Friday, December 10, 2010

Argentina, The Beagle Canal



SAM 055 It's 2:45pm and a small group is gathering just outside of el Puerto Ushuaia.




Soon there is about fourteen of us signing documents outside of Navegacion Canal Beagle clearing the way for us to begin an afternoon boat tour.


CAN 121 There are numerous boat tour operators at Puerto Ushuaia but Navegacion carries a maximum of 12 passengers per boat.





CAN 116 There are 14 of us this afternoon so two boats will be used.

I end up on a boat with only 4 other passengers.





CAN 120 Beagle Canal




SAM 062 In about 20 minutes, we are on the “Yate Tango” pulling away from the dock with a crew of two.





A stiff wind is blowing and the seas are a little choppy but we are already excited. There has been reports of whale sightings in the harbor.



CAN 125 We are no more than ten minutes into the tour when a column of water sprays into the air. This elevates the excitement on board.




The AR$186 (US$45) cost of the tour has already been worth it. The ocean sprays the side of the boat as it accelerates to the area of the vertical momentary waterfall. We then drift silently hoping for another sighting, looking in all directions with our cameras ready.



CAN 124 Diving Whale



A huge white form cap appear to the right side of the boat then something dark gray in color rises to the surface and then becomes more defined as hump.



CAN 126 A v-shaped points skyward creating a small surface form then it disappears.







CAN 127 Smiles and excitement remains just a bit longer as the whale descends to depths that we would never know.





These magnificent mammals can remain submerged up to 45 minutes. We have been fortunate to sight one this afternoon.



CAN 117 Leaving the area, we get an expanding view of the coastline and surrounding mountains still sprinkled with snow.





Our next stop is at Faro Les Eclaireurs.



CAN 131“End Of The World Lighthouse”.



Due to numerous ‘Rock Islands” that can lie just below the surface during high tides, in the past this area of the Beagle Canal has had more than it’s fair share of shipwrecks.

Some believe earlier lighthouses designs may have contributed to many of these wrecks. Apparently, the beacon’s stated distance was incorrect  and it did not shine as far as posted.



CAN 099 Replica Of The Original End Of World Lighthouse







CAN 133 Just to the south of the lighthouse a small group of birds can be barely seen nesting.





They are well hidden in the cracks of one of the many “rock” islands in the area.



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