Waking up on the Friday at my mum’s house in Edinburgh I still didn’t quite believe that I would soon be starting my long journey to reach Ushuaia, Argentina where a boat would take our group to the Antarctic Peninsula. A short flight from Edinburgh brought us to Heathrow for 8pm where we made haste to terminal C to board our next flight at 9:15pm. A 13-hour flight to Buenos Aires gives you a lot of time to get to know the people you’re going to be sharing a ship with, or at least it would if, unlike me, you don’t sleep for any part of the flight that isn’t take-off or landing!
Picture 1 – signs (to be added at a later date)
The bus ride into Buenos Aires gave ample time to soak in the sights of a city that’s far removed from the three streets of St Andrews I’ve grown used to. The hotel’s location meant I was never further than a five-minute walk to a restaurant, shop, or bar and I had a good explore around the few surrounding blocks. I had lunch at a restaurant that prized themselves on their ‘Milanese’ which appeared to be pounded down meat or chicken covered in breadcrumbs and fried. This is a food item I’ve seen here in Ushuaia as well, so I assume it’s quite a common meal here in Argentina and I can highly recommend it.
Picture 2 – group photo (to be added at a later date)
The next morning, we took a much smaller plane than the one that took us over the Atlantic and arrived in Ushuaia, the end of the world. After checking into the hotel, we had the chance to explore Ushuaia and see what it had to offer. The guide on the way in from the airport mentioned that over 60% the population is under 25 and this is evident in the shops that make up the city’s main street. There are plenty of modern clothing stores, sporting goods stores, cafes, and souvenir shops that displayed the city’s past as a prison colony.
Picture 3 – house front prisoners (to be added at a later date)
This being a biological expedition I did have a look at the local wildlife, especially around the harbour area. The Southern Giant Petrels were very abundant around the pier and their sheer size took me by surprise! I also got to practice my Ornithological photography on lapwings, Dolphin gulls (Picture 4), and a Chimango Caracara which must be the cutest raptor I’ve ever seen.
Picture 4 – dolphin gulls (to be added at a later date)
Two days of travel may seem quite rough but so far it has been well worth it.
written by Ryan Teague