18 Feb 2013
Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.
I refer you to my blog from 2009 where we had the benefit of an unusually beautiful day here.
17 Feb 2013
Some of the world’s roughest waters and mean climate are found at Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America.
The open stretch between South America and Antarctica is known for icebergs, 65+ high waves and regular terrible weather.
This is where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans slam into each other as well as yet a third current from Antarctica. All of this is exacerbated by whirling Antarctica winds and Andes winds that create a funnel effect.
If you are like me, then you may not have known that Cape Horn is an island. Early sailors learned they could have relatively calmer waters a hair north in the Straights of Magellan. However, because they were much narrower and rocky, they took their toll on many a sailor.
Interesting point – Magellan came here in the winter because he did not yet know that the Southern Hemisphere seasons are opposite of that in Europe.
16 Feb 2013
Even though we have done it before, we opted for a second visit deep into Patagonia to visit the Magellan Penguins in their natural habitat.
They come here for about six months a year to breed and train the babies before heading to Eastern South America for the balance of the year.
They are a monogamous group for life, and additionally come back to the same burrow.
In fact if for some reason a penguin finds himself single, then he doesn’t even get to come home.
They are distinguishable from other penguins in that they have two neck stripes instead of one.
15 Feb 2013
Another day; another glacier. J
More Glacier tidbits:
70% of the world’s fresh water supply is stored in glaciers.
Antarctica ice thickness can be13,000 feet
Yesterday we learned about blue, the oldest compressed ice. The newer ice appears white because air is trapped and the entire color spectrum is reflected leaving only white, the absence of color.
14 Feb 2013
It is starting to get cold as we head towards the southern end of Chile, and indeed, the southern most point in all of the Americas.
For a couple days we have seen no people, but lots of green scenery and today the first of several glaciers, Pio XI. It is 40 miles long which makes it the longest in the Southern hemisphere other than Antarctica.
Glacier color - Glaciers appear blue because sunlight (which appears white) is made up of all of the colors of the rainbow. Only blue has enough energy to get through the dense glacial ice. The reds and yellows get absorbed.
The tip of he iceberg - We really do only see the tip of an iceberg. Only 10 – 13% is above the water line. The reason for this is that sea water is denser than ice.
Chile is on the Pacific but its salmon are Atlantic - As it turns out, the Atlantic salmon were initially brought here by Norwegians and adapted quite well in the Pacific.
Chile size and shape - Chile is roughly as long as the distance between LA and New York yet it is never farther than 110 miles from the Pacific Ocean.