Day 1 |
Nov 25, 2011

Ushuaia, Argentina 

By Liz Bradfield, Naturalist

Weather: Partly cloudy

It was a real pleasure to stand at the shore of Ushuaia with sun on my face, the dramatic peaks rising from the town coming in and out of clouds. The dock where the Silver Explorer was tied up was a busy place, with commercial fishing boats waiting for their next trip out and day boats to the fjords all alongside.

With all guests aboard, we got going as quickly as possible. First, we oriented ourselves to the ship’s safety procedures, putting on our bulky orange lifejackets for the first and hopefully last time. Then, we cast off!

Fun as it was to watch the bustle on the pier, I think the gulls took the drama as we pulled away. A bold dolphin gull perched on the port side railing, angling its pale eye up at me on the deck above. These beautifully shaded gulls might come to seem common in the weeks ahead, but this was my first real chance to appreciate the bright red bill and feet of this opportunist.

Our propellers stirred the water by the dock, and kelp gulls dove into the roil, coming up with large krill in their beaks. Champagne in hand, we watched them busy themselves as Ushuaia faded away.

It was difficult to pull myself away from the gorgeous scenery as we made our way through the Beagle Channel. I think was surprised me most was the sandy, worn shores we occasionally passed. Lighthouse after lighthouse signaled the channel’s turns, and I gladly peered ahead into the seas to come, wondering what they might bring.