A benign entree to Antarctic odysseys

STEPHEN SCOURFIELD travels to icy realms and finds unexpected connections with WA

Ushuaia perches on the fingertip of South America, where it points to Antarctica. It feels like the end of the Earth, and in many ways, it is.

For, though home to 80,000 people and the traditional land of indigenous people, Ushuaia is the world’s most southerly port and the launching point for Antarctic cruise expedition ships.

Most will head south, taking two days to cross the Drake Passage, then spend six days along the Antarctic Peninsula, and two back, to complete a 10-day voyage.

They will see whales, seals and Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins after crossing the Southern Ocean — the windiest, wildest and most productive ocean on Earth.

But before that, they have a benign entree.

For we leave Ushuaia and head first into the Beagle Channel, which is where some of the first evening passes.

It is named for the British ship Beagle, which arrived here in January 1833, during its maiden voyage, to survey Tierra del Fuego.

And here begin a number of connections to WA, both obvious and inconspicuous...

This is an edited version of the original, full-length story, which you can read here.

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