Southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego is shared by Chile and Argentina, the border following a strange step breaking Argentina in two and giving the very southern tip to Chile. Argentina for its part has the sourthern-most city in the world built on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego itself (which forms the majority of the ‘trailing tip’ of the southern end of South America). Ushuaia is built on the northern shore of the famous Beagle Channel, named after the British hydrographic survey ship which carried Charles Darwin in his capacity of amateur naturalist.
Tierra del Fuego
At the western end of the Beagle Channel, Caleta Brecknock in Seno Occasion offers a majestic environment to the visiting boater and hiker.
A five-point tie is required to moor the boat securely. Some idea of scale is provided in the below photo, with Kiwi Roa’s 20 m mast protruding out of the bay surroundings.
High above the sea, fresh water lakes form in rock pools which then flow via waterfall downward.
Like a landscape from Beowulf, the area can seem “no good place”.
Other anchorages seem more hospitable in contrast.
Farther south still, and the Beagle runs into the border between Chile and Argentina. Chilean territory extends south, to include Cape Horn, but the Argentine border steps south to include the port city of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, the southern-most city of Argentina, is the only large town in the region, and necesitates frequent border crossings between Chile and Argentina for those who prefer the better cruising grounds of Chile, but require the supplies and support available in a larger port town.
Ushuaia is renowned as a winter holiday destination, with quality ski fields close to the city at economical costs. In the summer, the snow thins on the circling mountains. The weather however can range from one extreme to the other.
It is not a great port for small boats, with anchoring options limited and the bay often exposed. The local yacht club has an old poorly maintained dock, to which boats raft up against, sometimes five or six boats deep. Mooring buoys are sometimes available, although there are questions over the maintenance of many of them. Here, Kiwi Roa is anchored directly under the moon.
The city is small and chiefly driven by the tourism industry. It is the only port in the region capable of handling large ships, and cruise ships both passing through and touring Antarctica stop by.
Many of the yachts using the club are charter boats, who sell trips to the surrounding region, Cape Horn, and also Antarctica.
Puerto Toro, back over in Chile, claims the status of southern-most settlement in the world. It is a tiny fishing village which is almost deserted during the off-season, and the fishing dock is unused and available for visitors.
These photos were taken after our trip to Antarctica, immediately on landfall from the Drake Passage. We were about to spend a few weeks cruising the Beagle Channel, touring the glaciers.
Puerto Toro has a small church and a little Catholic boat adjacent, carefully maintained by the locals. The lighting is powered not by the national grid, but by a diesel generator housed next to the dock.