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The Land of Fires

March 3, 2015

And so to Tierra del Fuego. 28.2.15

Patagonia is an area that covers the southern part of South America. Tierra del Fuego is the main island and associate islands that makes up the southern extremity of Patagonia. We are  at 51 degrees latitude. Less than 250kms from Ashuaia as the crow flies. Tomorrow, Ushuaia will be our destination tomorrow. We had a visitor not long after setting up for the night just below the new road on part of the detour. Giles, from the Gold Coast had seen our camp and thought two vehicles are safer  than one and joined us. He and his wife Janet had shipped their troopy to the US, drove up to Alaska before heading south to Ushuaia. He had done the South American part of the trip on his own. He was able to give us much information for along the route we were heading.

The weather has been amazing lately; travelling south cooler temps were to be expected, but yesterday, at Rio Gallegos, the head of Fisheries informed me the temp that afternoon was 26 degrees. We were in short sleeves and the flanellette sheeets had to be exchanged for the cooler cottton ones Though Giles did say that it was snowing in Ushuaia last week.

Yesterday, after travelling about 300kms from Monte Leon we hit Rio Gallegos. It is the last major city in Argentina and the place to stock up necessities before heading south. It is where you buy your fishing licence to be able to legally game fish in the country. Hector, the head of fisheries for the province and the only English speaking employee in the department was a gem. I had hardly sat down while he filled out the licence when he was inviting me to go out fishing with him that night ‘We could squeeze four hours in if you have nothing to do!’ he said. I had to decline as there are always necessities to be seen to before pleasure. ‘You can stay at our cottage near the Rio Gallegos if you like.’ Was the next offer. Then he proceeded to draw mud maps of the area showing all the good fly fshng sites for when we return from the south. We were driving back to the camp site on the Rio Gallegos when this VW Polo pulled alongside, the driver tooting his horn, I said to Joan I bet it was Hector. And it was. He was on his way out to an estancia to do some fishing and wanted to make sure we could find the campsite etc.

A map of this area shows people heading to the deep south of Argentina must pass through a section of Chile measuring no more than 200kms in length. Not sure why this is but think it had something to do with land disputes in the past. Unfortunately Saturday the 28th Feb is not a goood day to pass through a border between the two countries. The two month summer break for Argentinians end 28th Feb and there was an agricultural fair at Rio Gallegos this weekend as well. The masses were on the move. The border was a mess. It took us over four and a half hours to finally get through. The good thing was meeting  Carol who was just ahead of us in the queue. Born in England she spent many years in Kenya and Australia and at some time marrying Richard, an Argentinian then moved to Argentina. They run a 10,000 hectare farm on Tierra del Fuego or ‘the island” as they call it. They were running Corriedale sheep but were losing too many animals from the wild dogs that live in the forest on their land. Changing to Hereford cattle seemed to be the answer for a while but seems the dogs are now attaking the calves. We hope to catch up with them again while we are down here.

From → Patagonia 2015

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