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Tierra del Fuego – this is the end of the world

By 15/09/2016August 21st, 2017No Comments

We flew from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, and now we were around 13,000 km away from home. This is the southernmost city in Chile and we were quite close to Antarctica. This feeling kept haunting us while we were here as the cold was on the verge of being unbearable. It was the first time I had seen snow in a city as before I had seen it exclusively in mountainous areas. However luckily it was sunny and we were able to get around pretty easily. We visited the centre of the city and went on a day trip to Tierra del Fuego.

Even if you are not a fan of waking up early, here it is quite easy to see the sunrise as the sun rises between 8 and 9 in the morning. We have seen the most beautiful sunrise ever here, while we were crossing the Magellan Straight on a ferry which would take us to Porvenir on the Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego. We visited the island to see the king penguins, the second largest penguin after the emperor penguin. If the sense of wilderness was predominant during the previous part of the trip, well here it was the only feeling we could get. This part of the island is barely inhabited by humans and most of the island is raw.

Although we came here to see the penguins, this was not the highlight of the day. Actually we were quite disappointed, as the penguin experience we had in South Africa was much more fun. We could observe them running on the beach and they were so close we could even touch them. In Bahia Inutil on Tierra del Fuego you can see penguins yes but they are far away at over 100m of distance and you are not allowed to get close to them. On the other hand we got our first glimpse of the guanacos, the curious camelid that is native to this area of South America. The landscapes were incredible and we learned about the past of this island, which is quite sad. All the natives that lived here, the Selk’nams, were all hunted to death by the Europeans which came here and wanted to conquer these lands to transform them in sheep estancias. This genocide is still not recognised in Chilean history and sadly enough all the Selk’nams disappeared to extinction in 1974. Sometimes I hate being a white person and this was one of those moments. I am well aware I had nothing to do with these horrible atrocities, however the Europeans committed the worst crimes in the history of this planet. They invaded several places and made them theirs and showed no respect to the people that lived there before.

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