuaia. He explained why the place was called Ushuaia. The H island was even more south than the lighthouse.
The weather was getting worse. It was cloudy. I didn’t want it to rain so I prayed that it would be sunny when we arrived at the island.
The sailing boat went to the island where I saw Southern Seals and birds this morning. Oh, well. But this time, I was more excited. I guess it was because of the small group of people that we had on the sailing boat.
It was a long route. The wind was strong and it was freezing cold. I was sitting beside a lady from Buenos Aires. She wasn’t used to the cold either (I remember the family that I stayed at near Buenos Aires told me I might not like the down south because it was too cold. I guess people living in the northern part of Argentina really didn’t like the cold). A Canadian lady felt really good. She thought the weather in Ushuaia was ‘mild’ because she was from Alberta. The temperature could range from 35C to -40C. She grew up there so she was used to it and she felt cozy on the sailing boat.
I was so cold that I started singing, ‘I am sailing. I am sailing’ The other 4 laughed. 🙂
We arrived at ‘H’ Island.
The weather was getting better when we were there.
Mariano gave us a lot of information about different plants. One of them was Calafate. I tried it with the tour yesterday. But I didn’t mind trying it again. I spat the seeds out to the ground. That’s what Mariano told me to do because that would help spread the seeds. The place El Calafate was named after this plant. That’s what he said. He also introduced some other plants to us and he could even tell whether the plant was male or female. Some plants spread their pollens using wind or by attaching themselves to the clothes of travellers etc. I learnt all these at school but it was still good to listen to it again.
He showed us a place where the yamanas hid themselves when there was strong wind. And he also showed us some bones of sea animals and explained to us what the yamanas ate. I was interested in the yamanas but it was too late. It was my last day here. There was a good museum in Ushuaia but I didn’t know about it until today. So I had no chance to learn more about them.
Mariano showed us some seaweed. He rubbed it and then the gelatine came out. He said it looked like snot. And that inspired me so I made a video if myself sneezing with the gelatine in my hands. 😀
We then went to the H shape part. It was low tide so we saw the H letter. There were ducks there. The water was very clear.
I liked this tour. It was fun.
When we were approaching the shore, he let us control the sail. It was fun. He said it was just like driving a car. I didn’t want to tell him that I hadn’t got a driver’s license. 😀 (I got it after this trip in the same year.)
We went back to the shore. I was happy. The rest of us were happy too. The Canadian lady went to the souvenir shop to redeem the free gift with me. She gave me her coupon because I left mine at the hostel. The free gift was a printed hand drawn map of Ushuaia. Then, we went to the Irish bar to redeem the free beer. The other passengers joined us at 10pm. But my cold was getting worse at night so I had to leave.
P.S. I carefully took the map back home. I moved a few times after I came back from this trip but I kept it safely. After I moved back to my parents’ place, I stuck it on the door of my wardrobe because I hated the look of that door. While I was out working one day, my mother asked some handymen to fix the door of my wardrobe (without my prior permission). They threw away that door and replaced it with a new one. My mother of course didn’t take off the map. So the map and the door went to trash. I came home that night. I was so tired that I didn’t notice it. The next day, I remembered but it was too late. I was really mad. It wasn’t the first time she threw away my stuff without asking me. To date, I still don’t understand why she asked the handymen to come while I was out. It was my bedroom and my wardrobe. If I wanted to do any changes to it, I should be present. I don’t know if I can still find that map even if I go back to Ushuaia. If anyone of you has it or if the souvenir shop sees this post, please contact me. I’d love to have a copy of that map. 🙁
30 January 2013
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