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  • Writer's pictureSharon Michalove

Welcome to Ushuaia, The End of the World

Updated: Mar 6, 2023

Antarctica, Chapter 2

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From October through March, Ushuaia has outstanding attractions, as it becomes the main gate for cruise ships that visit the Antarctica. Those who visit the city at that time will also be able to observe the Magellanic Penguins in the Martillo Island Colony, which is located on the Beagle Channel, east from the city of Ushuaia. Also, throughout the year, Papua Penguins can be seen, as they are gradually colonizing the island.


Photo by Sharon Michalove

We when arrived in Buenos Aires, we rushed to the domestic terminal. Sick of missed flights, we hoped our flight to Ushuaia might be delayed, It wasn't, necessitating rebooking for the following day, After paying a hefty fee—the only time on this trip—we were rescheduled to fly out at 4:40 AM the next morning. The only flight that still had seats, we gave up on getting a good night's sleep, or any sleep.

That left us with seven hours to fill. Not enough time to go all the way into downtown to a hotel, and there isn't much close to the airport. We were told that staying in the small terminal overnight wasn't an option. Returning to the larger terminal, we wandered around looking for somewhere to eat. In the end we had an OK meal at Hard Rock Cafe, which we spun out for a couple of hours—partly because the service was so slow. I also went to the shop and bought a T-shirt, as you do when you have no clothes.

With lots of time on our hands, we sat around for a while outside the restaurant, then went back to the ground floor, looking for outlets to recharge our phones. We had marginal luck. Some didn't really work and a lot were used by other passengers. I also made my one phone call of the trip, to arrange for an airport transfer to the hotel in Ushuaia.

Boarding our flight with relief, we realize why our tickets had been so expensive—we were in business class seats! Comfortable, yes. Amenities, no. We had the same mostly inedible breakfast as the rest of the passengers. No welcome drinks. And a flight attendant who didn't want us using the forward toilets. (I learned on the return flight that he was overstepping his authority. Guess he didn't like to share.)

When we landed in Ushuaia, rain was pelting down. There were some strategically placed buckets where water penetrated, probably through the skylights. We found Santiago from Polar Latitudes who drove us and another early-arriving couple to the Arakur Resort and Spa.

We got our room and rushed to the restaurant for a late breakfast. We also received two other pieces of unwelcome news. The spa, which my aching body was looking forward to, was completely booked for the length of our stay, and it was Sunday and most of the stores were closed!

Next time: Shopping for Antarctica—In the Summer

Are you thinking about going to Antarctica?

Polar Latitudes offers many options. The smaller ships allow opportunities to land, always a thrill.


Available for Preorder

Includes my story:

Melting the Iceman

When Chicago Seabirds star center, Merritt “the Iceman” Alexander, is told his concussion history means he has to retire from hockey, he withdraws from everything, including his fiancée, Heather Cantrell. Five years later, he’s found a new life on the ice as part owner of a company that specializes in Antarctic cruises.

Shattered by his disappearance, Hay has thrown all of her energy into taking her photography hobby into the realm of photojournalism. After a year of covering catastrophes all over the world, she is excited by her new assignment. An Antarctic cruise company wants her to document their newest offering to celebrate the discovery of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, Endurance.

Like two icebergs, the Iceman and the Photog glide toward each other, but will they crash and splinter forever, or will they melt enough to merge for a happy ending?

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