Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Arrival in Ushuaia

I spent a night in the Hotel Art in Buenos Aires, which a nice quiet, air-conditioned and well located little hotel, and one I would recommend accordingly.  I was collected  and taken to the domestic airport for my (boring) flight to Ushuaia.  The view on the approach is spectacular, at which point I regretted my choice of an aisle seat but then again my camera was packed too.  Hey ho.

On arrival there was no one waiting for me, and after 20 minutes of spanglish I managed to get someone to contact someone who knew I should have been collected, but while they knew about the change in my flight time in Buenos Aires (I even got them to check it and confirm before then confirming the pick-up time) the Ushuaia arm of the operation had no idea... anyway I did get to the Albatross Hotel.  I was surprised to find myself sharing a room at this point (my itinerary said 'the night alone') but apparently that was intended, thanks for telling me... I took the chance of a last call with Helen and said my goodbyes for the next 22 days.

The room was set to bake which meant leaving a window open.  It also become quickly apparent that the hotel is under-staffed, particularly on ship in/out days which means very long delays to get served and no cleaning of the hotel facilities, suffice to say not a hotel I would ever pick of my own freewill.

Anyway, grumbles aside, I decided to spend some of the late afternoon walking edge of the harbour in Ushuaia, and was delighted to see a Dolphin Gull:


As well as a Kelp Gull, this one diving for limpets, their primary food source:


A pair of Kelp Geese, first the female:


then the male:


A little way West of the main harbour area is a shipwrecked fishing boat (see below), which is used by South American Terns for nesting, roosting and feeding forays:


In the harbour waters, Southern Giant Petrels (Southern is told by the green end to the bill, which is red in the Northern species):



The view into the Beagle Channel (so called as the ship that discovered it was named after the favourite dog of the royal patron):


The shipwrecked boat, with views to the channel and a passing Dolphin Gull:


I retired for pizza (veggie food is not that common or reliable in Argentina, though there are some green shoots to be seen here and there) and an early night ahead of a pre-booked guided birding trip in the morning...

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