Danny and Anna's Round The World Trip 2005 travel blog

Harberton harbour & Chile in the background

Harberton Estancia

The old shearing shed

Main building. Built 1903

Lake Escondido

The emerald lagoon

The boggy valley

The mist rests on the mountains

Today Danny got his first taste of driving on the wrong side of the road. With Jack Johnson pumping from the stereo we headed out of town on Route 3 through some pretty spectacular scenery. Snow capped peaks, sparkling lakes, dark forests. After 30ks or so we left the tarmac and put our two-month old Ford Ka through it's paces on the RCJ. A dirt track which would take us the 50ks to Estancia Harberton, the oldest homestead in the province.

The low buildings hunker down on a sheltered spot on the peninsular of the Beagle Channel. Today we were blessed with sunshine, apparently the first in ten days, but the banner trees on the approach to the estancia are a testament to bleak weather conditions. Battered by the winds that they have been swept backwards into "exaggerated quiffs". The present administrators, the great-grandson of the founder, no longer live here through the bleakest months. With electricity for only two hours a day and an unreliable water supply this is understandable. We arrived just in time for the 1.30 guided tour of the Estancia and learnt a lot about the work of Thomas Bridges who founded the settlement and worked closely with the indigeneous Yamana tribes.

After the tour we resisted the tea and homemade cakes, we had ham and cheese sandwiches in the car, and headed to the Acatushun Museum which is run by the wife of the present administrator. A volunteer guide showed us around and we learnt plenty about whales, seals and the like. For example the nose on such animals is actually located at the top of the head not at the front, and dolphins use a device called a melon, a fatty mass outside of their skull to navigate.

After all this education we jumped back in the car and returned to Ushuaia stopping off for a brisk 90 minute walk through Peat Bog and forest up to the Emerald Lake. Thoroughly filthy we munched on biscuits as the last of the suns rays left its waters. On the return journey Danny had me in fits of giggles as he fell on his ass no less than three times in as many minutes. Of course it wasn't long before it was Danny's chance to chuckle as I plunged my foot and half my leg into a great muddy bog. We squelched back to the car and made it back to town just in time to fill up with petrol (4GBP for half a tank!) and return the car at 10pm just as the office closed.

All in all a great day that brought back memories of our hire car in NZ and road trips in the UK.

Day 337 complete

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