A memory from the end of the earth, in Ushuaia, Argentina

Chilean Sailors

Sailors on the vessel Navarino in the Beagle Channel, in February 1996.

On Feb. 7, 1996, I arrived at the city at the edge of the world, the coastal city of Ushuaia, Argentina. I came here first by cargo container to Puerto Williams, Chile, from Punta Arenas, Chile. I secured a passage on the cargo vessel Navarino. From Puerto Williams I literally hitched a ride on a sailboat owned by a transplanted French sailor and his wife, who gave me and my traveling companion a lift across the Beagle Channel from Chile to Argentina, at Ushuaia.

Here is what I wrote in my journal abut the lovely morning, which really was an all-night adventure: “I remember most the cold breeze, the clouds lit by the moon, and the sights of Ushuaia, glowing in the distance as we approached. I got about 1.5 hours of sleep until I woke up again at 6:30, just as we were pulling into the harbor. It was a beautiful morning with a frontal system lit a milky red. The town was set against a backdrop of severe mountains.”

That was one of the most lovely days of my life. I can still remember the smells, the cold air, the feeling of wonder.

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