Tierra del Fuego

Arrival at Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, Chile

After surrounding Cape Horn and hiking up Wulaia Bay to soak up it’s beautiful and unspoiled landscape, we embarked our expedition cruise towards the Agostini Sound, in the heart of the Cordillera Darwin, in Tierra del Fuego. The region is famous for its numerous glaciers that, in some cases, reach all the way down to the sea.

In the afternoon, we got on our zodiacs to get a closer look to one of the most fascinating glaciers, the Aguila Glacier.

Aguila Glacier, Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, Chile

Aguila Glacier, Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, Chile

The Aguila Glacier is situated at the end of a tranquil lagoon and surrounded by mountains. The easy walk from the beach where we disembarked to the glacier itself took less than 15 minutes, and once I stood in front of it, I couldn’t help but taking more than 70 shots of it.

Aguila Glacier, Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, Chile

Aguila Glacier, Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini, Chile

I was fascinated by the bright blue cracks, the way sun light illuminated the whites, the water reflections of the lagoon… there’s no doubt about it – Glaciar Aguila is ideal for any landscape photography enthusiast like me.

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A View over Wulaia Bay, Chile

Wulaia Bay used to be the region’s largest Yamana aboriginal settlements and is nowadays known for its incredible beauty. As we disembarked and hiked uphill, through a forest of Coihues and Lengas towards the look-out point from which I took the photograph, I realized how much I had been missing this – the peaceful sound of wind brushing the leaves and constant waves playing in the background.

I stood there for some time, in complete silence, sketching this panoramic view over the bay deep into my memory – right before rushing back down to avoid being drenched by the rain.

Tierra del Fuego National Park, Argentina

The name Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) derives from Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first European to visit the land in 1520. As he approached shore, he was amazed by the size of the fires created by the aborigines to cook and keep warm. I can hardly imagine how anyone could survive to these extreme weather conditions without modern inventions. This shows that the aborigines’ skins, exposed to wind, cold and ice, developed in a completely different way from ours.

As we walked along the shore of Lake Fagnano, admiring the profoundly beautiful and diverse scenery, I couldn’t stop but wonder what else lies behind these high mountains and inside the dark forests. However, from its over 630km2 of land, only a small part of it is open to public.

 

Ushuaia, Argentina

Before visiting Tierra del Fuego, I imagines an isolated and remote scenery with deep beauty – el Fin del Mundo. When I arrived at Ushuaia, I was surprised by the amount of shops and restaurant selection. This is no wonder, given that Ushuaia lives now heavily from tourism – most of them staying only for 2-3 days before embarking in one of the expedition cruises. However, it wasn’t always like this, as Ushuaia started on being Argentina’s penal colony for the most fearsome criminals of Argentina.

Ushuaia declares itself the southernmost city of the World, at 54º 49′ South. When we arrived, summer had just officially started. For me, this meant certain warmth and clear skies. However, locals soon advised us that its location provides Tierra del Fuego with a very diverse weather: one can get snow, rain and sun in one day! Even though summer had just started in the southern hemisphere, the usual weather was chilly mornings and rainy afternoons.

I didn’t really mind – Clouds and rain make for great photo sets!

Cloudy Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Forrest in Ushuaia, Argentina

Despite from what one might think, winter isn’t so much colder. Tierra del Fuego has a mild climate and during winter, temperatures usually don’t drop under -5ºC!

Another fact that caught my attention were the long hours of sun light. During our stay, the sun set at about 23:30 and raised again at about 3:30, which sums up to a 20 hours of light! I took the below picture at about 22:30 at night from a restaurant next to the harbor.

Ushuaia, Argentina

The long hours of light make summer the best time to visit Tierra del Fuego – there is just so much to see that every extra hour is appreciated… I even became an early morning person waking up at 6-7am every day (ok, that’s not super early, but it’s early for being on holidays, isn’t it?).

Have you been to Tierra del Fuego? What surprised you most?