Antarctic Cruise – Day 5

Seals on rocks

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia refers to itself as “fin del mundo,” the end of the world. It is currently the southernmost city on the globe. It may be in a remote area, but today it was very busy with four cruise ships in port on route to Antarctica.

Even in the height of summer, the city is surrounded by snow capped mountains.

I never got into the city, instead opting for a catamaran cruise to see a penguin rookery and local bird rookeries.

The weather was better than I could have imagined. Full sun, relatively warm (about 45), with little wind.

Within minutes of leaving port we pulled up to a small island populated by hundreds of cormorants. A few elephant seals also make the tiny patch of land home.

I was fascinated that populations of birds select certain islands and leave other identical looking islands (at least to my eye) abandoned. I would have lived to have a naturalist on board to explain this phenomenon.

We saw islands of grown arctic male seals and others with females and their young.

Then we arrived at the penguin island. I took so many photos it was silly. The photos are all of Magellan penguins. We’re hoping to see gentoos and king penguins when we get to Antarctica.

We also got a bonus — two humpback whales skimming just below the surface of the water. Looking carefully I saw a fin emerge several times and watched one spout. The guide said it is very unusual to see them.

Even when not spotting fauna, the landscape was gorgeous.

Tonight we depart for Antarctica, making our way through the Drake passage. It is reputed to be the roughest part of the trip. Wish me luck.